Once again Anime Expo was held at the LA Convention Center a venue that I consider one of the worst to visit. The traffic around the convention center is terrible no matter the time or day. Not only that, but it is not a great place for quick food and there aren’t many hotels within walking distance. Even the parking can be a big hassle if you don’t come early. LA is not a great location for events especially when the convention center has a major stadium and concert theater next door. It makes the whole location a madhouse and causes nothing, but problems for convention logistics. This year there were plenty of walls blocking the various walkways and often times people would get misdirected because there was no clear signing around the walls for attendees to know they are going the right direction. If I wasn’t traveling with friends I would have easily gotten lost several times during the event.
While commuting can be a problem, staying at a hotel isn’t very easy either. The hotels near the convention center are very expensive and fill up fast, while those along the shuttle routes are nice, but the shuttles can be slow or outright delayed for various reasons. Despite those minor issues I do prefer a hotel stay, especially if they offer breakfast for free. By going that route you can save a meal and stay up for later programming or hangouts without worrying about the drive in the morning. However, no matter which way to approach this event food will be an issue. Restaurants can be expensive and they fill up fast, not to mention that many are not open late. If you are hoping to raid the food trucks or pop up stands at the convention then you are in store for a long line in the hot sun. It is highly suggested you pack a lunch and either have a dinner waiting at the hotel or pick up something on the way home after your con adventure ends.
This is one of the most inconvenient events I have attended and more often than not I skip several meals during the weekend and feel completely exhausted and stressed when it is over. While there are ways to mitigate these issues you should be aware that the event is not like Fanime, Anime Boston, or Anime Central where you can waltz out of the event, grab some food, and come back in a jiffy. This event can be a bit of a marathon and you should prepare accordingly. A refillable water bottle, snacks, and one meal should be in your bag at all times. If you are exhausted and mal nourished then you have a higher risk of catching con plague.
Most importantly, do not get the street dogs. They are unregulated and often they attract flies and roaches. Anime Expo may be a tough con to survive so don’t add extra problems if you can avoid them.