Are you ready for Comic Con? I gave up on the struggle of obtaining Comic Con tickets years ago, so I won't be going, but I'll hear about it from friends and I'll be affected by the mass of nerds descending upon downtown San Diego this weekend. Since Satechi is located in central San Diego, we're able to give you the scoop on things to do while you're in town for Comic Con!
Comic Con isn't just for Trekkies looking to find camaraderie. Comic Con has become an event spanning beyond graphic novels into television shows, movies, and games of all kinds. Fans of Batman, Green Lantern, and Inuyasha won't be disappointed at Comic Con, but do you also happen to be a fan of Game of Thrones? The Walking Dead? How about Breaking Bad? Even Twilight? These are the things you'll find at Comic Con!
Satechi has some helpful tips for surviving your Comic Con weekend:
What to Bring
Comic Con is an all-day experience and even if you're lucky enough to have a hotel room within walking distance to the convention center, you won't want to trek back and forth and risk missing some of the panels you want to attend.
The Satechi 10000 mAh Portable Energy Station - After using your smartphone to figure out how to navigate the San Diego Trolley System to get from your hotel to the San Diego Convention Center (requiring you to use what map app you have to walk to the Convention Center after you get off at the wrong trolley stop and get lost), browsing Facebook and Reddit while you stand in a seemingly endless line, using your phone's camera to get blurry photos of Matt Smith and Wil Wheaton, frantically using your phone to find which hall the Battle Star Galactica panel is located in, finally you may look down to find your smartphone is running low on battery. Right before the famed Masquerade is set to being?! NOOO! Coincidentally, the outlets at the convention center are few and far between (not to mention usually occupied with a line). The Satechi 10000 mAh Portable Energy Station has two USB ports to charge two devices simultaneously and is small enough to fit into a pocket for easy transport. Recently selected as the Best USB Battery Pack for Travel by The Wirecutter, this battery charger includes six adapters for fit a variety of devices. Available now for $59.99 at www.Satechi.net.
A backpack - Bring it empty because not only will you receive free samples just as you walk around the main exhibit hall, but there are comics, shirts, posters, games, collectibles, and so much more to buy at Comic Con! Your bag will easily be filled up by the end of the day and you'll also be able to pack a couple bottles of water which are essential for spending the day walking through all the halls.
Sunscreen - Yes, while most of Comic Con is indoors, if you'll be walking from a trolley/bus station, or getting food outside of the convention center (highly recommended - see below), you'll need to protect yourself from the sun because it's sunny here in San Diego. Some lines can extend outside of the building and there are also some outside exhibits.
Cash - Unfortunately, it's 2013, but some merchants at Comic Con still don't accept debit/credit cards and the lines for the ATMs can be long (not to mention fees are pricey), so bringing different denominations of cash is your best bet.
The Official Comic-Con App - Don't go to Comic Con without it! This app provides you with the Comic Con panel schedule, maps, and latest news so you have a game plan for making the most out of your Comic Con experience.
What to Eat
Those who have attended Comic Con know that the Convention Center doesn't offer very appetizing (or healthy) food. Stale chips with dried out, neon orange cheese-flavored sauce, anyone? And pricey! No thanks! Luckily, the Convention Center is located in downtown San Diego, just steps away from the historic Gaslamp District, where there are some good meals to be had, if you know where to go.
Mexican - If you're not from Southern California, go for regional delicacy: the California burrito. Found at small Mexican shops that don't have wait service, often serve your food on styrofoam plates with plastic utensils, and have a self-serve salsa bar, the California burrito is a carne asada burrito with the addition of French fries. Oh yeah! Lolita's adjacent to Petco Park has a decent California burrito. Valentine's is a little further away and also serves California burritos.
Burgers - Although there's a Burger Lounge and Smashburger near the convention center, I recommend walking a bit farther to Bare Back Grill or Hodad's.
Ralphs - To stock up on bottled water, ibuprofen, deodorant, or other essentials, the nearest grocery store is Ralphs. This is especially good to know if you're trying to attend Comic Con on a budget.
Vegan/Vegetarian - The place to go for great vegetarian/vegan Mexican food is Pokez, but they also serve meat dishes. Tofu burrito, anyone?
McCormick & Schmick's - Located right across the street from the convention center, most attendees avoid McCormick & Schmick's because they think it's expensive. While, this steak and seafood restaurant has more pricey options, you can still get a decent-priced meal without too long of a wait. They have great food and attentive service, which can be a reprieve from the hustle and noise of the convention center.
Where to Stay
Unfortunately, if you haven't already booked your hotel room, you're going to be paying a steep price. From closest to the Convention Center to farther away:
Downtown San Diego - You'll pay for the price of convenience, where you'll be able to walk to the Convention Center.
Hotel Circle / Old Town - These hotels may be slightly less expensive than downtown San Diego and you'll have nearby access to the San Diego Trolley.
East County - The trolley line reaches east San Diego, where you'll be farther away, but the prices may be more reasonable.
What to Do (other than attend Comic Con)
Offsite Events - Not on the guest list, don't have a media pass, or not interested in downtown clubs? Check out the great list of offsite events collected by the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog. From the Star Wars Fan Breakfast , the Comedy Central Comedy-Con, Petco Star Wars Day Yappy Hour, the Dr. Who Official Fan Meetup, to Nerf Herder with Kirby Krackle, Amy Schumer Live, Hollywood Babble-On with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, Patton Oswalt Live, The Walking Dead Escape, and more!
The Aquabats - Who doesn't like songs about worms or pool parties?
Beaches - Crossing the Coronado Bridge, you'll find the beach along the Strand. For bars and restaurants, as well as kayaking, jet skiing, surfing, and other water activities, visit Mission Beach or Ocean Beach. Head north up the coast to La Jolla Shores for tide pools, seals, and the cove.
Seaport Village - This is a tourist attraction off of San Diego bay where you'll find shops and restaurants. It's a great place for leisure strolling and watching street performers.
SeaWorld - Come here to watch Shamu, learn about sealife, and even ride some aquatic rides, but don't forget to stay for the nightly fireworks!
Balboa Park - If you're interested in learning, this is where you'll find the Natural History Museum, Museum of Man (the Instruments of Torture exhibit is going on now), Air & Space Museum (Ripley's Believe it or Not is going on now), Museum of Art, Japanese Friendship Garden, and more! To get here from the Convention Center, you'll need to take the trolley, then a short bus ride.
San Diego Zoo - It's world famous, so you won't want to miss it! To see all the animals is a full day adventure, so you may not have time in your itinerary to visit. But if you do, you'll be rewarded with polar bears, orangutans, pandas, meerkats, and so much more!
Midway Aircraft Carrier - This aircraft carrier sits in San Diego Bay and is an interesting break from Comic Con. You'll get some fresh air as you walk along the deck and learn about San Diego's role in the military as well as the operations of one of the United State's longest serving aircraft carriers.
Breweries - San Diego is famous for its craft beers. Near the convention center are Karl Strauss (they use their beer in many of their menu items) and Mission Brewery (which often has a food truck parked nearby). Although it's a 45-minute drive from the convention center, Stone Brewery in Escondido has great beer, delicious food, and a beautiful garden to hang out in.
Need a Break?
If hours of walking around, being jostled by other attendees, waiting hours in lines, and navigating public transportation leave you feeling burned out, recharge at the Sails Pavilion at the convention center, which in past years has had tables and chairs are available for attendees to take a break.
Have a great time at Comic Con! What are you most looking forward to seeing/doing while you're there?