Comic-Con International ComicCon_PatLoika_1280x642_1
Pat Loika/Flickr

JULY

Comic-Con International

From its humble origins as a fringe gathering of comic book fans in 1970, when barely 100 participants attended, Comic-Con has grown into one of the world’s biggest pop culture extravaganzas. These days it draws more than 135,000 eclectic attendees—gamers, anime devotees, and fantasy fans—to the San Diego Convention Center for four days of workshops, screenings, and previews of upcoming blockbusters.

Comics still play a big role but you can also attend panel discussions featuring top stars and directors who come to promote works and speak to their most devoted fans. Look out for cast members from your favorite sci-fi or fantasy shows—it's possible they may be there promoting their next venture. Apart from what’s presented on stage, there’s a whole other show happening all over the convention center, with attendees dressing up in elaborate costumes mimicking their favorite characters. Didn't get a badge in time? There are still plenty of ways to enjoy the show. Read our guide on How to Hack Comic-Con.