Pen Shows for Noncollectors

Most pen show reviews concentrate on how good they are for collectors.  Many collectors cannot or do not wish to attend solo, however, raising the question of which shows are best for those noncollecting friends and family members who are going to be dragged along.

Although our ratings below are necessarily subjective, they are based on certain widely-applicable considerations: most importantly, the immediate location and nearby facilities, and the accessibility of other places of interest.  Shows are listed in calendar order, and include only those which we have attended personally.

Philadelphia's main problem is timing: so soon after New Year's, many potential participants would just as well stay home, and the show has had its share of bad weather over the years.  The show hotel is reasonably central, but it is still quite easy to get everywhere on foot or by taxi.

Los Angeles is a favorite destination.  It offers a balmy break when much of the country is still wintry. After many years at Manhattan Beach, the show will be at a new venue in 2020.

Chicago is a great show, but is nowhere near the city itself. There is a shopping mall in walking distance so food options aren't bad.

Washington DC is a good choice for a family vacation.  The hotel is nice and the rates excellent. Several major shopping malls can be reached by hotel shuttle or taxi, and central Washington is not far away.

London is now held in a hotel in Bloomsbury -- a great location just a block from the Russell Square tube station and in walking distance of the British Museum. There are many other hotels in the immediate area, so there is no shortage of choice in accommodation.

Columbus is a fine show in the suburb of Dublin, unusual in that the hotel food and drink prices are reasonable. Other food and shopping choices are not far away, but this is still not a place for noncollecting companions to be stuck without access to a car.