Where the Best Cosplay Conventions Are
It’s summertime (winter, if you’re an Australian reader) which means that convention season is in full swing, and the cosplayers are out to play!
Whether you want to participate in person or online, several conventions provide opportunities for cosplayers to show off their threads. Here is 21 of the world’s most popular cosplay conventions in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
Location: San Diego, CA / New York, NY, USA
Comic-Con International: San Diego brings people together to celebrate the world of comic books, as well as art and pop culture. It is an inclusive space for passion, creativity, and imagination, featuring public presentations, conventions, exhibits, museums, and other public outreach activities.
The San Diego Comic-Con branch is the largest cosplay convention in the United States, with the New York branch being second.
2. Anime Expo
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Anime Expo is the largest celebration of Japanese pop culture in North America. It features a multitude of exhibits for anime, manga, games, and more. Since 2008, the expo takes place during the fourth of July weekend in Los Angeles.
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Otakon is an annual convention held in the summer months to celebrate Asian pop culture like anime, manga, music, and more and has been held since 1994. Cosplayers can arrange photoshoots with the Otakon Cosplay Coordination.
Location: USA and Australia
PAX is a series of gaming culture festivals involving tabletop, arcade, and video gaming. PAX is held annually in Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Antonio in the United States, and Melbourne in Australia.
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Sakura-Con is the oldest and most well-attended anime convention in the Pacific Northwest. Sakura-Con features cultural exploration and education through traditional and contemporary media, arts, and entertainment. Cosplayers can participate in the cosplay competition or play cosplay chess.
6. Dragon Con
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Dragon Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe. Dragon Con also features the Friday Night Costuming Contest (FNCC), which focuses solely on the craftsmanship of a costume.
7. Oz Comic Con
Location: Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth)
Oz Comic Con & Gaming is a fan convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy film and TV, comic books, anime, gaming, and collectables. Cosplayers can play in the Supernova Competition, with contains categories in Best in Show, Best Craftsmanship, Best Performance, Best Group, and Judges Award.
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8. FanX® Salt Lake Comic Convention
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Salt Lake Comic Convention was founded by producer Dan Farr and is one of the most attended conventions in Utah and the largest comic convention in North America per capita. The Hall of Fame will feature cosplayers with the best outfits on the SLCC website.
Location: Sydney, Australia
SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show is Australia’s largest Japanese pop-culture convention. Cosplayers can show off their skills on the music, performance, and art stages.
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
MEGACON Orlando is the largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in the Southeastern United States that attracts hundreds of thousands of people across four days. Cosplayers can get their own table at Cosplay Alley to showcase their costuming skills, sign autographs, take photos, meet fans, and make new ones.
11. Hyper Japan
Location: London, England, UK
HYPER JAPAN is the largest exhibition celebrating Japanese culture in the UK. The convention features HYPER Cosplay! ONLINE, a special platform for cosplayers to HYPER Cosplay! ONLINE on July 18th, a chance to get together to show your photos and videos, to see other amazing outfits, and to celebrate the best in cosplay!
Location: Derby, England, United Kingdom
J-Con™ is one of the UK’s oldest and most popular cosplay conventions. Since 2008, the convention annually brings together fans of Anime, Cosplay, Gaming, and Internet Culture. J-Con will feature the annual Cosplay contest with the featured categories, Anime and Manga, Vocaloid, Video Gaming, Western Film and TV, Western Comic, and Original Concept Characters.
Location: Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide)
Supanova Comic Con & Gaming is a fan convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy film and TV, comic books, anime, gaming, and collectables. Cosplayers can participate in the Supernova Competition in categories such as Best in Show, Best Craftsmanship, Best Performance, Best Group, and Judges Award.
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14. Q-Con Belfast
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
Q-Con is the annual gaming and anime convention held at Queen’s University Belfast. Cosplayers can submit photos of themselves online to win prizes in the cosplay competition.
15. Madman Anime Festival
Location: Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney)
Anime Festival, formerly Madman Anime Festival, celebrates anime and Japanese culture featuring international guests and exhibitors, cosplay, and super exclusive anime events.
16. Phoenix Fan Fusion
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Phoenix Fan Fusion is a multi-genre entertainment and comic book convention held annually in Phoenix, Arizona.
17. Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2)
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, also known as C2E2, is a convention spanning the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga, and video games.
18. Anime Matsuri
Location: Houston, Texas, USA
Anime Matsuri is an annual four-day anime convention traditionally held during spring at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. The convention’s name comes from the Japanese word ‘matsuri,’ meaning festival. Cosplayers can submit photos of their cosplay for the Cosplay Contest.
19. Wales Comic Con
Location: Telford, Wales, UK
At Wales Comic Con, attendees can meet comic book artists, film and TV stars, sports personalities, participate in Q&As, and more. WCC also features a masquerade for cosplayers, who can strut on the main stage to win great prizes. Categories include Best Junior (Up to aged 16), Best Crafts Person, Best Performance, and Spirit of Cosplay.
20. Comic Con Scotland
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Comic-Con Scotland is dedicated to pop culture, films, tv, comic books, and more. Attendees can meet and greet their favourite actors and actresses, have photographs with them, get autographs, and attend Q&A panels. Cosplayers can browse stalls that sell everything from replica props, clothing, and toys to original artwork and more.
There are also props and set displays from many franchises that fans can enjoy having photographs taken. Plus, there are many attractions such as training schools, video gaming, activities, exhibitions, and more.
Have you Cosplayed at any of these Conventions?
Who’s your favorite character to cosplay as?
Let us know on social media.