Cosplay conventions in 2023!
Are you ready for another year of some awesome cosplay conventions. I certainly am! But if you’re wondering which conventions you should attend, that’s what this post is going to be all about. If you have some money to spare and you’re looking to travel outside of your hometown state/province, then this list is for you.
In this article, I’ll give you 10 cosplay conventions in 2023 you should definitely attend! These conventions are hugely popular, with a ton of activities and things to do.
For this list, I will be mainly focusing on conventions in the United States and Canada. Some of the best cosplay conventions are located in this region of the world. Not only that, I believe North America is the only place where you get 24-hour cons; everywhere else you only get conventions during the daytime. (If I’m wrong, leave a comment below and let me know). But anyways, the best cons are in North America, so that’s why I’m primarily focusing on this continent.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Otakuthon (Montreal, Canada)
Since I’m from Canada, I have to start off this list with a Canadian convention! And boy, Otakuthon in my opinion is by far the best Anime convention in Canada. I’ve attended Otakuthon many times and the organizers seem to make this convention better and better each.
There are a wide variety of activities available at Otakuthon, including the Masquerade, tabletop gaming, panels, concerts and much more. They have a unique cosplay cafe on the top floor of the convention building, and it comes with a karaoke area!
It’s the little things that make Otakuthon stand out. If you want to learn why Otakuthon is the best Anime convention in Canada, click here. But if you want an excuse to visit Montreal and attend an amazing convention, then definitely consider Otakuthon!
2. Youmacon (Detroit, Michigan)
Youmacon is one of the biggest conventions in America, and probably for good reason. The 3-day convention has your typical things to do such as panels, photoshoots, late night dance parties and more.
But what makes Youmacon stand out are the video games. The gaming room is not only large and extensive, but the room also stays open very late. So if you want to play arcade and console games all-day long, then you can definitely do that during Youmacon.
What’s also unique is the convention takes places in 2 different buildings that are relatively far away from each other. But don’t let that discourage you from going; they’re about a 5-10 minute walk from each other, or a train ride away from the People Mover system. Downtown Detroit is surprisingly nice too. I would recommend Youmacon if you’re in the area or just a few hours drive away.
If you want to learn more about Youmacon, click here.
3. Anime North (Toronto, Canada)
Ah yes, good old Anime North (or AN for short)! Of all the Anime conventions in Canada, I’d have to say that Anime North is the most well-known of them all.
In terms of attendance, AN has the most. It takes place in Toronto, the biggest city in Canada. That alone may be the reason why AN gets a lot of attendees. But I think the main reason is because of the programming. It may be similar year after year, but it’s what most people want.
Some of my favorite features of Anime North include Nominoichi, which is like a flea market for attendees where you can get some awesome swag at a huge discount. And the parking lot of the Toronto Congress Centre is like an open air festival, giving the con some unique social vibes.
Anime North is a popular convention and if you live in Ontario, Quebec and anywhere near the Great Lakes, then you should consider Anime North this year!
If you want to know if Anime North is for you or not, click here to read my Anime North review!
4. Anime Boston
I’ve been to Anime Boston only once, but that alone had left a really great impression of me. I volunteered for the con and not only was it a fun experience, but I also got to witness a great convention in New England!
Anime Boston is a solid convention with a ton of programming. Because it’s such a premier convention, a lot of big vendors are present during the weekend. When I was there, they had a video debut of a big Anime that was yet to be released.
If you want to visit Boston, then why not try to line it up for the weekend of Anime Boston?
5. YetiCon (Blue Mountains, Canada)
YetiCon is truly a special convention that attendees in the Greater Toronto Area get to enjoy every beginning of the summer (well, before the Cerveza sickness took over the world).
If you don’t know, YetiCon is a cosplay convention that takes place at Blue Mountain, a ski resort that turns into summer activities when the weather is warm. It’s unlike your typical cosplay convention.
The location is insanely beautiful, with photoshoot opportunities everywhere: the top of the mountain, the artificial waterfall, the pond, numerous green areas and more.
So not only at YetiCon do you get to enjoy your typical convention activities such as panels and nightly activities, you also get to use the Blue Mountain resort activities at a discounted rate, or even free at certain times! For example, riding the gondola is free from 1-3 pm on the Saturday. Or the big swimming pool aquatic centre is free all day on Sunday!
What amazes me about YetiCon is how the organizers are able to negotiate with the owners of Blue Mountain to give discounts and free tickets for their activities, while also hosting a cosplay convention at arguably Canada’s most popular ski resort! YetiCon is truly a unique convention experience that I highly recommend everyone to try at least once. It gets a spot on my top 5 best Anime conventions!
If you’d like to read my YetiCon guide and my experience, click here for the full complete guide on it!
6. Holiday Matsuri (Orlando, Florida)
Holiday Matsuri was a secret gem of a con until recently. In 2022, I’d say it was no longer a secret that this con is popular and a lot of fun.
While Holiday Matsuri will change venues in the future, the convention will take place again at the (blank) in 2023. This location is beautiful and scenic, giving resort vibes for the weekend.
Not only is Holiday Matsuri is a nice and relaxing getaway, the programming is just as solid. One of the highlights is the Idolfest show, where you get to see cosplay idol groups compete for the best performance.
If you’re into cosplay photoshoots, then Holiday Matsuri is definitely for you. Since the con takes place in December, you’ll see a bunch of Christmas trees and tons of holiday themed cosplays.
All in all, Holiday Matsuri is a fan favorite for many attendees!
7. Anime Central (Rosemont, Illinois)
Anime Central (or Acen for short) is definitely my favorite Anime convention of all time for so many reasons!
To Start, there’s a lot of panels and programming. The dealer’s room is huge. Video gaming and tabletop are 24 hours. And Acen lives up to its reputation as a party con, with 2 big raves on Friday and Saturday going almost all night long!
Anime Central is criminally underrated. It’s truly one of the best cons I’ve ever been to. The crowd and atmosphere is unlike any other; you will have a great time here (if you have the right attitude). There are numerous activities and panels to attend, from early in the morning to all the way at night. And if you love to party, Acen is YOUR con!
Acen is one of the best Anime conventions in the US. Highly recommend attending. And as a bonus, you get to visit the awesome city of Chicago!
P.S. I did a review of Acen. Click here if you want to read.
8. Anime Expo (Los Angeles, California)
In terms of attendee count, Anime Expo is THE largest Anime convention in North America with over 100,000+ attendees in 2019! I haven’t been to Anime Expo myself, but everyone I know that has attended has only great thing to say about the con. Of course, it’s not perfect by any means; having that large of an audience means long lineups and crowded conditions. And during the summer in Los Angeles, it can be brutal! But if you want the best of the best, then Anime Expo is a great option for you.
9. Dragon Con (Atlanta, Georgia)
Dragon Con is another event I haven’t gotten the chance to attend. But it’s one of those big cons that you always hear amazing things about. Dragon Con is a FIVE day event that takes place during Labor Day Weekend. And basically, it’s an all-out party comic con! They even have an annual outdoor parade on the streets of downtown Atlanta. Truly amazing.
There’s a reason why nearby hotels always sell out. Dragon Con is one of the most popular conventions in North America.
10. Colossalcon (various locations in the US)
A convention that takes place in a big waterpark (The Kalahari)…how amazing is that?! That is Colossalcon. Not only has Colossalcon been around for several years, but they have expanded to 4 different locations across the United States in Kalahari resorts. The original location is in Sandusky, Ohio (about an hour drive from Cleveland).
Colossalcon is popular for so many reasons. Being able to cosplay at a waterpark provides a unique experience. And there are many activities to do during the convention weekend, including live entertainment and music.
MCM London Comic Con
I can personally vouch for MCM London Comic Con because I have attended this very big convention. I myself am not the biggest fan of comic-con style conventions, but even I had a blast at MCM! There were so many things to do during the event, including: shows, a gigantic dealer’s room and artist alley, unique exhibits from various vendors, gigantic booths and more. And surprisingly, the badge prices were cheap for a comic convention. I paid around $32 CAD for a one-day pass that I bought at the last second, which is really good for a massive convention like MCM.
So if you happen to be in the UK or in Europe, I would recommend attending MCM London Comic Con for at least one day. It happens twice a year; once in May and another occasion in October!
To summarize, here are the top 10 cosplay conventions in 2023 you should attend:
- Otakuthon (Montreal, Canada)
- Youmacon (Detroit, Michigan)
- Anime North (Toronto, Canada)
- Anime Boston
- YetiCon (Blue Mountains, Canada)
- Holiday Matsuri (Orlando, Florida)
- Anime Central (Rosemont, Illinois)
- Anime Expo (Los Angeles, California)
- Dragon Con (Atlanta, Georgia)
- Colossalcon (various locations in the US)
And there you have it; 10 cosplay conventions in 2023 to definitely consider!
Which ones on this list interest you the most? Are there ones not on this list you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!