Tech-tourism is on the rise, with proud geeks now regularly booking their breaks in order to further explore and enjoy their obsession with innovation and their penchant for progress. But exactly where should tech tourists be headed? And what should they do once they get there? In this article we take a look at some of the world’s most high-tech cities, to see exactly what they have to offer the innovation-hungry explorer.
Ireland has long been a popular destination for visitors from across the world, not least because of the connection felt with the country by the Irish diaspora – but now there is a new generation of visitors heading for the banks of the Liffey – and they’re likely to be more interested in square roots than their own!
The city has earned its high-tech rep with concerted efforts; Dublin is home to the government-sponsored Enterprise Ireland, the largest venture fund in Europe, which has played no small role in attracting tech startups to the city. Couple this with the extremely favorable tax rates offered to businesses basing themselves in Ireland and you will understand why the likes of Dropbox, Facebook, and LinkedIn have all created bases for themselves in Dublin.
City planners have responded pro-actively to the influx and Dublin boasts a number of high-tech office parks as well as admirable infrastructure.
Tech tourists will enjoy the Dublin Science Gallery, where recent exhibits have included an in-depth and interactive look at Internet surveillance, while regular events are pitched at the tech-savvy young professional and are open to visitors to the city. Alternatively, head to the Xtreme Gaming Centre on Liffey Street, or Gamers World on Jervis street, and bag a spot in one of their regular gaming tournaments. As you can see, Dublin is definitely a destination you need to mark down on your list of high-tech cities to visit.
2. San Francisco
You cannot talk about tech tourism without mentioning San Francisco – home to the world famous Silicon Valley and literally hundreds of global tech companies, including Apple and Google. San Francisco is also home to the NASA’s Ames Research Institute and is a place of pilgrimage for many a tech fan – many of whom travel to Palo Alto to simply stand outside the building where Messrs. Hewlett and Packard invented the first audio oscillator – a development that led to leaping advances in the communications field.
The proud nerds and geeks of San Francisco like to gather at Noisebridge on Mission Street, an exciting and innovative space open to all, and a haven for hackers. Take a class on programming or visit the electronics lab for the full, San Francisco tech-tourism experience.
It comes as no surprise that the Japanese capital makes this list, as the streets of the city are bursting with tech – from the interactive advertising to the amazing earthquake-proof architecture.
One of the most advanced locations on the planet, Tokyo is a tech-tourists paradise! Try visiting the Tokyo Robot Restaurant, where diners are entertained by fighting androids and bikini-clad ladies amid an onslaught of music and lights – totally mangatastic!
For real innovation, where visitors are spoiled for choice, head for the Toshiba Science Museum in nearby Kawasaki to enjoy hands-on interactive exhibits or opt for the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation on the island of Odaida, where you can meet Asimo the robot or enjoy a spacewalk show. If you’ve still not had your fill, head to the Sony ExploraScience Museum for 3D exhibits and holograms – great fun for all ages!
Tech geeks will want to travel by train in Tokyo, with both the famous inter-city bullet trains and the unmanned Yurikamome elevated trains being a great way for visitors to explore everything the city and country have to offer.
A prominent city in global history, London is shaking off its Olde Worlde reputation from the days of the empire and showing itself to be an influential player in the tech field – with those in the know claiming that the city is now home to more tech jobs than not just Silicon Valley but the whole state of California.
Tech-loving travelers should book themselves a London apartment for a short stay and then ride the unmanned Docklands Light Railway to see shining examples of the city’s modern architecture, before heading to the amazing Science Museum to enjoy hands-on interactive tech and science experiences.
Canada’s tech capital deserves a special mention in any list for would-be tech-tourists, being home to almost a third of the country’s IT companies. The city hosts a large number of game studios, and as such is home to many cool coders. If you’re planning a visit, then take the time to connect with local group Geekalicious (and their sub-group, Techlicious) for the latest on all upcoming tech-lover meets and events.