Note: At the moment Anime Midwest has not yet been postponed or canceled due to the virus, but they have announced all badges will also automatically be valid for 2021 even if the event is not canceled. I’ll update the article if the convention is canceled.
Looking for anime events in Chicago?
Then keep reading!
If you’re visiting Anime Midwest for the first time, or even second or third time, this guide has everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit.
Let’s dive in.
What’s Anime Midwest?
Anime Midwest 2020 is a family-friendly anime convention in Rosemont, Illinois. A three day weekend that starts in the morning and lasts until 2 am on Friday and Saturday, and until 5 pm on Sunday.
That means it’s literally all weekend long, non-stop.
What can I expect?
Sixteen thousand people come to the event every year and they have a lot of fun doing it.
Over 80% of attendees come in cosplay, many of them bringing a different cosplay for every single day of the convention. That’s over 12,000 cosplayers! If you count each separate costume, you might see 20,000 different costumes!
There are usually awesome concerts on the major nights – Friday and Saturday – featuring bands that are either local or from Japan.
These concerts run like a music festival on an incredible stage that feels like the anisong usually played from your computer speakers exploded out onto the stage. There’s a huge video wall that completely surrounds the stage and looks impressive and epic.
The Anime Midwest exhibit hall is a central source for anime fans to gather and shop, with hundreds of vendors and independent artists selling anime stuff.
The event also has a fantastic gaming room with arcade games straight from Japan, including games like Pop’n Music, Jubeat, that weird table flipping arcade game, and DDR.
Famous members of the anime industry also appear as guests every year, from US anime dubbing voice actors to Japanese guests.
- Anime directors
- Character designers who work on anime productions
- Anime musicians appearing every year
They can be one of the best places to get really unique insight into the anime industry, which is a goldmine for hardcore fans.
There’s also a photo studio where photographers will take pictures of cosplayers and put them online in super high quality for free.
Every year Anime Midwest also features numerous Japanese culture panels, discussions, workshops, or demonstrations.
- Martial arts demonstrations
- Samurai swordsmanship demonstrations,
- and more.
The anime convention also has its very own maid cafe with a Japanese style karaoke.
Every night features a rave dance party on a huge stage with really great music playing. It’s a good way to get out that extra energy before sleeping to prepare for the whole next day of the convention.
When is Anime Midwest held?
Once per year around the first week of July. This year it will be held from July 3-5. Often you might hear people lighting off fireworks nearby because of the 4th of July. (Note: fireworks are prohibited at the hotel because the airport is nearby.)
Where can I buy tickets?
Check out their official page. They have a well written guide with all you need to know about getting tickets.
What’s the best part of Anime Midwest? What makes it the best Convention in Chicago?
ConSweet! The Anime Convention has the entire first floor of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare giving out free snacks, food, and drinks.
Anime Midwest gives away almost $8,000 in instant ramen to attendees over the course of the weekend!!!!!!
Also, $10,000 in all you can drink soda. You can’t possibly go thirsty!
This anime otaku convention really wants people to be able to stay at the convention all day long making friends and interacting with the cool guests that they bring in every year.
At other conventions, you might have to leave to find food or pay very high convention center or hotel prices for lunch, but not there.
That said, of course the most important reason to come to anime Midwest is to see some fantastic members of the anime industry.
Anime Midwest has had guests who have been involved in the very first anime localizations in North America, all the way up to guests who are directing brand new anime for Netflix.
These people love anime and know the anime industry inside and out, and you can meet them at Anime Midwest. They also make sure that it’s not like a comic book convention; you don’t have to pay anything extra to meet the guests.
What’s the best day to go? Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?
Saturday is the busiest day, so if you love bustling crowds and cosplay, you want to go on Saturday.
They often have really amazing concerts on Friday night though, so if you’re into concerts, I suggest Friday. If you don’t like crowds so much, then Sunday it is!
Can I buy food and drinks inside the event?
Of course, and they give them away as part of ConSweet too.
The exhibit hall has also recently started offering local craft beers for the adult attendees who want to drink something unique and local.
And the vendors sell lots of Japanese snacks, ramune, and pocky.
What should I bring?
First, your love of anime! Second, lots of money to spend in the dealer’s room. Third, a cosplay if you can make or buy one in time!
How much money do I need?
Badges sell for $40 to $60 depending on how early you get your badge for the convention.
Most people get a hotel room and split it with friends too, so you might want to factor in the cost of a hotel room and of course transportation to the con.
Once you’re at the convention, that’s essentially all that you NEED, however you’re going to want more money to spend in the dealers room!
Unlike some other events, you don’t have to pay to see the guests.
Their panels are free as well as autographs too, so you can get a DVD you own signed for free by a voice actor you like or by one of the creators.
What are the queues like at Anime Midwest?
Not bad at all!
Two years ago the event had lines at registration that were two hours long, but now that’s under control.
Most of the lines, except autograph lines, are pretty short.
Autographs for the most famous voice actors can still be quite a wait though.
The Anime Convention is the perfect size where most of the events are pretty easy to get into, with lines rarely more than an hour long.
Lines at the late-night dances and cosplay contests are growing every year, so I recommend you get in line for them early.
What time should I leave?
You shouldn’t leave until the convention is over on Sunday!
The only way to truly experience the convention is to be there from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.
For that, you want to book a hotel room at the main convention hotel, the Hyatt. But they also have hotel blocks at almost ten different hotels in the area.
Is it worth it?
Heck yes! Imagine paying for movie tickets at a theater – $20 for just 2 hours of fun.
The Anime Convention has over 50 hours of fun for around $50!
It’s such a steal, you can’t afford NOT to go! Now that’s my kind of investing! Stocks in fun are up!
Anime Midwest is the most amazing anime convention for any fans in the Midwest – Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and beyond.
The people attending are super friendly and there are so many incredible cosplays to see that it’s unbelievable! The tips in this article will help you to take advantage of the event!
Don’t miss it!