Formerly known as Denver Comic Con (and soon to be known as Fan Expo Denver), Denver Pop Culture Con welcomes geeks of all ages every year to the Colorado Convention Center for three days of cosplay, comics, and celebrities!
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to bring to the con, what to expect when you get there, how to get there, and some easy, fun cosplay ideas too!
Buying your ticket/badge
Tickets for Fan Expo Denver are available on the Fan Expo website, and as of 2018 tickets are delivered electronically through the Flash Seats system rather than mailed out to attendees.
Below, we’ll break down all of the packages on offer, from a single day at the con to the exciting VIP packages.
Single Day Pass: A single day pass to Fan Expo Denver includes admission to one day of Fan Expo Denver, show floor access, access to the panel room/theater, and a souvenir badge.
3 Day Pass: A 3 day pass admits you for three days at the convention from Friday to Sunday. You get access to the show floor, and to the panel room/ theater, as well as a souvenir badge.
But you also get access to the Special Preview on Friday at 2pm.
Premium Package: The premium package admits you to 3 days at the con, but you also get a premium badge, access to the Special Preview on Friday at 2pm, exclusive ticket up counter, a celebrity photo op 24-hour purchase guarantee, and a specially ticketed event 24-hour purchase guarantee.
You also get goodies like a limited edition Fan Expo Denver bag, a limited edition comic from a major publisher, limited edition collectible, and an exclusive lithograph.
What’s more, you also got a 10% off coupon at the Fan Expo Denver store!
VIP Package: The VIP package includes admission to all 3 days of the con and a limited edition Fan Expo Denver VIP badge. You not only get access to the Special Preview on Friday at 2pm, but a head start to the show floor at 9:30am on Saturday and Sunday.
You also get complimentary express shipping of VIP passes, and exclusive access to the VIP lounge. You also get a VIP Express pass for celebrity autograph and photo op areas, and VIP priority access to main theater presentations.
But that’s not all, you also get a celebrity photo op 48-hour purchase guarantee and a specially ticketed event 48-hour purchase guarantee, and a VIP virtual concierge so you never miss out!
What’s more, VIP goodies include limited edition Fan Expo Denver lanyards, t-shirts, and bags, as well as two limited edition comics from a major publisher, a limited edition collectible, and exclusive lithograph.
You also get a 20% off coupon at the Fan Expo Denver Store, and first right to renew your VIP package for the following year.
What to bring to Fan Expo Denver
A good backpack: Not only do you need a bag to carry all the stuff you’ll be bringing to the con (more on that below), but a bag to carry all the great freebies on offer as well as merch you purchase at Merchant Mesa!
Snacks: It’s surprising how much energy you expend at conventions, but when you take into account how much you’ll be walking around the show floor, walking to and from the panel rooms, waiting in line, and just the sheer excitement and weird, wonderful sights to take in, it’s not unusual to find yourself worn out by the end of the day!
Keep your stamina up with some nourishment, like granola bars and other snacks to keep yourself alert and energized.
If you go for a three day pass, it’s also a good idea to buy snacks in bulk so you and your friends and family will always have snacks to hand.
Refillable water bottle: It’s also important to stay hydrated. Be kind to the planet as well as your wallet and bring your own reusable water bottle and fill at any water fountains you find in the convention center.
Charger or phone power pack: From all the selfies and videos you’ll take at the con to general mobile usage, your phone will probably die at some point.
A charger is crucial to have in your backpack, but with a charger comes the hassle of trying to find an outlet so you can get your phone back up and running. This is where a portable power pack comes in handy.
Comic books and autograph books: Make sure to bring your comic books for your favorite celebrities and creators to sign! Or, if you would rather not have your comic books autographed, bring an autograph book instead.
Fabric tape and safety pins: Cosplaying is not only incredibly fun, but a treasured tradition at cons. You’ll want to keep your cosplay looking as polished as possible, but of course, accidents happen.
Your costume may not hold up to a long day on the show floor, and snags are extremely common. Bring some fabric tape and safety pins to make quick amendments.
Not only do they come in handy in a cosplay emergency, but they’re small enough to fit in your bag.
What to wear to Fan Expo Denver
Before we get into cosplay and the guidelines surrounding it, let’s talk about everyday clothes. Not everyone is into cosplaying, but even if you are, you may want to take a break from dressing up as your favorite character for one day of the con. So what to wear?
Comfortable shoes: There is a lot of walking in conventions – not to mention standing in line – so comfortable shoes are a must.
Hoodie: Due to how many people are packed in convention centers at cons, the air conditioning gets cranked up to make sure everybody is comfortable. So you may find yourself getting chilly at times, so a hoodie is always handy.
Now let’s talk about cosplay! It’s fun at any convention, but even more so at the Fan Expo Denver. The con runs a Costume Celebration that takes place over two events. These are The Costume & Cosplay Showcase and The Kids’ Extravaganza.
Whether you’re dressed as your favorite character from a movie, TV show, comic book, or video game, cosplay is always encouraged at the Fan Expo Denver!
All attendees must comply with all Federal, State, and local laws and regulations regarding weapons, imitation weapons and props, as well as their usage. While travelling to and from the event, make sure any weapons or props are stored in a bag or storage container.
Easy Fan Expo Denver costume ideas
Batman and Robin: A classic, recognisable duo if you’re attending the con with a friend or partner, Batman and Robin costumes are readily available at any Target or Wal-Mart.
Joker: If you don’t want to dress up as the dark knight, why not go as one of his nemeses? The Joker always goes down a treat, with many variations of the iconic character to draw inspiration from.
Wolverine: With inexpensive Wolverine claws available online and in stores, just add blue jeans, a white tee, and a leather jacket and you’ve got your Wolverine cosplay.
Groot: Perhaps the most lovable Guardian of the Galaxy, just use old cardboard boxes and break them into tree-like pieces for an effective Groot cosplay.
Game of Thrones: People throwing IKEA rugs over their shoulders to create a simple yet effective GoT cosplay is inspired.
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad): Head to Home Depot for a yellow rain suit and some safety goggles. All you need to complete the look is some blue crystal rock candy.
Dwight Schrute (The Office): We know identity theft is not a joke, but seeing as Dwight appreciates cosplay we’re sure he wouldn’t mind you cosplaying as him. As Jim proved, his outfit is easy to pull together with cheap glasses, and a mustard shirt.
South Park: Let’s turn to the world of cartoons for some inspiration! And who better to start with than some native Coloradans? Costumes for Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are easy to find online, just make sure you have room for their hats and mittens in your backpack if it gets a little toasty at the convention center!
Rick and Morty: While Rick’s washed out grey pallor may require some body paint, just don a mad scientist wig and a lab coat and you’ve got a pretty convincing Rick cosplay! For Morty, it couldn’t be any easier. All you need is a baggy yellow t-shirt, blue jeans, and some white sneakers.
Bob’s Burgers: The Belcher kids’ look is easy to achieve at home. For Tina, you just need a light blue tee, dark blue skirt, high socks with black high tops and her signature thick-rimmed glasses and yellow clip in her hair. Meanwhile, for Louise you just need a green t-shirt dress, a pink bunny hat, and black flats.
Can you go to Fan Expo Denver without a costume?
Of course! Not every attendee participates in cosplay, and if it’s your first time at the con, it may be best to go for comfort over cosplay.
Besides, you can always show your love for your favorite comic book, movie, TV show, or video game with a t-shirt, hoodie, or backpack.
What to do when nobody gets your cosplay
We wouldn’t worry about this too much.
Somebody at the con is bound to be into the same obscure stuff that you are, and geeking out with that particular someone may lead to making a new friend!
Or conversely, your unique cosplay may strike up a few conversations with people who are unsure what you’re dressed as and want to know more.
Guide to Fan Expo Denver lines and crowds
Fan Expo Denver is a fantastic convention for all ages, with kid friendly events like the Costume Celebration’s Kids’ Extravaganza, and Pop Culture Classroom’s Kids’ Lab.
However, cons can be quite a busy and overwhelming experience for kids, who may tire more easily than adults while waiting in line and walking around.
Saturday is normally the con’s busiest day, so for a more chilled experience with shorter lines, we recommend visiting on Friday or Sunday.
Other tips for a better experience while waiting in line is to go to the bathroom before you join the line, but have a bottle of water and snacks on hand to keep your energy up during the long wait.
Also, unless you have a friend with you to keep you company, download some apps like Heads Up that will keep you entertained and distracted.
Getting your comics signed
There are plenty of opportunities to get your comics – or any piece of merchandise – signed by your favorite creators at Fan Expo Denver!
Celebrity Summit is the place to meet actors from your favorite sci-fi and fantasy movies, television shows, and animated series. You can even have professional photos taken with them, thanks to Epic Photo Ops.
These always go quickly though, so when you purchase tickets make sure to nab a photo op too!
Meanwhile, at Artist Valley you can meet over 400 artists and writers, from comic book creators, to fine artists and craftspeople. There will not only be plenty of opportunities to get your comic books signed, but to purchase beautiful art and prints too.
If you’re a fan of written work, there’s also Author Alley to peruse where you can meet some of the biggest names in fantasy, sci-fi, and YA literature.
How much money do you need?
$200 is usually a good amount to bring to a convention, and most vendors prefer you to pay in cash as it means they can avoid credit card fees.
If you have a three day pass and are concerned about losing your money, it’s best to bring the majority of your money with you on the day you plan to spend the most time at Merchant Mesa.
Don’t forget to bargain
When it comes to buying comic books at cons, it’s quite common to haggle with the sellers. If this is something you are interested in (and who doesn’t love getting a good deal?) then below you’ll find our top tips.
Do your homework: It may seem obvious, but knowing how much your comic books are worth is crucial when it comes to bargaining with sellers.
Be friendly: Dealing with a rude seller is an unpleasant experience, but being rude and brash with a seller isn’t going to get you anywhere either. While it is a business transaction, asking the seller how their day is going and being pleasant and affable with them will make them more likely to cut a deal with you.
Walk away: No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just aren’t going to get a deal. The seller may be tight with their prices, or just not interested in haggling with you.
Before you waste your energy on an uninterested seller, observe how they interact with other customers before you approach them.
Other tips for Fan Expo-goers
Don’t pick up every freebie you see: We understand the temptation, we all love a freebie. But remember you have to lug your freebies around with you all day, as well as essential items and merch you’ve paid for.
Respect cosplayers: While most cosplayers love people noticing their outfits and asking questions, you should always respect their boundaries and personal space.
Plus, many costumes are expensive and take a lot of time to put together and make. The last thing you want to do is accidentally damage it.
Luckily, there are plenty of hotels that are a short walk to the Colorado Convention Center.
Grand Hyatt Denver: This 4.5 star hotel is just a 7 minute walk to the convention center.
AC Hotel by Marriott: This hotel is 3.5 stars and is just a 2 minute walk to the convention.
Holiday Inn Express Denver: This 3 star hotel is a 9 minute walk to the convention center.
Car rental nearby
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Rent clean, sanitizes vehicles easily from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Denver.
Drives at Mile High: If you’re in town for a few days and want to explore more of Colorado, you can do so in a luxury sports car with Drives at Mile High!
Parking at the event
The Colorado Convention Center parking lot has 1,000 spaces on three levels (two of them covered). You can easily access the convention center from these levels, and the parking lot has a self-service paying system.
Plus, if you’re travelling to the convention via light rail, the Stout Street entrance has its own Light Rail station. Furthermore, the light rail also connects downtown Denver to the Denver Tech Center hotels.
Public transport to the event
Located at 700 14th Street and sitting just south of the A Line stop for RTD’s Light Rail, the Colorado Convention Center is also accessible by bus and is walking distance to downtown and the 16th Street Mall.
You can use the free Mall Ride bus to travel the length of the central business district (from the Capitol to Union Station). You can plan your trip here and customize your trip with times and interactive maps.