A Star Wars Celebration Chicago Survival Guide For First Timers

Plan ahead, pack a bag, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure.

If you’ve never been to a Star Wars Celebration before, it can seem like an impossibly daunting challenge. Maybe it’s in a strange city, where you’ll be surrounded by thousands of strangers and tons of options of things to do and see. Where to begin?

What to Expect

The first thing you need to know is that you’re heading to a place where you’re going to be surrounded by people who love Star Wars as much as you do. That’s sort of the point. You can feel the love for the saga in the air; that’s why people have been going to Star Wars Celebrations again and again for 20 years. There will be one-of-a-kind experiences to encounter cast and crew. You may even be able to meet your favorite Star Wars actor! Just be sure to give yourself time and plan ahead. Often times, as you wait for a panel or signing, that’s the best place to meet new friends among your fellow Star Wars fans. Strike up a conversation and enjoy!

Make the most out of Star Wars Celebration and arrive with a plan. Take a close look at the schedule, but also allow yourself some wiggle room if plans change. There’s no time to see everything, so don’t pressure yourself. The good news: the biggest panels are streamed to other rooms in the convention and often online, so even if you don’t get inside the doors, you can still experience the panel live. Plus, the new LIGHTSPEED systems are designed to make access easier.

Make sure to visit the Celebration store, where you’ll find all kinds of exclusive merchandise. LIGHTSPEED will also be a useful tool for the store. But if you like mementos of your travels, it’s a great place to get some of that rare merchandise to enjoy for years to come.

If you want to buy autographs or photo opportunities, be sure to check the website often because they can sell out quickly. You don’t want to miss out.

And before you leave home, take screenshots of schedules and pre-purchased tickets just in case cell signal is spotty inside the convention center.

What to Bring

The two most important things you can bring to Celebration, aside from your infectious love of Star Wars, are money and batteries. There will be so much exclusive and vintage merchandise there, not just from the Celebration store, but all over the exhibition hall. 

Bring a charger for everything. You don’t want to miss out on snapping that photo of your favorite Star Wars star because your phone died, and keep spare batteries on hand for any other electronic device you hope to use during the show. 

Load it all into the most comfortable bag you can find, expecting to have it on your back all day and into the evening when you’re hanging out with friends, new and old.

Pace Yourself And Have Fun

You’re not going to get to do everything, but revel in the panels you do get into and enjoy the company of your fellow Star Wars fans while you’re all in the same place all at once.

Celebrations are all unique and special. Find what makes you happy and embrace it knowing you’ll never have an experience quite like it again.

Star Wars Celebration Chicago will take place April 11-15 at McCormick Place. Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets and more information!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of BigShinyRobot.com! He’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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