Science Fiction and Related Conventions
As soon as science fiction fans found each other in the letter columns of the early magazines, they set up meetings. Most of them lived in the major cities so they could get together fairly easily, presuming their parents would let them ride the subway alone. (A lot of them were pre-teen males.)
Eventually, these meetings evolved into full-scale conventions. Science fiction conventions (usually referred to as cons) are an experience unlike most others. You can see people running around in crazy costumes that would get them attacked or arrested on the street. You can also find some of the most interesting people in the world disguised as normal everyday people. Or (almost) anything in between.
What you get out of a convention depends largely on your expectations and your ability to interact with other people. Some fans turn it into their primary social activity. Others use cons as a pleasant escape from the stresses of their lives. And some don't like the experience and stay away.
If you've never been to a science fiction convention, you really should try it at least twice. Then if you don't like it, you can say you gave it a fair shot. Start with a convention near home that you can drive to. There are plenty of larger conventions you can travel to later if you like conventions. The World SF Convention (or Worldcon) is the Big Kahuna of SF cons, with North American Worldcons usually attracting over 5,000 members.
Alas, Worldcon rarely makes it to the Southeastern U.S. Southern Worldcons were held in 1977 (Miami), 1986 (Atlanta), 1988 (New Orleans), and 1992 (Orlando). A group of mostly Southern fans sponsored a bid to hold the Worldcon in Charlotte in 2004, but were defeated by Boston 1196-832 at the 2001 convention. With no other active Southern bids, it will be a long time before a Worldcon is seen in SFC territory.
Most news sources provide lists of upcoming conventions aimed at science fiction and related fandoms. Rather than develop our own list, we gratefully link to the work of Southern fandom's favorite radio personality, Kelly Lockhart of Chattanooga, and his Southern Fandom Resource Guide. If you're looking to kill a weekend, check it out.