Last month my husband and I made a quick day trip out to Awesome Con. We had a fantastic time and got to get our feet wet in the comic con world (the events we usually attend are heavily anime-themed). This trip also served as reconnaissance for Otakon- which will be held in the same venue in August.
The convention center itself is very easy to get to. There is a metro station next door to the center- just be sure to snag a Smart Trip card with enough money on it beforehand so you don’t have to worry about loading it the day of the event.
Not surprisingly considering current events, the convention security was beefed-up. Only one entrance location was permitted and attendees had to pass through bag check at the front door. I was in plainclothes cosplay, but I did see a number of attendees with zip-ties fastened to their props to indicate they had been cleared by weapons check. The entire process ran smoothly and I hope the same experience can be said for Otakon.
Considering that one of the reasons for the location change was overcrowding, the Washington Convention Center should be a welcome change of pace. The halls are spacious with clearly labeled directions. One thing I should note, however, is that many of the escalators are one-way and going the opposite direction often requires travelling to the opposite side of the hall. Perhaps because of the anticipated crowds we did find the air conditioning was on full-blast in many of the rooms. Even though the event is in summer I still would recommend stuffing a light jacket into your bag just to be on the safe side. This chill may be welcome to cosplayers in heavy armor or thick costumes, but is not a guarantee of comfort.
(I was very thankful for Futaba's jacket. Photo by Webyugioh)
Photoshoot-wise the location is extremely business modern (think airport terminals). Despite this there are still many works of art framed or installed throughout the convention center. With a bit of careful posing these could lead to some very striking cosplay photographs.
The only real drawback we found was the food selection. There are very few nearby restaurants in the immediate area with the main option being convention center food stands. Unless you are willing to drop fistfuls of cash every time you want a snack, I would suggest packing some small treats like granola bars to take with you. This goes double for anyone with dietary restrictions as most of the options are burgers/chicken nuggets and fries.
Otakon remains one of my favorite cons and I look forward to the new location. I hope you found this synopsis useful and have a great time at Otakon 2017!