Being a Boston native, I’ll cut the crap about where to go, what to do for fun, and stick to what matters, Surviving the show floor.
Let me kick things off by saying that I’m truly privileged for living in Boston where PAX East occurs. As a matter of fact, In 2010, during its first year, they were at the Hynes Convention Center, a location I’ve only associated with Anime Boston. Parking is atrocious as its its Boston’s Copley area which near Downtown, and there is constant movement all around. I figured this will cause issues for many people. Luckily the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) or public transportation for those unfamiliar runs all through out and the need for a taxi wouldn’t really be required.
The following year, it was in its current home, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). A place a bit further from Downtown, still close, but located in the South Boston area, surrounded by hotels, ample parking, it was a wise choice to make the move. Everything is close, from MBTA, cabs, hotels literally across the street and even connected to the convention center it self!
As for any convention, proper footwear is a must. You’ll be doing a ton of walking and will need to make sure you’re comfortable.
Bring a backpack You’ll be getting tons of freebies from t-shirts to other bags, swag bags with goodies, candy, hats, posters, and a ton of other things. This will get annoying to carry so I highly suggest a roomy bag for it, and comfortable also, remember…your the one carrying it all day!
Layers Just because its technically spring over here, does not mean its not cold. For those of you traveling here from outside, the weather here is insane, and I wouldn’t be surprised if snow appears, Welcome to Boston! Honestly, I doubt it will snow, but you can never be too sure. The convention has a coat check which is worth it. Once inside, the body heat of 79,999 other people will likely keep you warm.
Games Be sure to bring a deck of cards, or any small game you can play while waiting. Even a handheld would cut it, but remember, finding a charging source will be difficult at the center, you’re not the only one struggling for power, there are others out there who need to charge their goods as well.
Power! I would highly suggest a Portable USB Battery Pack. I brought mine with me last year, and it worked wonders with my cell, and other electronics.
Attitude Be friendly, everyone there is there to have a good time, make new friends, you’ll at all times be surrounded by several thousands of people who are just as passionate about gaming and nerdy things as you are. When else will you have the option to converse to someone like that? Never that’s when! When you return to your boring life, and your boss asks you for the spreadsheets, you’ll thank me about this one!
Be sure to stay hydrated! Bring a bottle, fill it up at the water bubbler! Save on that as water will likely run you about $5 at the center.
The most important, and EVERYONE should do this. Go to your local pharmacy, get a small hand sanitizer bottle, hook it to your bag, and constantly use it. There is nothing worse than paying to go to a con, touching everything, meeting new people, shaking hands, and then getting sick. Remember, that machine you just touched has been touched by thousands of others and you don’t want to catch something.
Guidebook – A must have! This will be your guide through everything, scheduling Panels, and looking for specific booths. Set a reminder for panels you want to visit and be sure to line up early!
The official PAX twitter accounts are great, specifically @pax_lines which let you know the ETA about all of the panels and how full they might be at any given time. The majority of the Main Theater panels fill up, that being said, keep an eye out on this if you are busy elsewhere to know if you’ll even make it into a panel.
@Official_PAX is great for general information and help.
@PAX_Tourney if you are planning on entering any tournaments.
There are a few others but I believe these are the most important to guide you.
Lastly, for twitter if you know of certain people who will be around and you would want to meet, set up a List with those users. Sure its a little stalkerish but realistically this could be the one and only time you will have to meet them.
Like I mentioned above, have fun! There are many parties going around the area. Most of them will be in Downtown Boston, which is honestly just a 15-20 minute walk away. Take a cab, walk, and just enjoy yourself, and maybe you’ll go to a party with awesome photo-ops.