10 Must Attend US Anime Conventions in 2024

Matthew_Anderson
edited December 2023 in Gaming

Looking to attend an anime convention in 2024? Anime conventions are large gatherings where anime fans share their love for anime, manga, and all things Japanese culture. They usually feature panels with speakers from the anime and manga industry, dance parties, Artist Alleys filled with fan merchandise and much more!

Whether you’re a convention newbie or a seasoned expert, it’s important to be in the know about what events are out there. That way, you can choose the convention that’s right for you based on price, interests, location, and other factors. Let’s take a look at the next anime conventions coming up in 2024.

Top 10 US Anime Conventions in 2024 

Image by Katsucon Entertainment, Inc., sourced from Facebook, accessed on 12/19/2023.

Katsucon is a 3-day anime convention held in the Washington D.C. area every year. Its one of the earlier anime conventions in the US, its 2024 dates being February 16th to February 18th.  

Its name comes from the Japanese “katsu” meaning life or energy, and its wide variety of dynamic programming perfectly matches this moniker. Between live anime screenings, Japanese fashion panels, karaoke sessions and more, you’ll be sure to have a blast among fellow anime fans.

One of the additional perks of attending Katsucon is its charming location on the National Harbor, a “mini-city” on the water with shopping, dining, and accommodation options all available. Though you likely will be having too much fun at the events to explore the area, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby if you need to pick something up or have a nice meal.

2. Anime Boston 2024 (March 29-31, 2024) 

Image by Anime Boston, sourced from Facebook, accessed on 12/19/2023. 

Anime Boston is an annual convention held in Boston, Massachusetts. Its claim to fame is being the largest gathering in the Northeast, with almost 30,000 attendees in 2022. It’s also well known for drawing the immensely famous Shinichiro Watanabe, the director of popular series Cowboy Bebop, at its 2013 event.

The event has been held every year since 2003 and only continues to grow. Some of its most enticing attractions are its masquerade ball and enormous artist’s alley where some of the best artists in the world come to sell their merchandise. Its 2024 dates are March 29th to March 31st. 

3. Sakura-Con (March 29-31, 2024) 

Image by Sakura-Con, sourced from Sakuracon.org , accessed on 12/19/2023.

Sakura-Con, presented by the Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association, is held in Seattle and prides itself on being the largest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest.

Its motto is “for fans, by fans,” meaning that once you enter the door, you won’t have to pay extra for anything, including autographs, performances, or even Sakura-Con’s famous cosplay parade! This welcoming attitude contributes to a more friendly and pleasant environment compared to other conventions where you can feel like just a number.

Like many other anime conventions run by nonprofits, you must purchase a membership in the foundation to enter the venue, as this acts as your ticket. Pre-registration is available, with substantial savings compared to prices at the door.

4. Anime Central (May 17-19, 2024) 

Image by Anime Central, sourced from acen.org, accessed on 12/19/2023. 

Anime Central is one of 3 locations on this list not located on one of the coasts. Held in Rosemont, Illinois, less than 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, the convention is a large draw for anime fans from the Midwest and farther afield. 

First held in 1998, Anime Central packs a large punch, with some of its major draws including its rave party, premiere screenings, and massive Artist Alley. 

2024’s Anime Central will be held from May 17th to May 19th at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, conveniently located near Chicago’s O’Hare airport. 

5. FanimeCon 2024 (May 24-27, 2024)

Image by FanimeCon, sourced from Facebook, accessed on 12/19/2023. 

 FanimeCon, known as Northern California’s largest anime convention, is a fan-run convention like Sakura-Con. Its uniqueness lies in its fan panels, where fans who would normally not have a voice at an event of this size can espouse their intriguing theories or geek out on super-specific aspects of fandom.

This is definitely an event for those looking to connect with other fans, and not an event for those who want to meet big names from the anime industry. With 34,000 guests in 2019 at its downtown San Jose location, you’ll be sure to meet plenty of like-minded friends at FanimeCon.

6. Anime Expo (AX) (July 4-7, 2024)

Image by Anime Expo (AX), sourced from Facebook, accessed on 12/19/2023. 

 Anime Expo (AX), a downtown LA anime gathering, is the largest such event in North America with over 100,000 guests per year. This event is the cream of the crop: the biggest names, the most hype, and the widest selection of events and activities. The crowds are intense, though, and can be overwhelming for a first-timer, so keep that in mind if you’re trying decide between AX or a smaller event.

Another advantage of Anime Expo is its relative proximity to other LA area tourist attractions, like Disneyland. If you’re coming from outside the LA metro area, that’s certainly something to consider. Anime Expo will be held from July 4th to July 7th, 2024.

7. Ai-Kon (July 12-14, 2024)  

Ai-Kon is the only Canadian entry on this list! Held annually in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ai-Kon first started as an open-house event run by the Anime Club at the University of Manitoba. Since its first event in 2021, it’s grown to become a gathering for anime fans from across Canada and even across North America.

Its 24-hour round-the-clock schedule is jam-packed with special activities and events. Some of its highlights include its video game tournaments, Maid Cafe, and 24-hour anime screenings. Ai-Kon will be held from July 12th to July 14th 2020 at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre.

8. Otakon 2024 (August 2-4, 2024) 

Image by Otakon, sourced from otakon.com, accessed on 12/19/2023.

Otakon is another anime convention held in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It convenes each year in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Downtown D.C.

Compared to Katsucon which is located a bit outside of the city center at the National Harbor, Otakon is centrally located and convenient to public transportation. Otakon will be held from August 2nd to August 4th 2024.

9. Anime Matsuri (August 8-11, 2024)

Image by Anime Matsuri, sourced from Animematsuri.com, accessed on 12/19/2023.

Held in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, Anime Matsuri is one of the relatively few anime conventions held outside of one of the coasts. In addition to the typical panel offerings and exhibitors one can expect from any anime gathering, Anime Matsuri is renowned for its live sumo competitions! This event also serves Kpop fans particularly well compared to other conventions.

10. Anime NYC (August 23-25, 2024)

Image by Anime NYC, sourced from Facebook, accessed on 12/19/2023.

For several years, NYC had trouble maintaining a yearly anime convention. Luckily, Anime NYC has cemented itself in the community and is here to stay. It describes itself as “a party, a market, and a festival” as well as a “dedicated showcase of Japanese popular culture.” It promises “unique exhibits, exclusive screenings, and appearances by some of the biggest creators in Japan!”

The event is held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, only blocks from central landmarks like Times Square and Grand Central. As such, it’s also highly accessible by public transport, with the Hudson Yards station just across the street.

Anime NYC will be held from August 23rd to August 25th, 2024.

Conclusion

As you can see, US anime fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to anime conventions. No matter where you live or what kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find an event that’s worthwhile for you. All of the ten anime conventions on this list offer unforgettable experiences that any anime fan won’t want to miss.  

Matthew is a freelance content writer whose work has previously appeared in well-known language-learning blog Fluent in 3 Months and The Happy Self-Publisher. His creative work has also appeared in Otoliths, CafeLit, and the Eunoia Review. He is currently based in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is studying for a master's degree in Chinese Literature.

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