Depending on where you live, finding nearby events to cosplay can be rather difficult. When I was living in DC, I didn’t even know how fortunate I was to have a handful of conventions and many other small events within easy commuting distance. But now that I’ve moved away, there is a lot more planning and searching involved.
The easiest way to find a cosplay event happening near you is to search for an anime or comic convention in your state. However, there are also many informal smaller events that are put together by cosplayers outside of traditional conventions.
By finding these local groups and events, you can plan for a less-expensive get together while also having a lot of fun in your favorite cosplay. While these smaller events are a lot harder to find, with a little bit of extra searching, you can find other cosplayers near you.
1. Upcoming anime or comic conventions
The most common places to find cosplayers gathering is at the many anime, comic, and gaming conventions. These are the easiest type of events to find out about, since many of them will draw large crowds year after year. Most will be 3-4 day events taking place over a weekend, but there are also some smaller 1-day events that you can attend.
All of these types of events will expect a large portion of attendees to show up in costume, so you’ll never look out of place when you cosplay. There are even a few that are specifically marketed as cosplay conventions. Depending on where you live, there may be a number of these events within easy commuting distance. However, most of the time you’ll want to stay in a nearby hotel during the convention.
The best places that I have found to search for nearby conventions are:
These sites have detailed lists of events happening around the globe for the coming year and are updated frequently. You can search by country and state to find the conventions happening near you.
- Related reading: How to cosplay is Japan
2. Join a group on social media
Another way to find out about conventions near you is to join local cosplay groups on various social media platforms. I have been a part of a Facebook group that helped rent local venues and get cosplayers and photographers together. You can find similar groups operating in different regions for small get-togethers all about cosplay.
In addition to Facebook, you can find cosplay groups on Meetup and convention forums. You might even find threads on Reddit trying to organize a small cosplay get-together or group photoshoot.
3. Events at local bookstores and businesses
Sometimes local businesses and organizations will host a cosplay-friendly event that you can attend. These events are most likely to happen in October, around Halloween, but you might also find them when local businesses are promoting a new comic or gaming release.
I find that the most likely places to pay attention to are local bookstores, comic book stores, and libraries. Many times they will be co-organized by members of the public as a way to have fun with nerd culture while also promoting the local business. So be sure to ask around at local shops to see if they have any upcoming events.
4. Don’t forget about Renaissance Festivals
Renaissance Festivals take place all over the country, typically in the summer and fall months. These are places where it’s common to see attendees and retail shop keepers dressed in clothing that is reminiscent of the renaissance era.
While this is not specifically an anime or comic event, it’s not uncommon to see people dressed in character costumes. There are so many characters you can cosplay that fit with the medieval theme and fit right into the atmosphere at any renaissance festival. I see so many Legend of Zelda cosplayers walking around at renn faire every year.
There are also many festivals that have a “day of wrong” built into the schedule (typically the last day of the festival). On these days attendees are encouraged to dress up in clothing that is completely wrong for the time period. These are days where you can bring your superhero, star wars, and anime cosplays without going against the theme of the event.
5. Create your own get-together
Maybe you live in an area that doesn’t have very many events where you can cosplay. There is no reason you can’t be the one to get something started. Try getting in touch with other cosplayers in your area online and setting up a small event at a public park. You could also try getting into contact with a local business or library to set up an event with their help.
If you’re still in school, you can even see about creating a cosplay club where you all work together to make your costumes. Then have an event where you wear them to celebrate finishing them.