Dallas Suburbs Snag Three Top 10 Spots in National ‘Geek Culture’ Cities List

RentCafe analyzed 300 American cities to find the Best Cities for Geek Culture Fans, and four DFW cities "beamed up" up near the top of the list. See which local cities made the cut—and why "geeks" can live long and prosper in North Texas.

Do you consider yourself a geek? If so, you’re in good company.

North Texas has a wide variety of people calling it home, and according to a new ranking by RentCafe, four cities here are especially great places for “geeks” to live long and prosper.

RentCafe, an apartment and self-storage search website and a part of Yardi, said that Orlando, Florida, came out on top in its list of Best Cities for Geek Culture Fans, attributable to a combination of interest in pop culture, like-minded people, geek-friendly employment options, many comic cons, and more.

But as RentCafe noted, in a world in which quoting Yoda or mentioning which Hogwarts house you belong to can serve as conversation starters, North Texas won’t be outdone in a ranking that we can all “geek out” over.

Several North Texas cities made the list in the Top 20 for geekdom—with three of them making the Top 10. Plano came in No. 6, Allen at No. 7, and Lewisville at No. 8. Irving made the Top 20 by beaming in at No. 16.

For a good look at why Plano ranks so high on the geek culture list, check out Jeff Dickinson’s YouTube video tour of the 2022 Retro Expo in Plano.

How ‘Geek Culture’ was measured

Comics are a huge geek culture draw at events like Retro Expo in Plano. [Video still: Jeff Dickinson / The Collectors Zone]

RentCafe said the road to nerdish bliss comes with challenges, even as fantasy, sci-fi, and wearing thick-rimmed glasses have become mainstream.

Geek-friendly status is also related to the environment we’re living in. In fact, some places are just better positioned than others to provide a rich experience for fans of geek culture, RentCafe noted.

The company’s research team—which claims to have visited every filming location for HBO’s “Game of Thrones”—analyzed more than 300 U.S. cities with populations of over 100,000 to identify the ideal destinations for those who want to fully embrace their geekdom passions.

Per RentCafe, the final ranking is based on a combined score that includes the following metrics:

  • Interest in geek and pop culture among local residents based on online searches for specific keywords including flagship movies, games and activities (comic bookstores, “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Star Wars,” “Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter,” “Batman,” and “Stranger Things”).
  • A local employment scene offering good chances at finding a job in a “geeky” field (media, film, art & fashion, gaming, tech, science, and finance) and the potential of high earnings in the area.
  • The percentage of locals holding a BA degree or higher.
  • The number of physical bookstores, gaming stores, comic bookstores, comic cons, costume stores, art supply stores, music stores, and movie theaters per city.
  • The cost-of-living index.
  • Access to apartment units that come with geek-oriented community amenities (game rooms, media rooms, card rooms, art studios, on-site movie theaters, bocce ball courts, and libraries).
  • The Sunbelt was the dominant region with the highest number of spots in the Top 20 ranking, claiming eight cities in total.

RentCafe said there’s a bastion of geekdom in nearly every corner of the U.S.

Three attendees at the Kameha Con in Allen, a fan-based anime convention focused on the Dragon Ball universe. [Photo: Kameha Con]

Top 20 Cities for Geek Culture Buffs

Here are the best places for geek culture aficionados, where RentCafe said cultural offerings combine with economic appeal for a comfortable lifestyle. They’re not only affordable, but chock full of geek-related opportunities.

1. Orlando, Florida
2. Seattle, Washington
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Austin
5. Denver, Colorado
6. Plano
7. Allen
8. Lewisville
9. Atlanta, Georgia
10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11. Tacoma, Washington
12 Centennial, Colorado
13. Raleigh, North Carolina
14. Westminster, Colorado
15. Portland, Oregon
16. Irving
17. Hillsboro, Oregon
18. Kent, Washington
19. Everett, Washington
20. Renton, Washington

More on the top local geek hometowns

Here’s what RentCafe had to say about Plano and Allen.

“Plano is yet another place that smiles upon inveterate nerds, thanks to a flurry of features that cater to nerdy tastes and interests. in particular shaping up to be an excellent place to celebrate all things nerdy. About 5% of Plano residents work in gaming, bringing in about $110K/year—80% more than the average local salary. Professional life aside, many locals have a vested interest in pop culture as Plano is ahead of most other cities in the nation for searches related to ‘games stores near me’ and science fairs per 1,000 residents. The social setting is also just about right for nurturing interest in the fantasy and sci-fi worlds, as the city plays host to 13 comic cons celebrating all things geeky.”

“Allen is also a place in Texas that caters to pop culture enthusiasts. Close to 40% of locals have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher and science enjoys a sweet spot in locals’ hearts with about 0.9 online searches for science fairs per 1,000 locals, the third-highest number when population is factored in.”

Want to do a deep geek dive into the rankings? Here’s the RentCafe study in its entirety.

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