Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, by now you know that Pokémon Go is the latest and greatest fad to hit the travel industry since wheelie suitcases. Fans love the game for the way it gets them out and about to explore new destinations. The game might even net you some discount deals at local businesses. So what if the exploration is in the name of catching Poliwags, Bulbasaurs, and Zubats—it’s super fun, and that’s really all that counts.
My Pokémon fan friends tell me that many of the country’s favorite cities are jam-packed with Pokéstops. A recent Travel + Leisure article showed pix of Pokémon at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Wright Museum of WWII in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
Here’s a rundown on some of the cool stuff you might see while you’re playing the game in some of our most popular destinations across the country.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—except when you’re on the hunt for Pokémon. We’ve gotten our hands on a map of Pokestops in and around the Strip, and let me tell you, there are hundreds! I was surprised to find dozens on the campus of University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as of others at MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, and the Stratosphere, to name a few. I asked a few of my local pals if they’ve seen any Pikachus playing poker (say that five times fast); so far, no dice. (See what I did there?)
Most people visit Los Angeles looking for celebrities; with Pokémon Go, the celebrities are Pikachu and other virtual critters. Users have reported spotting these little characters at LACMA, Santa Monica Pier, Barnsdall Art Park, Union Station, and the Exposition Park Rose Garden. An Expedia employee told me he caught a Pikachu and Paras at The Grove; Echo Park Lake is packed with trainers, too. A good home base for all this hunting? The Chamberlain in West Hollywood (which, by the way, has Pokémon, too).
New York City
It’s not surprising that New York is full of Pokéstops and requisite Pokéballs to catch. What is surprising, however, is that so many of these little virtual creatures are hiding in places that teach players about the city. Justin Sablich wrote about some of these fun lessons for The New York Times—the story mentions three slabs of the Berlin Wall near MoMA, architectural designs atop Radio City Music Hall, and statues of historic figures in Central Park. Of course there also are some near The Plaza Hotel.
Walt Disney World fans, listen up! There are literally hundreds of Pokéstops in the Orlando resort—some are even on rides. Case in point: Our insiders tell us you can catch some Pokéballs while you’re riding Spaceship Earth, and that Kilimanjaro Safaris has a (Pokémon) gym at the end. Apparently there are tons of Pokéstops at Disney Springs, the new iteration of what formerly was known as Downtown Disney. Elsewhere in Orlando, especially in Winter Garden, Pokémon are plentiful.
Viewfinder Tip: Be sure to bring backup power in case you run out of battery while you’re playing Pokémon Go. Also, be safe!
The Windy City is a great city for Pokémon-catching, especially since there are Pokéstops at just about every major tourist attraction. The Shedd Aquarium? Check. The Field Museum? Check. Along the banks of the Chicago River? Check. For the baseball fans among you, there even is a Pokéstop a cross the street from Wrigley Field. Another thing to keep in mind: The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park is close to some Pokéballs in the park itself, so staying there might be a tactical bonus.
After getting the inside scoop on the number of Pokémon you can catch in this Southern California city, I have to be honest: the hunting hype here is understandable. Up in La Jolla, a neighborhood north of town, you can find virtual critters on the beach. Back in the main city, some of the best places in this city to find Pokémon are the USS Midway, the Gaslamp District, the amazing San Diego Zoo, and the local Hard Rock Hotel.
Wherever you go to catch Pokémon, you’re bound to enjoy this new way to explore. When I get out there, those Bulbasaurs don’t stand a chance.
Where is your favorite city to play Pokémon Go and why?