Family Guide: 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 March 21-April 2. 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. 

Quick details about C2E2

Photo credit: C2E2

  • Cost: 3-day passes begin at $108 for adults. Kids 3-day passes are $31.
  • 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 $11-38, 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. 
    • 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. 
    • Attend a Pokemon Go meetup on Friday to meet other virtual trainers and show off your powerful pokemon. 
    • Learn how to use the Force and wield a lightsaber at this kid-appropriate Fake Fighting for Real People panel on Saturday. 
    • 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. 
  • New to C2E2 this year are Pop-Up Escape Rooms. More details will be announced closer to the convention. 

Tips for families:

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. 

What 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 an 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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