If it seems like everyone is talking about retro Nintendo these days, that’s no coincidence. In February, Super Nintendo World opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, after debuting at the Japan park in 2021, with plans to expand to Singapore and Orlando down the road. Then, there’s also the wild success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which features the all-star voice cast of Chris Pratt as the titular Italian plumber, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of destinations dedicated to the history and culture of the video-gaming giant—plus ones that will make you feel as if you’ve dropped directly into a game.
Nintendo New York
New York City
This 10,000-square-foot flagship occupies prime real estate in Rockefeller Center. While nearby Times Square is chock full of folks dressed up as unauthorized mascot characters, here you can meet the real things, including Pikachu, Kirby, and Mario. There are Switches stationed throughout so you can try out the latest hot game, plus an exhibit of historic Nintendo systems that show off how far the technology has come. Of course, this is still a store, with plenty of nerdy merchandise to excite any gamer, meaning it just may take Donkey Kong–level strength to resist dropping all your tokens here.
Super Nintendo World
Universal Studios Hollywood
When it opened in February, this themed land offered a truly immersive blast of nostalgia. Guests enter through a green pipe to find a fully realized world, rendered in the simple curves and bright colors of the original Super Mario Bros. games. There’s an AR-enhanced Mario Kart ride and a Toadstool Café, serving themed treats like the “?” Block Tiramisu and Piranha Plant Caprese. But the real star of the show here is the interactivity: Buy a Power-Up Band to complete challenges, collect digital coins, and track your score against other players on a giant scoreboard.
Super Nintendo World
Universal Studios Japan, Osaka
The original Super Nintendo World, which opened in the company’s home country in 2021, offers an even more expansive vision than its sister site in L.A., complete with a Yoshi-themed ride and a popcorn stand where you can order your snack in a Super Star or Mario Kart bucket. Next year, the park will welcome a Donkey Kong expansion, with a themed coaster created in partnership with the game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto.
The Curtis, a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
This downtown Denver hotel may look a bit corporate from the outside, but its interiors hide a surprisingly fun-loving roster of “hyper-themed” rooms, inspired by everything from Barbie to Star Trek to Ghostbusters. Stocked with enough candy and soda to keep you smashing those controller buttons all night, the Video Game Room includes a Super Mario Bros. mural, mushroom-shaped pillows, and your very own Donkey Kong arcade game. Just try to get some sleep with that tempting bit of tech staring at you from the corner of the room…
The National Videogame Museum
If you’re just as much of a history buff as you are a gamer, you can’t beat this museum in England’s South Yorkshire. Sure, you can play 100 video games from the past and present here, but that’s only part of the fun: The collection includes such rare objects as Nintendo’s first console, the Block Kuzushi, which was released in 1979. One of the centerpieces of the museum is a new exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Masayuki Uemura, the former head of Nintendo’s research and development team, who was personally responsible for some of the greatest advances in video game technology.