Adventure Awaits for Families at C2E2

Here’s how to navigate the largest pop culture convention in the Midwest with kids.

The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo known as C2E2 returns to McCormick Place April 26-28, 2024. The massive pop culture convention proudly boasts itself as “the biggest geek party in the Midwest,” perfect for any fan who wants to “geek out with other nerdy Chicagoans.”

The three-day convention has panels featuring special celebrity guests, exhibitors and brands, and artists and creators that cater to all things comics, cosplay, anime, video games, pop culture movies, TV shows, books and more! 

Whether your family is new to the comic-con world or they’re veteran pop culture fanatics, cosplay enthusiasts or Star Wars nerds, we have some super tips for navigating C2E2 with kids. 

This article was recently updated on April 23, 2024 by Chicago Parent’s Assistant Editor, Nikki Roberts. The update included her research and fact-checking expertise to provide the latest information on things for families to do at C2E2, aligning with Chicago Parent’s mission to provide the top parenting resources for local families. Questions? Please reach out to nikki@chicagoparent.com.

Quick details about C2E2

Photo credit: C2E2

  • Cost: Day passes begin at $55 for adults. Kids 3-day passes are $30.
  • Getting there: Several CTA buses, including the 3 and 21, have stops near McCormick Place. C2E2 is accessible by the Cermak-Chinatown red line, Cermak-McCormick green line and McCormick Place Metra and South Shore train stations. 
  • Parking: There is on-site parking available from $25-$38, depending on the day, time and lot. 

Kid-friendly activities at C2E2

Photo credit: C2E2

  • Family HQ is your headquarters for tons of kid-friendly activities. Here are some great family events happening this year:
    • Conventions can be stressful for anyone, and that’s especially true for kids! Relax at a storytime hosted by some of your child’s favorite superheroes and princesses.
    • Make DIY fairy wands, work with clay and more at a craft & drawing workshop at Family HQ. 
    • Learn how to anime and Star Wars characters at a drawing workshop.
    • Play at the Free Play Area, a place where kids can be kids. Mingle with other young comic fans while playing with sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, jump ropes, giant Connect 4 and more. 
    • Learn how to use the Force and wield a lightsaber at the Force Academy. 
    • Play family bingo and win awesome prizes!
    • Show off your costume in the C2E2 Kids Costume Showcase & Parade on Sunday. 
  • Pick up a C2E2 Adventurer’s Guide at Family HQ to find more family-friendly events happening across the entire convention. 
  • Stop by Cosplay Central to learn more about creating character costumes. In need of a quick touch-up? There’s a cosplay repair and changing station for all your costume needs. 
  • Play video games, board games and card games, or teach your kids about your favorite retro arcade games in the Gaming Zone. 

Tips for attending C2E2 with kids

Photo credit: C2E2

  • Coat check service will be available for superheroes who need to check their capes (or for families that are bundled up against the unpredictable Chicago temps.)
  • Oversized/double-wide strollers are not allowed. Regular strollers are fine, though, so strap in your little cosplayers; there’s a lot to see! 
  • There are all-gender restrooms, a mother’s room and a family room with tables and chairs. 
  • Cosplay Changing Rooms are available for guests who’d prefer to change into their costumes on-site. 
  • A Quiet Room for guests who need a quiet moment away from the Show Room will be available. Strict volume levels will be enforced. 

Other things to do nearby

  • Not far from McCormick Place, Chicago’s Chinatown offers delicious food, beautiful artwork, cute shops and unique cultural experiences. Grab a bite to eat at Joy Yee or Kong Dog for kid-friendly cuisine, or dine at Original Triple Crown Restaurant for a more authentic experience. Try rolled ice cream at Legend Tasty House or pick out a pastry at Saint Anna Bakery or Tous Les Jours for dessert.
  • If your child is a fan of anime or manga, there are plenty of Japanese and Korean import shops in nearby Chinatown that sell apparel, accessories and trinkets featuring characters from popular animated series, books and video games.
  • McCormick Place is just a train ride away from Chicago’s downtown. Introduce your little explorer to Chicago landmarks by visiting the Art Institute, the Bean, Millennium Park or the Willis Tower.

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.

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