Posted by gblog On October - 21 - 2013

Shaking hands with a favorite comic book artist, getting a hands on demo of an upcoming blockbuster game, playing in the final round of a strategic card game tournament, taking pictures with the hottest superheroes, and listening to the creators of epic sci-fi/fantasy films describe how they brought dreams to life are just some of the reasons gamers, geeks, nerds and fans attend conventions. Outside of the arenas, auditoriums, and hotels hosting these fantastic events lay entire cities with a vast array of time wasting, entertainment packed activities to take part in. When saving up to head off to a convention, con enthusiasts should consider what else the city offers to enhance the entire convention experience.

Orlando, FL provides a setting filled with delightful distractions for those who manage to pull themselves away from the activities within assembly. The most popular of these are the theme parks—The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and Islands of Adventure just to name a few.

Aside from the major theme parks in the area Orlando also offers some amazing cuisine. Thanks to being a tourist hot spot every type of food from any culture can be located within the confines of the city. The best part is most of them are offered buffet style, and usually less than $20. If the convention-goer wants to experience five star gourmet meals for the price of a local diner they can stop in at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school restaurant. Graduating students prepare the meals, providing great eats at cheap prices for customers.

Being the central hub of tourist activity in Florida also means that visitors can find almost any activity to suit them. Whether it is gaming in mega-arcades, driving laps in a Nascar stock car, being blown away by the illusions at Wonder Works Museum (it’s the upside down building), watching Cirque du Soleil, or getting up close and personal with an alligator at Gatorland this city will keep visitors entertained after the convention ends.

Of course, it is not necessary to attend conventions in a place like Orlando or Los Angeles—which is a more glorified and expensive Orlando—in order to sightsee an interesting city during a convention. There are smaller cities that host gaming tournaments and fan cons while delivering their own unique flavors of tourist attractions.

For instance, Chattanooga, TN hosts Chattacon annually, and allows attendees to get a taste of the relaxed southern style atmosphere the city exudes. Although the Chattanooga area has grown immensely in recent years, due to businesses such as Amazon and Volkswagen, it still has that great old-time feel to it.

Visitors can take time to explore the amazing architecture of the downtown area along the Chattanooga River, take in some great American history at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, or even visit what may be the best aquarium in America—The Tennessee Aquarium. A small city does not always mean a dull city.

When planning their next convention adventure, the wise traveler will take a little time to research the hosting city. It may turn out that the best part of the trip wasn’t that candid photo they took with a costumed vixen, but instead a slice of homemade apple pie, topped with hand churned ice cream, served in a little diner down the road from the convention.

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Jason Dempsey is an avid gamer and has a strong passion in the Elder Scrolls series. He has created the website called ESO Level Guide. As a father of four he has learned how to make the most out of convention trips.

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Categories: USA

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