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BY ALISSA MILLER
Trek to the tech: coolest cities for high-tech travel.
Knowledge, innovation, technology. The world is full of unique experiences just waiting to be discovered. If you’re someone who loves high-tech adventures, the latest gadgets, and the coolest experiences, you may want to consider taking a trek to the tech on your next WorldMark getaway. These four cities are full of the latest and greatest in innovative technology, and you’ll find in each a multitude of things to see and do that may awaken a bit of the geek in you. So sit back, relax, and let your techie side run wild as you read through these amazing high-tech vacation destinations.
The Big Apple
New York City has long been on the cutting edge of innovation. It’s a city full of amazing things to see and do, and it has firmly cemented its place as a giant in the tech world in recent years. You’ll want to spend some time visiting classics like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, but when you’ve finished with the usual suspects, make time to visit a few of these innovative points of interest.
Artechouse first opened its doors in 2019, and in that short time it’s quickly become a top NYC tourist spot. Tucked away beneath the Chelsea Market in a 100-year-old restored boiler room, Artechouse is an intimate digital arts space that highlights original works of art by artists who incorporate technology as part of their medium. Billed as a place where science, art, and technology intersect, Artechouse is a place where the surreal becomes real and there is no such thing as ordinary.
INTER_ is even new to the scene, having just opened in 2023. INTER_ is an experiential, multi-sensory museum located in Soho that features generative digital artwork in a variety of interactive and tech-enabled exhibits. Self-described as a place where “ancient wisdom meets tech-enabled art,” the coolest thing about INTER_ is that the artwork is generative, so you’ll never see the same digital image twice.
The Summit at One Vanderbilt takes the concept of an observation deck to a whole new level. Located at the top of a 93-story skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, the Summit is an immersive experience designed to reset your senses and offer thrilling new perspectives of the NYC skyline. It uses art, technology, and architecture to create a thrillingly unique experience. Featuring 30,000 square feet of mirrors, a glass ledge that soars 1,100 feet over Madison Avenue, and a shape-shifting visual experience, the Summit at One Vanderbilt is not for the faint of heart.
Samsung 837 is the first of its kind in North America. Located in the Meatpacking District, Samsung 837 is a “digital playground” that offers visitors the chance to experience connected living up close and personal. Guests have the opportunity to experience a smart home with the latest technology that you can see and touch, including a smart kitchen and living room. You can test out the newest Samsung products right in the store, and even get a custom-etched case for your Samsung phone.
The New York Hall of Science is a kid-friendly tech option, designed with families in mind (especially those with budding scientists). Originally founded for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Hall of Science in Queens features more than 450 exhibits, including a large outdoor science playground, a design lab, and a room that is supposed to give you a whole new perspective on perspectives. Bonus: some of its exhibits are located outdoors, which helps it to avoid that stuffy museum feeling.
Las Vegas, with all its lights and sounds, is a tech-lover’s paradise. From digital gaming devices to high-tech performances and productions, there is no shortage of innovation to be found on the Strip. Hit the casinos (remember to gamble responsibly!), have a drink, see a show, and then get ready for these high-tech experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
The Tipsy Robot, a bar located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, is about as high-tech as any bar in existence. And why? Because the drinks are actually made by robots, not human bartenders. Design your own custom drink or order a tried-and-true classic, then robot arms create your cocktail while twisting, shaking, and dancing to the music. The bar’s two robots have the capacity to make 120 drinks per hour, each perfectly crafted to order, which are delivered by conveyor belt when complete. Bonus: there’s no cover charge.
The Sphere Experience, located at the Venetian, is the largest spherical building in the world. A performing arts venue, the Sphere is known for its high-tech productions and immersive experiences. Its 18,000 seats all include haptic technology and 4D physical effects. The interior has the world’s largest wraparound LED screen, at 160,000 square feet and featuring 16k resolution (the highest ever created). The Sphere’s high-tech speakers use beamforming and wave field synthesis to create an all-encompassing sound experience. The Sphere’s technology makes it the coolest place to see a show in all of Vegas.
Flyover Las Vegas is an immersive simulation experience that uses state-of-the-art technology to make riders feel as if they’re soaring over the world. Located next to the Hard Rock Cafe, Flyover’s high-tech offerings include a 52-foot wraparound screen, flight motion seats, plus sensory experiences like wind, mist, and the sounds and scents of nature. Buckle up and soar around the world and back again, all without ever leaving the comfort of the Strip.
High Roller, on the LINQ Promenade, is the largest observation wheel in North America. At 550 feet tall, High Roller’s innovative technology features 360-degree views of the Strip, while rotating passengers in style and air-conditioned comfort. All 28 of High Roller’s cabins can accommodate up to 40 passengers at a single time, and for an upgraded cost, offer open bar experiences for those 21 and older. After the 30-minute revolution, guests disembark knowing they’ve had one of the coolest high-tech rides in all of Vegas.
The Fremont Street Experience encompasses the five westernmost blocks of Fremont Street, formerly known as Glitter Gulch. It’s a glitzy, busy, fun part of town, full of live music and street entertainment, not to mention some of Vegas’s coolest technology. Take a ride on the 12-story Slotzilla zipline, or take in a Viva Vision light show — the world’s largest digital display, Viva Vision shows are free each night at the top of every hour. See the world’s largest digital keno board at the D, and make sure to wave hello to Vegas Vic, the infamous waving cowboy, original innovative technology circa 1947.
Just an hour north of Silicon Valley, San Francisco’s tech vibes run deep. With many major tech companies calling the city home, it’s no wonder its residents are known to be some of the most tech-savvy in the world. Tourists flock to San Fran’s famed attractions like Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz, but the true techies among you will find much more innovative tourist attractions to visit, starting with these cool spots.
The Computer History Museum, just a short drive south of San Francisco proper, is home to the largest collection of computer-related artifacts in the world. The museum dates back to 2002 in its present location, and it showcases the history of computing, from ancient through modern times, abacus to computer. Home to a multitude of stories and artifacts from tech companies in nearby Silicon Valley, visitors enjoy a variety of interactive exhibits, from coding to gaming, and more.
The Tech Interactive, formerly known as the Tech Museum of Innovation, sits in neighboring San Jose. The Tech Interactive is a family-friendly science and technology center housed in a massive 130,000-square-foot facility. It offers interactive exhibits on things like robotics, cybersecurity, and more, plus exploratory labs and other hands-on experiences. It is also home to the largest IMAX theater on the West Coast, showcasing feature films on science and innovation.
A San Francisco eBike tour offers a real hands-on tech experience. There are a variety of tour vendors that offer packages ranging from two to four hours in duration, taking you through the city’s top sites with or without a guide. eBikes are a newer innovation, and they certainly make biking San Francisco’s steep hills a breeze. Coast through Golden Gate Park, past the Painted Ladies, and right over to Ghirardelli Square for a tasty treat — you earned it!
Silicon Valley is located in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay area, and it’s a true mecca for techies. Home to major business centers for tech giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google, there are many cool sites in Silicon Valley for tech lovers. Visit places like the HP Garage, a museum in the original HP birthplace, or Intel’s headquarters for a tour of their innovative operations. Make sure to budget ahead to bring home the latest techie gadget.
Noisebridge, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, is THE place to go for hackers and would-be hackers alike. Noisebridge identifies itself as a self-run community devoted to hacker culture, modeled after Europe’s famed hacker communes. Noisebridge offers resources like coding classes, gaming events, and hacking workshops to locals and visitors alike — all free of charge (donations accepted). If you’ve ever wanted a crash course in hacking, Noisebridge is your go-to.
Orlando is a city bursting with innovative technology at every turn, from roller coasters and railroads to waterslides and simulation experiences. You may not associate Orlando with high-tech innovation, but every time you hop on a thrill ride at one of Orlando’s iconic theme parks, you’ll be thankful that an innovator with a high-tech degree was in charge of its creation and safety features. Outside the theme parks, these tech spots will really show you a whole new side of Orlando.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games offers an indoor climate-controlled go-kart track utilizing the latest and greatest electronic technology. Offering instant acceleration and high-powered torque, these are not your typical go-karts. In addition to the karts, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games also offers a classic arcade, two-level laser tag arena, state-of-the-art VR experience, and racing-themed bowling alley. There’s no shortage of high-tech fun to be had at Andretti.
The Orlando Science Center, on the north side of Orlando, is a family-friendly science museum devoted to increasing public awareness and engagement with STEM. The Science Center offers a variety of interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences, including a collaborative makerspace, STEAM gallery, and dino dig site. Use Florida’s largest telescope to view the solar system, conduct experiments in the science-focused mini-town, and explore the forces of gravity in the Kinetic Zone. No one leaves the Science Center bored.
The Orlando StarFlyer, located on Orlando’s trendy International Drive, is the world’s tallest swing ride. Standing at 450 feet, StarFlyer uses theme-park technology to create a 45-mph ride that combines the thrill of flying through the air with safety features that’ll make even grandma feel safe. Featuring side-by-side seats so you can fly next to someone special, at night the StarFlyer is lit up with 240,000 LED lights for a truly unique after-dark adventure.
Wonderworks Orlando, also located on International Drive, offers science and technology-themed “edu-tainment” for visitors of all ages. At 28,000 square feet, this massive space offers more than 100 hands-on exhibits designed to challenge the mind. Featuring six major “zones,” each with a science or tech focus like extreme weather, space, and light and sound, there are tons of opportunities for guests to learn, experiment, and have fun.
Kennedy Space Center, just an hour’s drive from Orlando, is full of cutting-edge aerospace technology just waiting to be discovered. More than 130 rockets have been launched into space from Kennedy in its history, and many more are in the works. The Visitor Complex features a wide variety of exhibits on the past, present, and future of spaceflight, both human and robotic. You can also take a bus tour of all public areas of the 219-square-mile facility.