This blog post was updated on July 5, 2019.

It’s a great time to be a gamer. With hundreds of new games coming out every month and an ever-growing culture, gamers have  never had it so good. And if you’ve got a bit of the travel bug as well, you’re in luck: now you can combine your love of gaming with your need to explore the world around you. We’ve got the rundown on all the places every true gamer needs to visit. You won’t believe some of the amazing experiences gaming culture has to offer.

Gamescom in Cologne, Germany

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When it comes to true gamer fans and conventions, it’s all about Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The largest gaming convention in the world, with 355,000 people visiting in 2017 from over 100 countries. This convention has everything game aficionados could possibly desire: countless exhibitors, sneak peaks from major companies, and a chance to mingle with fellow fans from all across the globe. Whether you’re there to try out cutting edge games or see the latest innovations, this international event is an unforgettable experience.

American Classic Arcade Museum in New Hampshire

Suffering from a serious case of nostalgia? Wishing for the good old days of video games, back when times were simple and Nintendo ruled supreme? Then you need to make a pit stop at the American Classic Arcade Museum in New Hampshire. Widely considered to be one of the best arcades in the world, this place will give you a serious blast from the past. The museum proudly displays hundreds of games from before 1990, many of which you can still play. It’s a surreal experience to see how far technology has come in just a few short decades, and a welcome excuse to revisit some of your old favorites.

Nintendo World Story in New York

If your heart still belongs to Nintendo, it’s time to pack up and trek out to New York City. There you’ll find the mecca for all things Nintendo: The Nintendo New York Store. But if you think this is just another ordinary gaming store, think again. For true gamer fans, this place is a slice of heaven. It’s more of a playground than a traditional shop, where fans and families alike can play a wide variety of Nintendo games. There are tons of events as well, from Mariokart tournaments to exciting game releases. It’s virtually impossible to leave without buying something as a memento, but it’s certainly worth a try.

E3 Expo in California

Serious gamers know all about E3, pretty much the quintessential video game event in the world. Everybody who’s anybody in the business is in attendance, and prestigious gaming companies show up en masse to let people sample their newest innovations and creations. It’s a surreal experience for anyone with even the slightest interest in the future of technology. For true gaming fans, it’s simply three days of unrivaled paradise. The only downside to this gadget-filled event? It’s extremely pricey, and extremely exclusive. There are only a limited number of tickets made available to the public, and those will set you back an average of $250 (not counting travel and accommodations). So while E3 is inarguably a must-see experience for many gamers, it’s definitely not in everyone’s budget.

National Video Game Museum in Texas

For an in-depth, exhaustive look at the history of video games, there’s nowhere to go but the National Video Game Museum in Texas. This is a truly interactive experience, with tons of consoles –some decidedly obscure — that you can play on to your heart’s content. Whether you’re missing out on your old Nintendo 64 or want to go all the way back and play Pong again (only this time on a giant, high-tech monitor), this museum offers a fun and unique look at the ever-evolving history of video games.

PAX West in Washington

Craving a convention experience that celebrates gaming alongside the pop culture world? Then you need to book a ticket to PAX West in Seattle. This is hands down one of the best conventions in the country, with countless events and panels focused on the many facets of gaming culture. Indie video game developers stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the titans of the industry, and fans can try out an assortment of upcoming games. There are tournaments to attend (Omegathon, which runs the entire length of the convention, is a particular favorite), virtual realities to explore, and panels featuring the stars of the gaming world. It’s a heady experience, and a wonderful way to dive headfirst into the gaming culture.

Ready to set out on your gaming adventure? Then go ahead- book that ticket, get going and tell us all about it in the comments below!
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