The term "geek" has changed a lot since I was a kid in the 1980s. Now, for me, it's more of an affectionate term. I agree with the character Ben Wyatt on NBC's "Park and Recreation," who says: "Nerd culture is mainstream now. So when you use the word 'nerd' derogatorily, that means you're the one that's out of the Zeitgeist."
These days, the world of geekdom not only produces some of the world's most powerful and well-known people, from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin, it's also part of a multibillion-dollar industry.
Harry Potter is a $25 billion franchise, and comic book movies are making a fortune at theaters. Last year, comic-book movies from the likes of Walt Disney's Marvel Studios and Warner Bros.'s DC Comics made more than $4 billion in combined worldwide box office sales (led by "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $880 million; "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," $863 million; and "Wonder Woman," $821 million). This year, Marvel's "Black Panther" has made $1.34 billion alone since its release in February.
The success of these films fuels the growth of comic-cons — festivals celebrating various aspects of geek culture — all over the world. It's a geek trickle-down effect.
There are cities in America that are more geek-friendly than others. For instance, Chicago has nine comic book conventions a year, including the upcoming Wizard World in August.
Meanwhile, Washington D.C. has the most "Game of Thrones" viewers in the country (7.48 percent of the country, according to Nielsen) and is also one of the top 10 tech cities in America — another potential draw for geeks, who are at least stereotypically drawn to the tech industry.
After traveling to some of the geekiest cities in America and considering which have a high concentration of comic book shops and conventions, bookstores, geek-centric events and nerdy festivals, these six are the best cities to get your geek on — with free activities in each.