This guide goes out to my North Eastern fam! With our constant change in weather and lack of huge open spaces for venues, living in the Tri-state area and having a fulfilling con season can be tough and expensive!
But fear not! If you want to get a real authentic anime/comic/gaming convention experience without traveling to the big name cons usually held in places like California or Atlanta (SDCC, Anime Expo, Dragoncon, etc), we have some right up your ally to definitely check out at least once if you haven’t yet!
Known for their indoor water park (The Kalahari resort) location, this con has since expanded from their popular main event in Ohio to adding another con for us here over on the east coast. It’s way smaller than the main event so you won’t feel overwhelmed, but I will definitely say it’s a great party con to go with friends. Lots of swimsuit cosplay and great photo shoot locations!
As an NYC native I always tell everyone I know to go at least go once.
Yes the crowds suck (pro tip: Thursdays, Fridays, late Sundays are the least crowded days), and yes both the prices and the entire process to get a ticket is a bit over the top… But, it wouldn’t be authentic NYC if there wasn’t a little chaos and disorganization.
I tell everyone to go at least once because it is the biggest con we have in our area with the most celebrity guest appearances and really awesome events, autograph opportunities, and amazing vendors.
If you are mostly a comic fan this is the Tri-state con for you! They have recently added in an “Anime Expo @ NYCC” part of the con. This is where us anime and manga lovers can enjoy content and panels curated for us. With the dwindling amount of otaku love the con has been getting over the years, this is awesome for us. Will definitely be posting a review on that later next month!
MY PERSONAL FAVE! I love this con and even though it’s only in its 3rd year, it’s been a huge success. Powered by Crunchyroll and sponsored by VizMedia, Funimation, Anipalex, and more, this is the con for anime and manga lovers!
What I love the most is that it is held in the same place as NYCC (Javitz Convention Center) but with half the crowd! This means you actually get to walk around and do stuff without extreme lines and crowds for everything.
It is also super budget friendly compared to NYCC, offering 3 day passes for $70. It always has amazing panels and guests. 10/10 would recommend!
This is the only con on this list that I have not personally attended, but I always hear such amazing reviews from my POC peeps!
It’s the first con of the year! This convention is super gamer-friendly with a main focus on gaming and music, taking place at the Gaylord Convention Center. There are 24/7 tournaments and game rooms and some amazing parties. This is the prequel to Katsucon as it happens the month before and usually brings out a smaller more intimate crowd. I would definitely recommend if huge over-packed cons aren’t your thing!
This is the mecca of cosplay for cons in the Tri-state area. This huge 3-day event also takes place at the beautiful Gaylord Convention Center in Maryland.
It always brings out all the amazing cosplayers from all levels and it is big con for internet friends to meet up and hang out.
Rooms always sell out SUPER fast, so try to book early or find close by places. They always have a ton of great panels, and while it does get pretty crowded it’s a great con to meet new people and see some amazing talent.
It’s very anime, manga, fandom, pop culture and comic-friendly so you will always find something for everyone!
This goes without saying, but Blerdcon is of course one of the best cons on this side of town! If you’re looking for a black nerdy safe space to meet people like you, this is the con to do it.
With a lot of amazing panels, beautiful and creative cosplay, and fun parties, Blerdcon gives everyone something to love.
It is gamer, comic, and anime/manga friendly and I always make friends every year because everyone is super nice and welcoming. They are only getting bigger each year so make sure to also book early for this!
Traveling to cons can be hard and expensive, so it’s always best to find ones closer to you and check them out! There are tons of other even smaller cons through out the year as well.
A good resource to look up conventions in your area (and literally everywhere else) is on the Anime Cons website.
Featured Image via New York Comic Con
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Hey everyone! ~*~ NYC based cosplayer of 4 years. New streamer on twitch! Space enthusiast, lover of all puppies