By Emily King
The Avengers isn't just an entertaining blockbuster hit--this movie is full of great ideas for your next trip! Check out our ideas for where to go, all inspired by your favorite superheroes.
Iron Man - Learn to build your own Iron Man gear
It’s easy to plan a trip worthy of New York billionaire Tony Stark if you are rolling in money, but some of us would rather fight crime in a techno-supersuit than scope out ritzy Manhattan hotels. Focus on the intense technology of Iron Man at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. The ISN is at the forefront of developing the “soldier system of the future,” researching new ways to develop armor and weapons to better protect and equip members of the military and enhance survivability. Seminars offered by the ISN are sure to prepare you to build your own suit, but only a genius like Stark would understand the lectures--topics include "Plasmonics: Lofty Promise, Harsh Reality, and a Glimmer of Hope," "Metallo-Supramolecular Polymers," and "Computational Materials Optimization through Inverse Molecular Design." If you dream of donning a suit like Iron Man, head to Massachusetts to catch a seminar and good luck building!
Black Widow - Visit Volgograd, Russia, and learn the way of Soviet Spies
Fans of Natasha Romanoff can head to her birthplace in Volgograd, Russia. While not a terribly popular tourist destination, the city has a moving history. In 1942, The Battle of Stalingrad at Volgograd (previously named Stalingrad) was one of the most pivotal fights in World War II and was an instrumental victory over Axis forces. The battle is considered to be one of the bloodiest in human history. A massive memorial complex was built overlooking the city and contains some of the largest free-standing sculpture in the world, making Volgograd a great stop for fans of art and of the Avengers alike.
The International Spy Museum offers a deeper look into the life of a Soviet spy like Natasha. Located in Washington DC, this espionage-loaded museum is full of exhibits on Soviet Russia, the KGB, history of spies in the Cold War, advanced spy technology, under-cover gadgets, and full-blown live-action experiences for visitors. Try out your safe-cracking skills, interrogate a double-agent, learn martial arts, and decode secret messages to get into the mindset of Black Widow.
Captain America - Get to know his original enemies in WWII Germany
For a taste of Captain America’s wartime life, check out the “Secrets of the Third Reich Tour” in Germany offered by Alpventures (or read over their itinerary to plan a hostel-hopping tour of your own). Understand the evil behind Captain America’s drive to superherodom by traveling to a WWII underground bunker, visit concentration camps, take a tour of Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest,” and check out many memorials and historic cities throughout Germany and Austria.
Thor - Visit the Viking Homeland
Lovers of the God of Thunder should head to beautiful Norway to gain a new understanding of Thor’s origins. Since Thor was modeled after Norse Vikings, fans should visit the Viking Boat museum in Oslo. This section of the larger Museum of Cultural History features three viking ships as well as many other artifacts, including wood carvings, beds, and tools.
Hawkeye - Run away and join the circus
As a boy, Clint Barton performed as an archer in a number of sideshow carnivals and became the “World’s Greatest Marksman,” eventually performing an act in the Coney Island Circus. This historic district in South Brooklyn is still very active today with carnival rides, burlesque, museum, and a circus sideshow. Hawkeye has moved on from his Coney Island days, but visitors can see freakshow stunts, tattooed ladies, and every variety of magic trick imaginable. You can even follow in Clint’s footsteps and join the Sideshow School. Learn to charm snakes, eat fire, and swallow swords, and you will be ready to run away with the circus.
The Hulk - Volunteer in Calcutta, India
Just as Dr. Banner found refuge in India, travelers can gain superhero powers of compassion by volunteering with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. The Kalighat Home for the Dying, founded by Mother Teresa in 1952, Is a free hospice that provides medical attention and a place for the sick to pass on surrounded by love and with dignity. Rooms near the “Motherhouse” are available for less than $3 a day and breakfast is provided for volunteers. Even for those of us lacking the professional experience of Bruce Banner, the Home for the Dying is always full of Calcutta civilians in need of volunteer heroes.
After following the footsteps of the Avengers, top off your journey like a superhero and head to New York City for some victory shawarma.