10 San Diego Comic Con Tips for Newbies
So you got a pass to San Diego Comic Con. Let me first say Congratulations on getting lucky in the lottery. I’ve been going to SDCC for about 5 years now and I can only describe it as the funnest pain in the ass that you’ll experience in San Diego. For those of you who have been going for awhile now, you already know the little things that you like to do to help the weekend along; This post is more for the first timers who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of waiting in line for 8 hours dressed as Sailor Moon.
10 tips for San Diego Comic Con
1. Find a Room with a fridge
Easier said than done with the hotel lottery system, but if you can, find a room that has a fridge. Thousands of people will be swarming the restaurants in downtown San Diego and you can save some money and time if you go to the market and stock up on some food. Rooming with several people? don’t forget to grab a power strip to keep your stuff charged!
There’s a 24 hour Ralph’s supermarket in the Gaslamp quarter: 101 G St, San Diego, CA 92101
2. Overnight Parking
Parking during San Diego Comic Con is a pain in the ass and with hotels charging up to $50 a night to park, you’re better off parking at the airport. The economy lot at San Diego airport is $13 a day, with 24 hour shuttle service that’ll take you to the main terminal. You can call a Lyft or Uber from there to your hotel.
3. Survive the Heat
The convention hall is pumped with Air conditioning, but downtown San Diego is baking in the sun. If you decide to wait in line for one of the many outside events, bring water, sunscreen, and maybe a towel. Moisture Wicken clothing is a god send too.
4. Plan out your day
There is so much to do the whole weekend that you’re going to have to decide what you want to do and what to leave behind. Doing a little bit of research on panels, events, and giveaways will make things go a lot smoother. This is also a good idea for cosplayers, because nothing is worse than wandering around aimlessly dressed in an uncomfortable outfit.
5. Con security VS Con volunteers
Most of the security is hired by the convention center and are usually around all entrances and lines; They rarely know much about the convention itself. Look for volunteers that work directly witSan Diego Comic Con, they will have more information.
6. Don’t have a pass? Go to San Diego anyway
SDCC is the biggest media event of the year and all the big companies set up free events outside of the convention center. Check out the Adult Swim Carnival or the FX area. You may not be able to get into the Convention, but you’ll have more than enough to do in San Diego that weekend.
7. Line Con!
If you haven’t done SDCC before, prepare yourself for a lot of waiting in line. Almost everything worth doing requires a lot of patience. People will come HOURS before (Days if you’re waiting for Hall H)the start of an event or panel to get in, so temper your frustrations. Bring a backpack, stuff it with snacks and maybe something to do while you’re in line. I like to bring a small sketch book and a power bank for my phone.
**note-lines are almost never uniform, there’s too many people. Pay attention to your spot and keep an eye on people looking to take advantage of the chaos.
8. After Hours
The exhibit hall may close, but that doesn’t mean you go back to your room to sleep. Panels and events go on all throughout the evening in the convention center, a lot of companies have after parties around downtown San Diego, and the Hyatt Grand Hotel next door has TONS of things going on. So grab food, rest for a bit, but go back out after the sun goes down, it’s worth the sleep deprivation the next day.
9. Break up your day
It’s not always possible if you’re waiting in line all day, but SDCC is a long and exhausting experience. If you’re staying near the convention center it’s easy to give yourself a break midday. If you’re staying farther away, be sure to take full advantage of the shuttle service. Taking a break is a must for me, I get a chance to comfortably sit down, drop off my stuff, and use my own bathroom. The Embassy Suites near the convention center does a free midday cocktail/snack time for guests, I took full advantage.
10. Sunday Evening
Sunday is a completely different feel and energy from the rest of the weekend. People are getting ready to go back to their lives and working through the weekend partying, The traffic out of San Diego is a major Pain in the Ass. It can be pretty bad unless you leave really early or really late. If you have the energy, stay in San Diego for dinner (Little Italy is a good spot or Bankers Hill).
*Want to avoid traffic? If you’re not carrying a lot, consider taking the train.
I’ve been to over 20 conventions this past year (it’s my job) and nothing compares to the monster that is San Diego Comic Con. It can be a little overwhelming but remember that you’re there to enjoy yourself.
It’s also a great chance for you to meet new people, nerds make the best friends. There aren’t a lot of chances to be completely surrounded by strangers with common interests in a city that transforms itself, so say hi to that dude in the Pickle Rick outfit. You may meet some of our best friends because of it.
Want to save a little money on your stay? consider staying at a hostel!
Also, Check out Supernatural Sandwiches if you’re into seafood.