Pokémon GO is, without question, the hottest thing in mobile gaming right now. Millions upon millions have downloaded the app over the past few days, logging staggering amounts of time catching fictional cartoon characters.
For those just coming up to speed, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game. In order to play, you have to activate your smartphone’s camera and actually walk around. You view your surroundings through your phone, and from there, you hunt for Pokémon characters, which are overlaid atop the real world (example above).
The characters are often positioned near landmarks, like museums and stadiums, as well as lesser-known sites, like murals and plaques dedicated to long-forgotten events — prompting users to make new discoveries in their own cities or foreign ones. While many of these institutions love the newfound attention, others aren’t so keen on having gamers drop by and disturb paying patrons.
We’re here to make sure you have fun, stay out of trouble, and keep your wits about you.
5 Places You Should Play
1. The White House: Evidently, there’s a Pokémon gym both inside the White House and at the Pentagon, suggesting that someone has taken a break from running our country to join the biggest craze in the known universe.
2. Central Park: It helps that New York is experiencing the best weather of the year, but Central Park is buzzing like never before with enthusiastic Pokémon players.
3. Skydive Hawaii: After you’ve grabbed a little poke from the fish market, head to Oahu’s north shore. Skydive Hawaii encourages you to catch ’em all while jumping out of a plane.
4. Your favorite airport: Pokémon GO may be the best thing to happen to flight delays since the advent of the personal concierge. If you can’t find seating or you just want to kill time between flights, burn some calories while exploring far reaches of a new terminal.
5. SoCal Beaches: From Redondo to Manhattan, Pokémon GO provides a perfect excuse to hit a boardwalk near you. Just be careful not to get run over by a skater.
5 Places You Should Not Play
1. Guantánamo Bay: Believe it or not, there’s a Pokémon gym here, but the requirements for entering the facility are… shall we say, a bit too extreme to recommend.
2. Walter White’s house from Breaking Bad: You may think using the world’s most popular mobile game to visit one of the world’s most popular homes is a good idea, but given that a real family lives here, you’re better off not trespassing.
3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: The museum saw so many players rolling in that it has officially asked Pokémon GO loyalists to show some respect and continue their hunts elsewhere. (We suggest staying away from any other museum or church where reverence is expected.)
4. On train tracks: It’s pretty sad that the New York City Subway System had to formally remind people, but there’s no Pokémon rare enough to cross those yellow station lines and risk your life for a catch.
5. Arlington Cemetery: Or, really, any cemetery. In the case of Arlington National Cemetery, officials have asked players to please keep their hunts away from the burial grounds.
Any other spots that other players should visit or avoid? Let us know in comments!