Anime Expo is one of the most iconic events for Japanese pop culture on the West Coast, if not the country, and there’s tons to see and do. Follow along in my short preview guide series as I try to break it down, gather tips from veteran attendees, and plan my Anime Expo 2017 experience.
Anime Expo 2017 is July 1st – July 4th, which is a Saturday to Tuesday. The sold-out Pre-Show Night is Friday, June 30th. A full weekend (4-day) badge will run you $90 until June 29th. It goes up to $115 after that, so buy now. It’s an excellent deal considering single day badges are $55. They also have a fantastic military discount for active duty and veteran members for $50 for the full weekend. This offer can only be purchased on-site with a valid military ID. All attendee badge pickups are in the South Hall Lobby (other types of badges like premiere or press are in other areas, so see the website for details).
Tips and Tricks
Be prepared for lines. Bring comfy shoes or one of those pop-up stools so you can sit down. Bring an umbrella or parasol if you’re out in the sun (bonus points if your anime waifu is on it!). Bring games and portable chargers, manga to read, or friends to entertain you. If you expect something to be popular, try to get in line one to three hours early, or more. Which brings me to my second tip…
Bring snacks! Some conventions will prohibit outside food and drink because of venue contracts, but Anime Expo actually encourages people to bring snacks. You don’t need to tell me twice! Stock up on your protein bars, Pocky, and bottled water.
Don’t just rely on snacks, though! Eat real meals. There are a few options at the convention center, plus a food truck area, but lines are bound to be long and prices high. Don’t be afraid to leave the convention center for affordable and faster food options.
A great nearby resource is FIGat7th, a shopping center that’s only a 15-minute walk or a short Lyft away from the convention center. It has a Target for last-minute supplies, plus about 20 restaurants from California Pizza Kitchen to Five Guys, sushi to Greek, and even a cupcake shop. Check out the FIGat7th website for a full list of shops and food options.
If you need a rest during the convention, try to check out the Manga Lounge. The lounge boasts over 4,000 manga and art books to relax and enjoy and is open from 9AM to 11PM the first three days, then 9AM to 3PM on the last day (check full details and policies). Be warned though: word on the street is there’s often a line to get inside.
It’s always a good idea to check the convention policies before you go, especially if you’re planning to cosplay. For example, men in tight spandex are actually required to wear a dance belt to cover their bits (thank you!!!). Check out the full policy and more on their website.
Guests, Events, and Vendors, oh my!
Click through to other sections of this guide for more information on different parts of the convention. Do you have any other tips or wisdom? Share them in the comments!
(Links will be added as they’re published.)
Part 1: Tips and Tricks (you are here!)
Part 2: Guests
Part 3: Events
Part 4: Vendors
Part 5: Panels
Header image credit: Jeremy Rafanan