Connecticon is Connecticut’s own Comic Con that draws in thousands of people to enjoy multi-genre cosplay, gaming, panels, celebrity guests, and everything pop culture.
The 4 days of programming are spread across the Connecticut Convention Center, the Hartford Marriott next door, and also other downtown Hartford venues to accommodate all attendees and experiences.
If you’re interested in attending Connecticut’s oldest fan-run convention, then we’ll be providing you with the guide to prepare for the amazing weekend event and what to expect whilst you’re there so you can fully enjoy your time at Connecticon.
Buying Your Ticket/Badge
Over 10,000 people attend Connecticon every year, most of which hail from the Northern US but it does attract visitors from all over the globe.
Connecticon only sells ‘memberships’ for the event and does not advertise them as tickets like you’d find with other Comic Con events.
This membership will provide you with year-round benefits that will allow you to participate and attend membership-only events in Southern New England including the Connecticon event held in Hartford.
If they were to sell individual tickets, they would need to collect an admission tax which must then be sent over to the state of Connecticut and they would need to charge a higher price to cover these admission taxes.
Therefore, in order to keep attendee’s costs lower, admittance to the event is in the form of a year-long membership which will not need to be taxed.
Regardless of where you’re coming from to attend Connecticon, we’d recommend you buy your tickets in advance, not only to secure your space but also because they’re offered at a discounted rate than what you can buy them on the day for.
You do have the flexibility to register on the day you plan to attend, however, you’ll be charged additional fees.
Please bear in mind that on-site registration for memberships for the event will only be open during certain hours of each day so double-check if you’re turning up on the day.
These are the current membership rates for attendees (however they could change):
- All weekend – $90 + service fees
- Friday only – $50 + service fees
- Saturday only – $60 + service fees
- Sunday only – $25 + service fees
Kids that are 1 and under can enter the event free with an adult admission and if you’re in the military and you can provide some ID, then you’ll get $10 off your ticket.
Groups of 10 or more can receive a $5 discount off all weekend memberships.
If you buy your membership in advance, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a QR code which you will then present to the on-site registration staff where you’ll receive a badge in return.
You will need proof of purchase and also a valid form of ID to pick up your badge.
If you happen to lose your badge then you will have to pay full price for a replacement.
One of the best things about the membership is that if you can’t attend the event a certain year, then you can have your membership rolled over to the following year where you’ll be able to attend.
What To Bring To Connecticon
Regardless if you’re only visiting Connecticon for 1 day, you’ll need to bring a solid backpack with you to accommodate all your belongings and also to store anything you buy throughout the day.
Make sure in that backpack you bring your wallet with both cash and card as vendors will sometimes only accept cash to avoid the credit card fees, so you don’t want to miss out on a dope purchase just because you’ve got no cash.
No outside food or drink is allowed into the convention center, but staff shouldn’t refuse you bringing in a refillable water bottle especially if the weather is hot.
There are food and drink vendors inside the convention center if you need something to eat.
You don’t want to miss out on a photo opportunity so don’t forget to bring along your camera or just use your trusty smartphone camera.
If you are going to use your phone to capture all your memories, make sure you bring along a portable phone charger so it doesn’t randomly die on you.
Another top tip from a seasoned convention go-er would be to bring and use hand sanitizer everywhere you go.
Big conventions like these are a breeding ground and hopefully, minimize the risk of you getting ‘comic con flu’ which attendees sometimes get from people in such close proximity to people all day and also handling and touching things that thousands of other people have.
If you’re planning on meeting celebrities and snapping up some autographs, bring along your favorite comics, or just a plain notebook and a pen so you don’t miss out.
What To Wear To Connecticon
If you were planning on wearing some strange-looking costume shoes or pair of heels, then think again, as comfort will be your top priority when attending Conneticon.
You’ll be walking between the convention center, the Marriott, and also other venues in downtown Hartford so you’ll need comfortable shoes that you’ll be able to walk around all day in without your feet getting sore or blistered.
We wouldn’t recommend buying a new pair of sneakers and wearing them for the first time at the event just in case you get blisters. So try to wear shoes that are comfortable but that you’ve already broken in.
Thousands of people take the opportunity to dress up for Connecticon, you’ll see so many different cosplays from various fictional TV shows, games, or films across the whole weekend.
Many people spend hundreds of dollars on their costumes for the weekend whilst others may spend weeks designing and creating their costumes.
There are some dress code regulations for the convention that you can find on the Connecticon website. Common rules such as no nudity or costumes that are too revealing will not be allowed into the venue.
There may be some regulations as to what weapons you can take into the event, so you may need to enquire with organizers before turning up as policies can change year in year out.
Easy Connecticon Costume Ideas
If you’re stuck for some easy ideas for your costume for Connecticon, take a look at these great cosplay ideas and costumes that can be done last minute.
Can You Go To Connecticon Without A Costume?
Of course, costumes are not compulsory for Connecticon, it’s just part of the fun. You won’t be judged for not dressing up so feel free to wear your regular day-to-day attire when attending.
If you do get inspired, there will be vendors at the convention that you can buy costumes and accessories from.
What To Do If Nobody Gets Your Cosplay?
Just laugh and explain it to them. Connecticon is all about meeting so many people from different fandoms and pop culture groups so there will also be other cosplays that you don’t understand.
Guides To Connecticon Lines And Crowds
There’ll be two different lines when entering the convention building, 1 for memberships that were bought online and 1 for people buying memberships on the day. Make sure you get in line for the right one.
When it comes to any sort of panels, workshops, celebrity photo ops, or autographing sessions, we’d highly recommend getting in line early so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
Celebrities and guests will have strict time schedules at the convention, so if you happen to be waiting in line and they’re due on a panel, they’ll need to leave.
They may have numerous autograph and photo-op sessions throughout the day in between larger events, so you should find at least 1 opportunity to get something signed by them.
Make sure to listen to what convention staff is calling when approaching lines, as you don’t want to be waiting in line for the wrong thing for too long.
You’ll need to prioritize what you want to do the most over the weekend. Most events will have lines to get in and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in them so won’t be able to do everything.
Getting Your Comics Signed
You’ll be able to get your comics signed by the celebrities at the event, however, it will come at a price.
Guests and celebrities will charge a fee for each autograph that they sign and sometimes charge more for autographing larger items that you bring to them.
You can purchase your tickets before the convention so you can guarantee yourself a space in the line but then you can also buy tickets on the day if there are any remaining.
There won’t be 1 fixed price for each celebrity, more exclusive and famous guests will charge a higher rate for an autograph than lesser-known guests, so check on the Connecticon website in the lead up to the convention to see how much you should budget for the people you want to see.
How Much Money Do You Need?
If you’d like an overall estimate for a budget for the entire weekend including accommodation, travel, food and drink, celebrity meet and greets, and also buying things within the convention, then we’d say you’d be looking at easily spending $500 as a minimum.
Numerous photo-ops and autographs with different celebs can quickly rack up your costs for the weekend, so try to narrow it down to guests you’d most like to meet.
Merchandise and vendors within the convention can charge super high prices for valuable collectibles, so if you’re on the hunt for a specific item, then be ready to pay a premium.
There will be opportunities to get snacks, food, and drinks within the convention center, however, there won’t be a huge choice plus you’ll be charged premium prices.
There are countless restaurants within the downtown area that you can go to for food, so we’d recommend setting a budget aside primarily for eating out over the weekend.
Don’t Forget To Bargain
Don’t always accept the price you see on the tag or that a vendor asks for an item on their booth.
Some vendors will negotiate the price with you, as long as you have a supporting reason – maybe you’ve seen it for a less expensive price on eBay or maybe you don’t believe the condition the item is in reflects the price.
Being polite and respectful will get you further so don’t demand the price be brought down otherwise you’ll get nowhere.
Always start with an offer that is around $20 lower than the price you’re willing to pay and then hopefully you and the vendor can find a price that you’re both happy with.
Other Tips For Connecticon-goers
Be respectful of all other attendees and staff. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves and starting trouble or doing something you’re not supposed to will result in you being ejected from the convention.
You’ll need to accept that you won’t be able to attend every panel, meet every guest, and get around all the booths within just 3 days, so be realistic about what you plan to do over the course of the weekend.
Make a schedule to keep track of what you’re doing and where you’re going but be flexible with your plans.
One of the best places you can stay for the Connecticon weekend is at the Hartford Marriott, which is attached to the convention center and also hosts some of the events in the large function rooms within the hotel, so you won’t have far to go at all.
Not only this but the hotel is located in a prime location downtown, so you’ll also get to experience local restaurants and other activities throughout your trip.
Other areas in Downtown that’ll also be a short distance from the main events in the convention center are:
- Hilton Hartford (15-minute walk)
- Residence Inn Downtown Hartford (13-minute walk)
- The Capitol Hotel (20-minute walk)
- Holiday Inn Downtown Area (12-minute walk)
We’d recommend booking your hotel room in advance as you’ll be able to get a cheaper rate. The closer to the convention weekend that you book, the more you’ll pay, especially if there are other events going on in the Hartford area at the same time.
Car Rental Nearby
If you’re coming from out of town and you’ll need a rental car to get around during your trip, then you’ll have plenty of choices for car rental companies.
Within the Downtown area, you’ll be able to find Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz which are normally the ones that visitors to the city will opt for.
Parking At The Event
There is an 8-level parking garage that accommodates 2,600 vehicles and is connected to the convention center. There is also an on-site surface parking lot that can accommodate larger vehicles.
There are an additional 232 spaces available directly across the street from the center on Columbus Boulevard for weekend events.
Make sure to arrive early to guarantee yourself space nearby, although there are many other parking options available downtown.
If you’re driving to the convention, then we’d recommend using the service on the convention center’s website that will give you accurate directions when you type in your address.
Public Transport To The Event
You can fly into Bradley International Airport which is only 15 miles from Hartford and then get an uber or taxi to your accommodation or straight to the convention center.
However, a cheaper alternative would be to get the Bradley flyer which is a service that’ll take you from all the terminals at the airport and will drop you into Downtown Hartford or even the designated stop at the convention center for only $1.75 for one way.
Uber and Lyft are available in Hartford and you’ll be able to order a car to come to pick you up 24/7 from the app on your smartphone, however, this will depend on the availability of drivers in the area during the time that you request pick up.
This is one of the easiest ways to get around as you won’t have to worry about looking at public transport time schedules or figure out where you’re supposed to go.
You can just tell your driver where you’re going and then they’ll also be able to pick you up by using your location on the app.
If you’re staying within the Hartford area and need to get a bus to the convention center, then you’ll need to use the CTFastrak or CT Transit service that stops by the convention center.
The bus lines you’ll be able to take to get the Connecticon are, 34, 83, 84, 904, 910, and CBS.
The Hartford line train will also take you within a 20-minute walk of the convention center.
You can also take advantage of Hartford dash which is a free downtown bus that can take you from the convention center into downtown Hartford.