Going To Los Angeles For RuPaul’s DragCon? Everything You Need To Know (2024)

The most dazzling weekend in drag is coming back to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Here’s everything you need to know about where to stay and eat, as well as what to do—and what not to do.

For drag fans the world over, RuPaul’s DragCon is the ultimate celebration of charisma, uniqueness, and talent. While DragCon LA 2022 attracted some 50,000 attendees, DragCon LA 2023 saw the largest single-day attendance in the "herstory" of the event. This year’s edition promises to be more fabulous than ever, with over 300 booths on the show floor, and queens from across the Drag Race universe appearing on stage and hosting meet-and-greets with their legions of adoring fans.

DragCon: A How-To Guide

So, how do you prepare to attend the most sickening event in the drag world? You no doubt have a gag-worthy lewk, and have probably saved up your coins to bag some selfies, but what about the practicalities of eating and sleeping, not to mention making the most of your time?

"My first piece of advice is to get there early Friday morning for the Queens’ Walk, when all the queens walk the entire length of the Pink Carpet," says Fenton Bailey, co-founder of World of Wonder, the production company that created and produces RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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"Then there’s the counter-hack: if there's a queen you really want to see and you want to avoid those long lines, it could be worth getting to their booth early, as they’ll go straight there from the Queens’ Walk," Bailey adds.

One thing DragCon attendees may not have considered is the opportunity to get their festive shopping in. World of Wonder co-founder Randy Barbato explains:

"It might sound a bit early, but there are some great shopping opportunities and people should be thinking of Christmas gifts," he says, adding: "And I know we're in a contactless digital economy, but queens love cash. So having some on hand isn't a bad thing."

Other insider hacks proposed by Barbato and Bailey include:

Fenton Bailey: "Wear comfortable shoes, because, unless you’re a queen, you do not need to be in heels."

Randy Barbato: "Don’t miss the drinks samples at the House of Love booth."

FB: "The easiest way to get to the Convention Center is by Uber or Lyft or—something that is cruelly ignored by the people of L.A. themselves—the Metro system is good and goes right there."

RB: "There’ll be charging stations around the place, but it’s worth bringing a battery backup for your phone."

The Drag Queens Weigh In

As for the real skinny on the dos and don’ts of DragCon etiquette, who better to spill the tea than Mo Heart and Trinity the Tuck, two fierce drag performers, TV personalities, entrepreneurs, and DragCon veterans, both of whom have appeared on Drag Race and its spinoff shows no fewer than three times.

What do you wish people knew before coming to DragCon?

Mo Heart: "Wear comfortable shoes or bring an extra pair of comfortable sneakers or cute slippers. You’re walking on concrete and you want to get your TENS in those heels, but be kind to your feet."

Trinity the Tuck: "Bear in mind the wait time to meet your favorite queen can be pretty long, so wear comfortable shoes and remember to stay hydrated!"

MH: "DragCon is the perfect safe space to turn a look and there’s no such thing as being underdressed. Come as a disco ball, in a drag tuxedo or wedding dress whatever you feel—you might even get a personal shout out from RuPaul!

TT: "Don’t forget to bring a larger bag, like a tote bag, as there’ll be loads of vendors plus all that drag merch, and you don’t want to be walking around carrying random items."

What do you wish fans would do—or not do—at DragCon?

TT: "I’d love everyone to be courteous to both their fellow DragCon-goers and the staff there. We’re all there to have a gay ol’ time, so come to have fun or sashay away!"

MH: "I wish they would do a flash mob dance."

TT: "At the meet-and-greet, never put your arm around a drag queen’s shoulder, as you don’t want to trap her hair and pull it back. Always put your arm around her waist or down to the side."

MH: "I wish everyone would wear deodorant. If you’re going to hug a queen, you might like the natural odor, but we don’t, especially not on our custom-made garments!"

Where to eat

DragCon is a long two days and you may need to recharge at some point. Fortunately, the Convention Center is within easy striking distance of more great food options than you can shake a chopstick at.

Grand Central Market is a public market dating back to 1917 that has been restored as a food, retail and events space. Regardless of whether you are in the mood for a burger, tacos, sushi or a sandwich, you’ll find it all here.

Another historic space, Cole’s French Dip has been serving hungry DTLA residents since 1908 when it invented the French dip. And while its main claim to fame is that roast beef, cheese and pickle sandwich, it is equally worth a visit for a late-night, post-DragCon co*cktail.

Where to stay

Downtown LA Proper Hotel

A five-minute drive from the Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown LA Proper Hotel is a hip, upscale urban hotel that was recently awarded a prestigious key (the hotel equivalent of a star) by the Michelin Guide. A reimagined local landmark—the building previously served as a private club in the 1920s, where members included Cecil B. DeMille, and a YWCA in the 1960s—Downtown LA Proper Hotel is a 147-room destination stay in L.A.’s South Park District.

With two restaurants led by James Beard Award-winning L.A. chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne, an intimate lounge, city-view rooftop pool and lounge-bar-restaurant, and inspired interiors by Kelly Wearstler, Downtown LA Proper Hotel is not only an ultra-convenient stay for convention-goers, it is one of the hottest places to see and be seen right now in DTLA.

The conversations have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Going To Los Angeles For RuPaul’s DragCon? Everything You Need To Know (2024)
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