It’s a mere couple sleeps before San Diego Comic Con officially begins! We’ve been going for about eight years and made all the mistakes so you don’t have to 🙂
Check out the lists below for what to pack, wear and experience in and outside the con.
What Should I Pack for Comic Con?
- Your Badge. No, really. Double, triple, quadruple check that you have your badge on you. Staff can probably help you if you don’t, but the last line you want to stand in is one because you forgot your badge.
- Refillable Water Bottle. You do not want to overheat by not having access to a swig of water when needed. The show floor is usually relatively cool but traipsing outside the con and brushing against thousands of people makes it feel much warmer at times.
- Hand Sanitizer. The pandemic has really doubled down on bringing hand sanitizer, but it should have been a thing well before then. You are going to come into contact with tons of people and probably don’t want to have to dodge into the bathroom that often. Also, who wants to grab snacks after touching merch and opening doors and such?
- Proof of vaccination or a Negative Test. This is a con requirement. Download the Clear app to get a head start on this.
- Portable Charger. Your phone is probably one of the most important items at comic con, outside of your badge of course. Imagine your phone dying when you are trying to take pictures of your favorite celebrity or cosplayer! On that note, be sure to clean out your storage a tad so you don’t get hit with the “Not enough storage” screen. It’s happened to me before, and it is not fun at all.
- Sunscreen. It’s not ever too hot in San Diego, but the sun is intense. You don’t want a sunburn on an early day of the con and have to deal with that the rest of the time.
- Snacks. Any type of fruit or protein bar. We love Alani’s protein bar since they taste great and can be bought at your local GNC. They also do a great job of keeping you relatively full when you are running across the convention center floor. Nuts or trail mixes are also good options since they are easy to carry, really anything that is shelf-stable is good to bring. Remember that another great experience is people watching while grabbing food and drinks at the various restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter.
What Should I Wear to the Convention?
This can vary depending on if you are cosplaying or trying to cover the con, or just a general attendee looking to catch some of your favorite panels. One thing that is common for all, wear comfortable shoes. A little louder for those in the back: WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. Not shoes you just bought and haven’t worn in. Not shoes because they look cool. Wear the most comfortable shoes for walking long distances. Your focus should be on how you are going to get from panel to panel, not how bad the blister on your heel or achilles is. (If you want to be really prepared, slip a couple of Band-Aids in your bag just in case) As for clothing, wear what is comfortable. It will be warm during the day so any shirt and shorts/pants combo should be fine. It can get cool in the evening, but humidity has been high for San Diego, so I wouldn’t even bank on that.
What is The Best Way to Get to The Convention Center?
The free shuttle is the best option if you happen to be at a participating hotel or have access to a pickup spot. Note that you do not have to be at one of the hotels to take the shuttle. As long as you can get to a shuttle spot, you can take the shuttle. Another great option is the San Diego Trolley. Its recent expansion into the UTC area has provided even more flexibility with being able to take the trolley further. It’s inexpensive and drops off right between the convention center and Petco Park. There is also a special trolley route for the convention center. Be sure to check the MTS web site for up-to-date info. The final option is to drive. This will be a horrendous experience, and if you have to find open lot parking, it will be pricey! We are talking upwards of $40-$50 per day at an open lot. Also note that these parking spots are often a far walk to and from the convention center. If you were lucky enough to prepare beforehand and get a parking spot already via the lottery, great! If not, I’d advise almost any other option. I didn’t even mention uber or any other ride share here since the cost will be surged to oblivion (and beyond), but you can try those as well.
What are Some Can’t Miss Things To Do?
- Meet your favorite artists/comic creators/cosplayers! There is nothing better than to interact with people creating the things you love.
- Catch a panel in one of the smaller rooms. These panels are usually easier to get to and feel more intimate than those in the bigger rooms. You’ll also have a better shot at being able to ask a question.
- Experience Hall H. I am probably in the minority, but I rarely think Hall H is worth the hassle of lining up hours upon hours before getting in; although, the somewhat newly implemented wristband process makes this a bit more tolerable. It is cool meeting people in line and creating a line group, but there is just so much down time. Having said that, the big reveal moments from DC and Marvel are some of the most hype moments at the convention. Remember that the room does not clear after a panel. You might have to sit through something you don’t really like, but I’ve found I end up liking those things after sitting through those panels.
- Artist’s Alley. During my first con I stumbled on Artist’s Alley. I was tired of waiting in lines elsewhere and just meandered toward art that I thought looked cool. It is now one of my favorite places to get some unique art and meet some amazing artists. Seriously, just wander around and gravitate to what piques your interest.
- Off-site Activations. Oftentimes they are accessible without an SDCC badge. The only downside is they are outside in the sweltering sun and the lines get looooong. Still, though, if you can get there early, they are fun and are more hands-on experience oriented than anything inside the convention center.
The Best Resources for Comic Con News/Info
Comic Con can get crazy, but here are some people to follow that have provided insanely useful information for us when we just started going to San Diego Comic Con.