Emerald City Comic Con returned to its usual time of year in March 2023. While fans were excited to have the show in March, many were skeptical about the convention’s new venue a few blocks away from the building we were all used to. It felt almost odd knowing that the whole show was going to be conducted in just one building. But as soon as you walk through the doors of the new building, you get a sense of knowing and almost comfort because it just feels like everything in the new layout will make sense. Here are the top five reasons why!
Traditionally held at the previous Seattle Convention Center, ECCC moved to the new Convention Center Summit Building in 2023. Fans were nervous about the change at first, some even saying “I’m going to love it, or I’m going to really hate it.” But the new building proved shockingly effective in every way needed for a convention. ECCC utilized 5 floors of the new building, compared to the 3 floors of the previous building, including the Exhibit Hall, flex hall/lobby, 2 floors of meeting rooms, and an outdoor garden terrace. In the past, the convention needed to use space at the Sheraton Hotel due to the capacity of the event and the lack of ballrooms for large panels and spotlights, as well as space for photo-ops and autographs. We were all okay with it as long as we still got our celebrity fix, but trying to run between buildings to catch panels was a mess! The new Summit building was the solution the convention has needed for years.
Rest Areas and Breathing Room
In addition to the abundance of event space, the new building also provided more areas to hang out and rest than ever before. As soon as you walk into the building, a rest area with comfy chairs and couches, tables, and even restrooms (which were blessedly never cramped). The area was just before the security check, so anyone looking to chill and enjoy their lunch indoors to escape the drizzle could find a spot to plop for a bit. The second area that stood out was the large swath of bench seating that lined the stairs between floors. It was a great place to stop and rest for a few minutes between panels and was also able to seat a large number of guests. One complaint I heard at ECCC was the long wait for any bathroom at the old building. This year, you could always see two restroom areas just from the escalator, not to mention elsewhere around the floors. No more having to worry about missing a celeb encounter due to long bathroom lines!
Panel, Photo-Op, and Autograph Areas
The most annoying thing about the old building was definitely having to bounce between it and the hotel to catch the main stage or get autographs and photo-ops — especially in March when it’s almost guaranteed you’ll see rain. So, it was nice to avoid that this year and just take a few escalators upstairs to get a celebrity photo. Autographs were on the same floor as Artist Alley, so that area was also easy to access. Not having to run to catch a celebrity encounter certainly made the show more enjoyable and with less rainwater dripping off costumes. Debateably the best thing to come out of having this new building!
Artist Alley and Exhibitors Hall Organization
The Exhibitors Hall, located on the bottom floor of the building, felt more organized and cohesive than before. The layout of the vendors was similar to what we’ve seen in the past, but it felt like there was more free space in the walkways; I noticed there were definitely less people getting separated because it was easier to move around other patrons. I was worried the number of vendors attending the convention would be lower than before, but everything felt on par with the past venue and nostalgic as always. We were very impressed with this hall!
Remember the dumpster fire that was us trying to get through the security point that was definitely not made to accomodate that high a volume of con-goers? Waiting out in the cold to get through the line? Security at the Summit building showed me how smoothly security checks can actually be. With at least about 6 metal dectectors to walk through, there was never a line. Seriously. I was at the con all four days and I never saw a line for security. Bag check wasn’t needed unless one of the six metal detectors went off, so the flow of traffic was constant. The new security system is a contender for the best thing about the Summit building!
This year, ECCC outdid itself with organization, including the return to its regular March schedule. The overall experience in the convention center was one of comfort and ease due to the new layout that allowed con-goers some personal space and I believe that kept up everyone’s cheerful spirit through those four days. We’re looking forward to seeing how next year’s Emerald City Comic Con can get even better!