Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

moosesamurai

First time going to Otakon, and have a few small questions about the area

50 posts in this topic

Hello :D

My girlfriend and I are from Massachusetts, and for the past few years have been going to Anime Boston. We LOVE that con, but felt this year we should branch out and experience a new con, so we got passes, booked a flight and hotel and are excited for Otakon :)

But, neither of us have ever been to Baltimore, let alone the area around the convention center. We are staying at the Sheraton City Center hotel, and have heard very positive things about it. My question for those who know the area or are familiar with going to Otakon is kinda simple;

What sort of food shops/restaurants are accessible in the area, how is the walk/travel from the Sheraton to the convention center (and is there public transportation near), and lastly, what are some good and decent bars that we could unwind at for the night?

I know these are noobish questions, but I have tried looking at Google Maps in terms of distance and proximity, and have tried "city guides", but they only seem to focus on the areas around the sporting arenas. Also, sorry if this is posted in the wrong forum, but it seemed the most appropriate D: )

Thank you in advance for the help - I am looking forward to the weekend and seeing what Baltimore has in store :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome biggrin.png

You won't have a problem finding food and bars. The con guide will have a detailed listing of everything in a 10 mile radius. Plus the con center is connected by a sky bridge to the Inner Harbor Mall. There's also a lot of past threads on here about food and what's the best deal so I would start by looking through the previous years topics some more.

I personally like the breakfast at California Tortilla that's right across the street. They added breakfast to their menu specifically for us and its filling and delicious. There's also a convenience store in the Bank of America building that's also across the street that sells pocky and ramune that no one seems to know about since they are well stocked for the whole weekend. Then there's the popular Edo Sushi in the inner harbor, which has mixed opinions but I went there Thursday night last year for happy hour and loved it.

There's also no excuse for you to get thirsty since there's plenty of ice cold water ... you'll see what I mean happy.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well for starters, you're only about half a mile from the BCC, so as long as you don't have mobility issues, you're at a fairly walkable distance. Just keep your street smarts in mind when walking at night. You shouldn't need public transit for getting to the BCC, but a taxi late at night might be something to consider.

As far as places to eat, there are quite a few, particularly Harbor Place in the Inner Harbor just a bit east of the BCC. It will be extremely crowded, so I would suggest getting a bit further out so you might enjoy your eating destinations a bit more. A bit further east from the Inner Harbor are both Little Italy and Harbor East, pricey, but some nice places to check out. If you go even further, there are some places in Fells Point, and Canton worth looking into. Federal Hill is a good destination for bars and restaurants. Mt. Vernon up north has a ton of options. One of the better places up there to check out is Brewer's Art for fancy food and drinks, just watch out for the Hipsters.

My personal favorites are Joe Squared and Sofi's Crepes in Station North, Kyro in Mt. Vernon, and Paper Moon Diner in Charles Village.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you with certainty you don't need to worry about not finding whatever you want to eat. Ever heard of the manga/anime Toriko? The Inner Harbor area is kind of like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put friends up at the Sheraton, check out the thread "hotels to avoid" for commentary. Not much I can say that hasn't been covered: Baltimore's Coonvention Center has a good location, with plenty of options in the inner harbor that are easy to find. shouldn't be any problems navigating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are absolutely tons of places you can get food around the convention center and the Sheraton. My fiance and I are from the Boston area and we've been to Otakon the past two years and loved it both times. I hope you enjoy it too! Oh, be prepared for heat and humidity too. Boston can get kind of bad, but it usually doesn't compare to Baltimore, especially around Otakon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get hot and want ice cream I found a rita's in the harbor next to the big battleship by accident last year. This will be my second time going. Also there is a mall across the harbor that has a Dollar store for anything you forgot to bring and i mean anything. Also mcdonalds and chinese eating up stairs I forget what else was up there too. There is also a Bar directly across the street from the convention center where congoers go to hang out. Califonia Tortilla is rightthere too They have a great menu for any time of day and extended hours for otakon. The Bank of america building also has a buffet style eating upstairs. They charge by weight of food in the containers. But also if your a congoer and have your pass in veiw they give a discount. Down stais is a blimpes (kind of like a subway) and place to get pizza there as well. Another thing bring cash the ATMs Will and always do run out of cash!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your replies! Sounds like any fears I have were for naught, and that my girlfriend and I will be well-off come convention time! Thanks for the tip on the cash- I typically always bring a good chunk in cash and have reserves on debit/credit, but would never have realized a con of this magnitude would essentially wipe ATMs in the vicinity.

I do have another quick question - we are arriving in the city and checking into the hotel on the Thursday before the con, and was wondering if Otakon has an "early badge pickup" on that Thursday? AnimeBoston does this so come Friday, we can simply walk into the center and get on with our day instead of waiting inline and missing that chunk of Friday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your replies! Sounds like any fears I have were for naught, and that my girlfriend and I will be well-off come convention time! Thanks for the tip on the cash- I typically always bring a good chunk in cash and have reserves on debit/credit, but would never have realized a con of this magnitude would essentially wipe ATMs in the vicinity.

I do have another quick question - we are arriving in the city and checking into the hotel on the Thursday before the con, and was wondering if Otakon has an "early badge pickup" on that Thursday? AnimeBoston does this so come Friday, we can simply walk into the center and get on with our day instead of waiting inline and missing that chunk of Friday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is Thursday pickup and it goes by verrrry quickly. Despite that, some fools like to line up during the day on Wednesday and stay outside over night. Haven't figured out why though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The line-hobos line up Wednesday night for internet bragging rights... and to see who can get there first.

As someone who works in the city, I make a point to pass through on Wednesday evening to check in on those kids, and I can tell you it's really not about that. Up until about 2-3 years ago, it was just one guy who (IIRC) was former military, and did it with the intention of being there first, to ensure that the rest of the early birds would be safe and (to a degree) supervised. He stopped being able to do it, but others took it up for somewhat different reasons. It's usually not the same people from what I remember, but it's usually a small group or two that just want to kick things off early, and socialize, because "it's something to do".

But yeah, you really don't have to show up on Wednesday night. Just arrive at a reasonable time on Thursday. It could be 8am if you feel it's necessary, anything is better than spending the night in front of the BCC. You don't need to do that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice: show up around 730 or 8pm on thursday. The line will be basically gone, and you'll zip through like a boss. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay allot of great info so far but since no one has touch on public transportation I will, The public bus do run infront of the BCCC and to where your staying the price for the bus is $1.60 but they are't as good as the busses in Boston also there is the Charm City Bus which is a Free Bus the Orange Line runs right infront of the BCCC and goes by your hotel. My understanding is come Otakon the Orange Line will be running extended hours along with the Purple Line.

Since your from Boston the easist way to describ the location of Otakon would be comparing it to Copley Square and Pratt Street the location of the BCCC can be compared to Boyston.

Also as someone has said the Heat is far different then Boston think of mid August in Boston on the Green when the air hangs heavy now triple that feeling,one thing you will hear all of us keep saying to first time Otakon folks drink plenty of fluids Gataraid and Water are your friends. Also since this your first Otakon you must get a bottle of "ICE COLD WATER" from the Man himself you will understand when you arrive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noodles and Company.

That's all I have to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noodles and Company.

That's all I have to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay allot of great info so far but since no one has touch on public transportation I will, The public bus do run infront of the BCCC and to where your staying

Both the 3 and the 11 run from the Sheraton City Center hotel to the BCC. Going in reverse is not as convenient, but the 3 does run from the BCC to fairly close to the Sheratorn City Center hotel. The Light Rail and the Circulator would shave a few blocks worth of walking, but ultimately the issue is that it's close enough that public transit is a waste of effort. The Sheraton City Center hotel is less than half a mile from the BCC, which is about an 8 minute walk, which is almost as long as you could spend waiting for a bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noodles and Company.

That's all I have to say.

This.

(also Jimmy John's.)

(also also someone needs to find out what's new in the area since LAST Otakon. Prolly not much, lol...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, thank you so much for all the help, tips and suggestions! I have noted and marked all your suggestions on food, intercity travel and other :D

Now, to start saving up for the dealers hall so I can drag lots of goodies back to Boston with me :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While at Otakon I live off Subway (across the street) and otaku energy smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, thank you so much for all the help, tips and suggestions! I have noted and marked all your suggestions on food, intercity travel and other biggrin.png

Now, to start saving up for the dealers hall so I can drag lots of goodies back to Boston with me biggrin.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, thank you so much for all the help, tips and suggestions! I have noted and marked all your suggestions on food, intercity travel and other biggrin.png

Now, to start saving up for the dealers hall so I can drag lots of goodies back to Boston with me biggrin.png

Keep in mind that otakon's dealers room is the size of most small conventions. you could fit a couple of airplanes in there. every friday morning there's this unnecessary dealers room line that thousands of people stand in, and I never understood why. Im pointing this out because you dont need to stand in this line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's one reason that I would stand in line. Last year I went later in the day after it was open for maybe an hour and I was looking for a particular figure for my brother. It had already sold out since it was rare and less expensive than buying elsewhere. Otherwise, if you're just browsing, there's absolutely no reason to wait in line. And shop around. Chances are there are multiple booths selling something you want at competing prices. Unless it's Sunday. You might get a deal since it's the last day, but you might have to pay more if it's the last one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing about the Dealers' line is that once upon a time, a long long time ago, the internet was a scary place to buy things, and the dealers used to have rare deals that you couldn't find anywhere.

...not that I'm bitter about missing out on that plushie I wanted by a mere ten minutes. Ten years ago. (cough)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am from the Boston area and this will be my 9th straight year! (and perhaps I will see you at Anime Boston)There are a ton of restaurants nearby the convention but the grab and go ones usually get swarmed. Over the last few years my friends and I have made it a point of actually going a little further out and having a nice sit-down meal somewhere. We do love the bars across the street from the BBC. I would also like to point out the pizza place in the Bank of America building. We always have at least one dinnner there. Last year they were pretty deserted for some reason. No love for the pizza place. We talked to the owner and even she was a little disheartened about the dip in the crowd coming though. So just wanted to point it out. There are also some pretty decent little hole in the wall restaurants on the side streets closer to your hotel. There's a decent chinese restaurant close to the Sheraton. Also check out the hotel restaurant they usually have pretty good happy hour specials.

We also generally stop on our way though Delaware to pick up one of our friends and to go to the Acme (grocery store) and the liquor store as its cheaper. Its good to have some emergency snacks and granola bars in the morning (and bottles of water) Although you can always get Da Ice Cold Water from a variety of sellers around the convention center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that otakon's dealers room is the size of most small conventions. you could fit a couple of airplanes in there. every friday morning there's this unnecessary dealers room line that thousands of people stand in, and I never understood why. Im pointing this out because you dont need to stand in this line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, Alabaster is right about prereg pickup. We never do this "wasting our day in a line" thing. We drive in from Michigan on Thursday, arrive around 4 or 5, go to our hotel and check in (and relax a bit after the long drive), then grab our badges on the way to getting some dinner. And the most "waiting" I've done the last two years was maybe about 5 minutes or so. Otakon has practically mastered handling prereg pickup, it is by far the best I've seen it handled.

As for food places, I don't know what they have in your area, but if you're a fan of burgers and fries, there's a Five Guys in the Inner Harbor. I enjoy Five Guys, and they do not skimp on the fries.

The Dealer's Room is bigger than some conventions I've been to. Sadly I've never been to Otakon while employed, so I've never had the money to spend on it. This year that should be different. But if you're with a group, I suggest planning a place and time to meet up if you get separated, because you very possibly will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that otakon's dealers room is the size of most small conventions. you could fit a couple of airplanes in there. every friday morning there's this unnecessary dealers room line that thousands of people stand in, and I never understood why. Im pointing this out because you dont need to stand in this line.

My first year at Anime Boston, I went NUTS in the dealers room and blew through almost all my cash in a matter of 20 minutes. I can coming prepared to otakon, and will be bringing an extra large suitcase for my swag! The thing that will kill me will be statues, especially if I find all the Tony Taka ones I need D:

Your description is making me so anxious for the con, now biggrin.png

@Zairelyn: Perhaps we will bump into each other, then! I will definitely check out the pizza place - pizza is always a necessity during con time for me! (Unless there is a Qdoba or Chipotle close, then all my money will go there tongue.png )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that otakon's dealers room is the size of most small conventions. you could fit a couple of airplanes in there. every friday morning there's this unnecessary dealers room line that thousands of people stand in, and I never understood why. Im pointing this out because you dont need to stand in this line.

My first year at Anime Boston, I went NUTS in the dealers room and blew through almost all my cash in a matter of 20 minutes. I can coming prepared to otakon, and will be bringing an extra large suitcase for my swag! The thing that will kill me will be statues, especially if I find all the Tony Taka ones I need D:

Your description is making me so anxious for the con, now biggrin.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another item that hasn't been discuss not sure if your cosplaying or not and if your looking to either do group shoots or be part of a gathering check out coscom Otakon thread folks are already starting to set in stone shoots and locations. Otakon usually has some of the largest group get together shoots anywhere in the USA.

Also one other item I would like to point out is pace your body take time to rest and enjoy what is going on take in a panel or a movie this gives your feet a chance to rest the BCCC is 3 blocks long and that doesn't include the Hilton panel area.

And the bottom line make your first Otakon fun do't try to do everything all at once pick the items you really want to do and see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree on the prices can rise. I know 2 years ago when the Gurren Lagann boxes went from starting at 5 dollars on friday all the way up to 12 dollars on Sunday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree on the prices can rise. I know 2 years ago when the Gurren Lagann boxes went from starting at 5 dollars on friday all the way up to 12 dollars on Sunday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years ago(i've been to every otakon) in the dealer's room I saw a Yoko Littner figure I was looking for. As I was reaching for my prize, someone called my name. I turned around to see who it was, and said "I'll be with you in a minute!" when i turned back, the figure was gone, and I couldn't find another the whole con. I had to settle for a smaller, less expensive vwersion. Lession learned- grab item first-then answer. And welcome to Otakon! . A few suggertions. Organize- check what you really want to attend, and leave time for just roaming. Keep hydrated. If needed, buy shoes a week in advance to break them in.But most important: Have fun. I work registration(Old Cat -Ear Dude) See you there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I know how that feeling is. I lost a ton of good swag due to seeing friends at Anime Boston (mainly Revoltech and Figmas). I plan on pouring over the schedule well in advance and tracking where and when I need to go, and to leave plenty of time for scouring the dealers room for the best stuff.

I am mainly out looking for statues and small odds and ends, but what I really am after are the used video game sellers. I don't care if they are import or domestic sellers, but from experience how has this market been represented in the dealers room? I am an avid retro game collector, and would be quite happy if there were a few booths selling older games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope I'm not crashing the thread, but the Royal Farms store (that was supposed to be opened ahead of the last Otakon), is finally OPEN! It's located on the corner of Light & Lombard, which is a few blocks from the Convention Center. They're known for their famous, delicious chicken, and their breakfast is pretty good as well. Just something to consider when ya come down here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am mainly out looking for statues and small odds and ends, but what I really am after are the used video game sellers. I don't care if they are import or domestic sellers, but from experience how has this market been represented in the dealers room? I am an avid retro game collector, and would be quite happy if there were a few booths selling older games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope I'm not crashing the thread, but the Royal Farms store (that was supposed to be opened ahead of the last Otakon), is finally OPEN! It's located on the corner of Light & Lombard, which is a few blocks from the Convention Center. They're known for their famous, delicious chicken, and their breakfast is pretty good as well. Just something to consider when ya come down here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am mainly out looking for statues and small odds and ends, but what I really am after are the used video game sellers. I don't care if they are import or domestic sellers, but from experience how has this market been represented in the dealers room? I am an avid retro game collector, and would be quite happy if there were a few booths selling older games.

There's one booth I remember in particular that is full of retro gaming stuff. They even have a virtual boy if you want to pay to have your eyes explode. Their crap is ridiculously expensive though. $60 PS1 games? LOL OK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am mainly out looking for statues and small odds and ends, but what I really am after are the used video game sellers. I don't care if they are import or domestic sellers, but from experience how has this market been represented in the dealers room? I am an avid retro game collector, and would be quite happy if there were a few booths selling older games.

There's one booth I remember in particular that is full of retro gaming stuff. They even have a virtual boy if you want to pay to have your eyes explode. Their crap is ridiculously expensive though. $60 PS1 games? LOL OK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost everything I would have covered here was touched upon but I did want to add some things that I didn't see mentioned. Pratt St Ale House is a fantastic place for beer and food (and it is right across the street from the BCC). They have great Happy Hour deals too and we usually meet up with a larger group of friends on Thursday and have our own little pre con party! Fells Point is great too. Brick Oven Pizza (or BOP as the locals call it) is in Fells Point and they are a good place for pizza and wings. Chap's Pit Beef is a great place too but is is definitely off the beaten path... definitely worth it though! Broadway Diner is a 24 hour diner with some of the best damn diner food I have ever had and I travel alot!!!!! This will be the second year I work in the dealers room and I would also like to offer some advice on that mammoth of a room/experience. While I agree with most people on here about not necessarily having to get there right when it opens I will say that if you are looking for something that would be considered rare or hot/popular, chances are that it will go pretty fast. Another thing I will say is that I have been going to various cons for quite some years now and and of all genres and types and the biggest difference I would like to point out here is that every other con usually has this trend of blowing things out on the last day. Well Otakon is a different creature altogether. What I have noticed, without fail, for the 8 years I have attended Otakon (the last of which was spent as a dealer in the Dealer's Room) is that this room does quite the opposite. Almost without fail what you saw on day one and thought about purchasing but inevitably talked yourself out of will be gone or more expensive on Sunday... especially if it is an item that is enjoying some popularity. Don't get me wrong, the standard fare and common stuff may see a price drop but don't wait to pick up something popular because chances are you will regret it. Know what you want and what you are willing to pay for it and just make the deal and get it over with as soon as possible. I learned this hard lesson my very first Ota when I thought my con experience that I had obtained from going to several other cons over the years would pay me off and serve me well only to have it all backfire and me not end up with the one thing I really wanted and refused to buy on the first day thinking I was doing myself some big favor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That or you have been told the secret of Otakon where the first 1000 people inside get to play D&D with Nobuo Uematsu and Steve Blum.

shhhh

That's SILLY.

We play Pathfinder. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That or you have been told the secret of Otakon where the first 1000 people inside get to play D&D with Nobuo Uematsu and Steve Blum.

shhhh

That's SILLY.

We play Pathfinder. smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That or you have been told the secret of Otakon where the first 1000 people inside get to play D&D with Nobuo Uematsu and Steve Blum.

shhhh

That's SILLY.

We play Pathfinder. smile.png

And for tiebreakers, everyone breaks out Ani-Mayhem decks. wink.png

Oh dude, I just FOUND my old cards. I have more of them than I thought. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first Otakon I got there early Thursday and waited in the pre-reg for hours outside in the heat.

I asked on this very forum why they didn't let us wait inside with the AC.

They answered, "why did you wait in line at all instead of just showing up a few hours later?"

To which I replied . . .?

Since then we've still waited in line from time to time. It's not just something to do, it's a way to get Otakon started even a few hours earlier, even if it's just standing in line.

Now, with the Mitsuri, there's no reason to line up early for prereg at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I used to stay in the Sharaton City Center when I first went to Otakon (if not that...it was one of the other hotels that are on that same street)

and the most fun/interesting thing I found from staying on that street is there is a certain nice pathway you can take from there all the way to the con that keeps you away from vehicle traffic minus one street-crossing at the beginning.

If I recall correctly...there's a park you can walk through behind one of the buildings and then there is a small stairway (first-timers most likely will miss it unless you go through the "park") that leads up to a walkway that goes into the building where I believe the Bank of America is sitting in....and from that building there's another walkway that goes right to the upper level of the convention center.

Sorry...it's a little hard for me to describe unless I'm standing on the street and point it out to you. And I'm sure con goers who tend to stay that far out know about that path too but way back then I never really saw that many people use that "path"....

so thought I'd mention it *shrug*

*Cough* otherwise....I think everyone else has probably already mentioned the "important/useful" stuff...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I used to stay in the Sharaton City Center when I first went to Otakon (if not that...it was one of the other hotels that are on that same street)

and the most fun/interesting thing I found from staying on that street is there is a certain nice pathway you can take from there all the way to the con that keeps you away from vehicle traffic minus one street-crossing at the beginning.

If I recall correctly...there's a park you can walk through behind one of the buildings and then there is a small stairway (first-timers most likely will miss it unless you go through the "park") that leads up to a walkway that goes into the building where I believe the Bank of America is sitting in....and from that building there's another walkway that goes right to the upper level of the convention center.

Sorry...it's a little hard for me to describe unless I'm standing on the street and point it out to you. And I'm sure con goers who tend to stay that far out know about that path too but way back then I never really saw that many people use that "path"....

so thought I'd mention it *shrug*

*Cough* otherwise....I think everyone else has probably already mentioned the "important/useful" stuff...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That or you have been told the secret of Otakon where the first 1000 people inside get to play D&D with Nobuo Uematsu and Steve Blum.

shhhh

That's SILLY.

We play Pathfinder. smile.png

And for tiebreakers, everyone breaks out Ani-Mayhem decks. wink.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

id pre reg but I miss out on most of Friday because i have to work and i have been told i can NOT take off for cons. (ebil mega corporations need geeks to run stuff) They wouldnt even let me take off for ShoreLeave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

id pre reg but I miss out on most of Friday because i have to work and i have been told i can NOT take off for cons. (ebil mega corporations need geeks to run stuff) They wouldnt even let me take off for ShoreLeave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I plan on hitting B'More f'incredibly(as in almost 5am actual) early Pre-Reg Thursday, but I figure I'll be hitting the BCC area around 7-8amish.

I figure that after I drop my bags off at the hotel, I have at least four hours to kill until I have anything planned, so I'll get in line. For a little while, anyway. lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noodles and Company.

That's all I have to say.

This.

(also Jimmy John's.)

(also also someone needs to find out what's new in the area since LAST Otakon. Prolly not much, lol...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites