If you didn’t know, Anime Expo has been a phenomenon in the Anime and cosplay world for a long time now. Today, over 100,000 attendees each year make their way to Anime Expo in LA. The event is insanely large and packed, and there is a reason why this event usually comes first when people think of Anime conventions.

If you’re interested yourself in attending Anime Expo, what are some things you should know? That’s what we’ll be discussing today!

In this post, I’ll be going over Anime Expo and everything you should know about the convention. I’ll give you specific details such as where the convention is located, what happens at the convention and how much should you budget. Overall, Anime Expo is a well-known convention that offers you so many things to see and do, it’s no wonder why the annual is so popular.

Without further ado let’s get started!

What is Anime Expo?

Anime Expo is an annual convention that has been going since 1991. That’s over 30 years!

Not only is Anime Expo a prominent convention, the event is by far the largest Anime convention in all of North America (click here to see the list of the biggest Anime conventions in North America). Again, with over 100,000 people showing up every year, Anime Expo is HUGE.

From what my friends tell me, AX can get very crowded. With that many people in one building, it can get pretty congested inside. That is something you will want to consider if you want to attend Anime Expo. You will have to expect that lineups will be long and space will be limited.

Where is Anime Expo located?

Anime Expo (or AX for short) is an Anime convention that takes place in Los Angeles, California in the summer. For those who don’t know, LA is the second largest city in all of the U.S. and the largest city on the West Coast. It’s a great place to host such a large Anime convention like Anime Expo.

As for the venue itself, Anime Expo has been held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA. The convention center is a huge building that can accommodate a bunch of attendees for one entire weekend.

While I wouldn’t say that the venue is located right in the middle of downtown (like Sakura-Con and Dragon Con do), the event is in the middle of vibrant area. You have other venues such as the Crypto.com Arena and L.A. Live which also bring a large audience. It reminds me of Fan Expo (link) and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. While Fan Expo isn’t in the busiest area of downtown Toronto, you have other attractions such as Ripley’s Aquarium and the Rogers Centre and the Scotiabank Arena bringing in lots of people for other events. I’d imagine Anime Expo has that same vibe.

When does Anime Expo take place?

Anime Expo takes place in primetime convention season, usually on the American Independence Day weekend (around July 4th). So you can book off your convention weekend knowing that AX will always fall on a holiday.

Anime Expo is unique in that the event is longer than the usual 3-day convention weekend. In fact, AX is usually 4-days long, so you get an extra day of convention going on a long holiday weekend. Ain’t that awesome!

What happens at Anime Expo?

There are a TON of activities and stuff that goes on at Anime Expo. At any Anime convention, you can expect to see your usual fare of activities such as panels, cosplay contests and dealer’s room. Anime Expo is no exception.

AX has a variety of unique activities that are exclusive to their events. Some of these include:

  • Karaoke
  • Maid Cafe
  • Late Comedy Showdown
  • Photo sets where you can take cosplay photos (e.g. inside a train car, Sakura-themed Shrine)
  • Beer Garden
  • and more

As you can see, there is a LOT to do at Anime Expo. You probably won’t have time to do everything!

How much should I budget for Anime Expo?

Anime Expo will definitely NOT be cheap. As mentioned previously, AX is the largest Anime convention in North America. With that kind of a size for a con, you can expect the costs to be much more. Therefore, the badge prices will be steep for a large convention. In 2023, the price for a 4-day badge (all days) was $145 USD. For a single-day badge, the prices ranged from $50-$80. Saturday and Sunday are usually the busiest and most expensive days for a single-day badge.

With hotels costing around or above $200 USD/night, you’ll want to save up a good portion of money if you and your friends plan on attending Anime Expo. And you’ll want some money leftover to buy stuff in the dealer’s room, as well as having money for your cosplay plans.

Summary

Anime Expo is one of a kind. The annual event is enormous with so many coming together to LA every year to celebrate Anime culture together. AX may get crowded and be expensive for some, but that doesn’t stop attendees from going every year, especially if you live in California. For a lot of my friends, going to Anime Expo is an annual tradition. There is just so much to see and do at AX. I certainly want to attend one day myself!

I hope this post from my perspective answers all the questions you may regarding Anime Expo. If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Have fun at Anime Expo!