Monday, May 27, 2024


Author Scott McCloud and family visits Million-Year Picnic, a comic book store in Harvard Square, in 2007. (Photo: Dave Chiu)

Author Scott McCloud and family visits Million-Year Picnic, a comic book store in Harvard Square, in 2007. (Photo: Dave Chiu)

Boston has been deemed the sixth-nerdiest U.S. city by the Movato Real Estate blog – beaten by Atlanta, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Sacramento and Minneapolis – but it can’t compete on geekery within its own state. Thanks in large part to geek-oriented commerce, Cambridge comes in first on that list, Somerville is seventh and Boston drags along at ninth.

“With its bounty of bookstores, multitude of museums and love for all things LARP, Cambridge proudly takes its seat on the throne of nerds after this battle royale,” Movato writer Molly Kirwan said Thursday.

The blog’s calculations put Brookline in second and Waltham in third, followed by Peabody, Framingham and Weymouth, and trailed Somerville’s seventh-place appearance with Malden, Boston and Medford. How were the numbers determined? “You wouldn’t allow a fellow geek to assert that ‘Star Trek:The Next Generation’ outshines the original series without giving some thoughtful points to support his or her argument,” Kirwan said.

The blog looked only at the 25 most populous cities in the state, she said, then ranked each city for: people per annual comic book, video game, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy conventions; people per science museum; proximity to renaissance fairs; people per comic book store; people per video game store; people per traditional gaming store; people per computer store; people per bookstore; and people per LARPing group.

Somerville got a boost in the final category: It has a lot of live-action role players. But Cambridge  came in third in that category, as well as on conventions and computer stores. And it came in second on science museums and first on game stores – one store for every 7,605 resident – and bookstores – one store for every 2,476 people.

Despite the boost from having an annual influx of wonks needing study breaks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Lesley University, it’s worth remembering that the nerd crown is a vulnerable thing: Cambridge apparently saw its last ROFLcon Internet culture conference last year, and nearly lost the Lorem Ipsum bookstore in January. (It may yet be troubled, as its most recent blog update and tweet are from July.)

The full Movato list of the 10 Nerdiest Cities in Massachusetts is here.