Your welfare and safety is our number one priority during the convention, as we want everyone to have an enjoyable time.  We work very closely with Destination DC and the Metropolitan Police Department, not just during the convention, but all year long planning for Otakon.

How safe is Washington, DC?

Our home, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is located in a well-patrolled tourist area, just north of the National Mall and near many schools.  As with any city, there are always those who will attempt to prey on tourists, and you should use your street smarts.  This includes:

  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.  Look for well-lit streets and areas you feel safe.  Walk in groups.
  • Be careful with your valuables, purses, luggage, IDs, cellphones.  Don't flash your money or flaunt your purchases.  Most hotel rooms have safes.  Do not carry all your cash with you.
  • Avoid looking like a "tourist" or from "out of town" - Remove your convention badge when you're outside the convention center.  Plan your route so you can walk with confidence.
  • Do not accept packages from strangers
  • Avoid street solicitors.  If you feel compelled to give, we recommend donating to any of the many charitable organizations.

Weapons at Otakon

Otakon has a strict weapons policy to ensure your safety and for compliance with local rules and laws.  Our weapons policy is developed in conjunction with the WEWCC and with local law enforcement.

Cosplay is a big part of Otakon, so if you're planning on bringing costume props please make sure you're read and adhear to the Weapons at Otakon section of the General Policies  page.

Unfortunately, we live in a world filled with real dangers, and the last thing anyone needs to worry about is trying to tell whether your gun or sword is real or fake. Public safety is more important than cosplay aesthetics.

Bag Check

Otakon will require bag inspections upon entering the convention space at the Mt. Vernon Place doors of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the M1 level of the Marriott Marquis. We apologize for any inconvenience or disruption this may cause. The bag inspections will be conducted by a third party contractor, and we work with them to streamline the process as much as possible.  There will also be prop inspections at those locations.

The bag inspections will be a quick look for dangerous items such as weapons. You can help by keeping your bag organized and accessible.  They will not be searching for food or drinks (though please remember that the consumption of alcohol at Otakon is discouraged).  A short list of prohibited items can be found on the page under “Weapons at Otakon”. Also, please remember that if it is illegal in DC, it is illegal at Otakon. 

More Information

Useful Numbers

  • Emergency: 911
  • Non-Emergency DC services: 311
  • U.S. Capitol Police: (202) 224-5151
  • U.S. Park Police: (202) 619-7910
  • E-mail or Text Alerts: AlertDC

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