There's nothing quite like attending a geeky convention. There's something special about getting together with thousands of like-minded individuals and celebrating the things you love.
Whether it's about comics, anime, video games, or general nerd culture, conventions are a great place to get together with fellow geeks and nerds and make some new friends.
If you're looking for something to do on your next vacation, or if you want to make a special trip out to get your nerd on, a major geek convention could be just what you need!
Location: New York, NY
When it comes to geek conventions on the eastern side of the United States, it doesn't get much bigger than New York Comic Con. Since 2017, NYCC has started attracting over 200,000 attendees, which is just gigantic.
Don't let the "comic" part of the name turn you off! Even even if you don't like comic books, there are plenty of panels and events that are more about movies, video games, and pop culture!
Location: San Diego, CA
On the west side of the US, there's San Diego Comic Con. The event first started running in 1970 with an attendance of just under 150 people.
Now, the massive convention draws over 130,000 fans each year to massive show floor and range of panels featuring some of pop culture's biggest names.
Just like NYCC, SDCC isn't just for comic fans! There's plenty to do for anyone who's into nerd culture.
3. Dragon Con
Location: Atlanta, GA
While not quite as large as either of the Comic Con events above, Dragon Con still draws well over 80,000 attendees each year.
Dragon Con doesn't feature the same focus on comics as some of the other major conventions. Instead, it concentrates on all sorts of geeky interests like board games, card games, science fiction, fantasy, and plenty of other hobbies.
There's also a greater emphasis on music, with the event hosting tons of live concerts.
4. Gen Con
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Gen Con is a more focused convention than the ones mentioned above, being the largest board game convention in North America.
It draws over 60,000 tabletop gaming enthusiasts every year. In addition to being absolutely huge, the event is one of the oldest, having started in 1968.
Obviously, if you don't like tabletop games, this event might not be for you. But if you're already a fan, or you're open to learning about the board game world, you'll love it.
Location (PAX East): Boston, MA
Location (PAX West): Seatle, WA
Location (PAX South): San Antonia, TX
Location (PAX AUS): Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Location (PAX Unplugged): Philadelphia, PA
When it comes to conventions specifically targeted at video games, it doesn't get much bigger than PAX. The event has grown so massive, in fact, that the organizers had to split it off into multiple shows around the world.
As far as the number of attendees, PAX East and PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime) are the biggest, but there's still plenty of geeky fun to be had at the smaller events.
There's plenty to see and do that isn't related to video games, especially for fans of tabletop fun. (Note that PAX Unplugged is specifically focused on tabletop gaming!)
Location: Washington, DC
Otakon is all about East Asian culture. Fans of anime, manga, music, and movies will find plenty to enjoy at this massive geeky convention.
In 2018, it drew just under 30,000 attendees, which is quite impressive for how niche it is. Plenty of anime and live-action East Asian movies are shown at the event, as is fan-created content.
There's also panels and workshops where fans can learn to draw manga and voice act.
More on Attending Your First Event!
Out there in day-to-day life, it can be tough to meet others with the same interests as you, but these conventions will make it easy. Just about everyone in attendance is into video games, comics, board games, or some geeky hobby.
You just might make some new friends or pick up a new craft. At the very least, you'll definitely have a good time!