Depending on your passion, there are plenty of places to geek out in Phoenix.
Whether you're addicted to comic books, are working on your next hack project, or revel in the opportunity to use a laser cutter, this town has more than a few places where it's encouraged to let your flag fly.
Here are our favorite 10:
Ash Avenue Comics' big strength is their selection of indie comics. They have an abundance of issues of classic indie favorites like Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve, plus local comics like Russ Kazmierczak Jr.'s Amazing Arizona Comics, back issues of defunct indie hits like The Fart Party, and hardcovers from publishers like Fantagraphics. The store also carries new mainstream releases, but sometimes not enough, as they tend to sell out of the latest hot title not long after national new comic release day (Wednesdays).
Local Motors' Rally Fighter
The Local Motors' micro-factory landed in Phoenix based solely on the design of its Rally Fighter. The slick black, all-terrain vehicle was the winner of a design contest is now the result of a combined car fanatic effort. To buy one, you have to build one -- the business plan of Jay Rogers and his team from literally all over the world. Their Chandler factory gives engineering and car geeks alike a chance to participate in the car-building process and to get their hands on some pretty heavy machinery ... not to mention the chance to talk shop.
Sometimes it's hard to break away from the daily grind of being huddled up in a work cubicle. Gangplank, which offers free workspace, mentoring, and workshops Monday through Friday, dedicates each Wednesday night for the tech community to connect and create.
Geeks and fanatical collectors of designer vinyl figures got another reason to go to downtown Mesa with the opening of Lulubell Toy Bodega. The designer toy boutique relocated from Tucson's Fourth Avenue, and we've been drooling over their niche nerd culture that arrived in Mesa a year ago.
Four years ago, HeatSync started as Arizona's first hackerspace, and joined the growing number of similar groups popping up around the country -- mostly as a way for post-graduate students to continue researching and working with sophisticated machines, computers, and equipment that might be hard purchase and maintain as individuals. Today, HeatSync holds regular meetings, open to the public, to provide workspace, equipment, and resources as well as technological tutorials.