Dragon Con kicks off in Atlanta this weekend.
Photo: Stephen Morton/Getty Images
Photo: Stephen Morton/Getty Images

How to survive Dragon Con 2018

Dragon Con, and all of its many celebrities, panels, screenings and Storm Troopers, is back for its 32nd year.

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The four-day convention draws tens of thousands of people to Atlanta and runs "round the clock" Aug. 30-Sept. 3 at five downtown hotels: the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Westin Peachtree Plaza. 

The ever-growing event is again expanding its scaly footprint into the AmericasMart Buildings which sadly, won’t be renamed DragonsMart.

Last-minute admission — "membership," in convention parlance, as it also confers several discounts and benefits will cost $140. Check this page for onsite registration details closer to opening day.

>> Related: Dragon Con promises a ‘Stranger’ Labor Day

Complete info on memberships is available here. Children ages 6 and under get in free.

Here's what else you need to know if you're attending. (No: You cannot get married at the convention.)

Where to park + stay

Dragon Con has partnered with Spot Hero to sell guaranteed parking passes, including overnight parking. One-day passes start at $7. Remember that MARTA is a great way to get to anywhere in downtown Atlanta, use the Peachtree Center station for Dragon Con. Remember also that MARTA stops running at 1 a.m. Check out Dragon Con’s transportation page for more info including parking.

There are dozens of other options outside Spot Hero. Here's an interactive map of downtown options, including garages and covered and non-covered surface lots.

The convention maintains a list of area hotels with available rooms, including rate information, here.

Spectators fill the parking garages in downtown Atlanta, jockeying for the best view of the annual Dragon Con parade.
Photo: Rick Diamond

What to do

The convention is huge, encompassing programming from many different genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic book, cartoon, etc.), so attendees are best off planning a personalized schedule.

There are many options: Here's a list of featured appearances(including “Stranger Things” middle schoolers Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, Jennifer Morrison aka Emma Swan from “Once Upon A Time,” former Big Bird Carroll Spinney and more) and a list of the 45-plus performers; and here is a list of events, including a late-night puppet slam, late night DJ dances, a burlesque show (geek burlesque), wrestling and of course, the parade.

>> Related: 7 places to people-watch at DragonCon (without a ticket)

Many guests will also host autograph signing sessions.

That's not all: The convention will host gaming events of all kinds (video games, board games, table top games, live-action role-playing gamesand more); workshops covering acting, special effects and makeup, writing and more; and "tracks" (bundled panels, seminars and other events) on topics such as "Star Wars," alternative history, urban fantasy, young adult literature and more. A first for 2018: A diversity track.

Thousand of sci-fi fans are expected to converge on downtown Atlanta this weekend to participate in the annual Dragon Con event.
Photo: Stephen Morton/Getty Images

And then there is the artwork, which attendees can see and own, while exploring the art show and the comics and pop artist alley, which for 2018 features a Monster Mash tribute to classic horror and monster artwork. Think Dracula, Frankenstein all the way through Buffy and lots of classic comic book art. This year the comics and pop art venues will be in the Americas Mart near the Dragon Con Vendor Hall.

>> Related: For first time, Dragon Con offers fan track focusing on diversity

Want to save a photo from the weekend? Here are the details on opportunities for fan photography (you, your costume, your friends) and celebrity photography (you, your costume, a famous person).

Richard Hallman contributed to this report.

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