A Case for Staying Downtown and in the Gaslamp Quarter During SDCC

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series of two “point/counter-point” articles on where to stay during San Diego Comic-Con, leading up to Tuesday’s hotel reservation sale. Please be sure to read our first article in the series, “A Case For Staying Outside of the Gaslamp During SDCC”, so that you can decide which hotel selections are best for you!

Fact: I have lived in San Diego for almost 4 years, residing only about 20 minutes from Downton – sorry, downtown — and have still stayed in a Gaslamp hotel every Comic-Con. And, fingers crossed, I hope to achieve that again this year.

For me, Comic-Con has become much more than a day of sitting in panels and shuffling around the exhibit floor.  It involves trying new restaurants and bars, seeing good friends who I might only see once every July and, most likely, staying up well past my bedtime. Even having lived here for several years, I still feel that the Gaslamp takes on a special magic during Comic-Con. There’s nothing like finding a spot for dinner or drinks after the con has ended and people-watching. I can catch up on the day’s adventures and plan the evening activities while the parade of con-goers floods past us.  Staying in downtown also has the added perk of being where the guests are given rooms, leading to a plethora of one of my favorite things: celebrity sightings!

The unique location of downtown SD makes it it’s own little enclave once the general masses have returned to their homes or hotels outside of the area.  I feel a sense of closeness with the other con-goers who also remain in downtown after-hours.  There is also something to be said for the ability to fall into bed at some pre-dawn hour, then manage to get up and be in line for a panel within 10 minutes of leaving your hotel (a coffee stop included).

bayfront1As Comic-Con has grown, downtown San Diego has also grown with it.  Since I started attending, only 7 years ago, four new hotels have sprung up – the Hard Rock, the Hilton Bayfront, Hotel Indigo, and the Residence Inn.  While it is still difficult for general con-goes to get downtown rooms, the additional space has made it a little easier.

Downtown San Diego wasn’t always the high-end restaurant and hotel mecca that it is today.  For a good portion of the last century it was considered to be the red-light district and full of seedy establishments.  The nightclub Stingaree, home to several parties during Comic-Con, still uses the original name given to the area.  The building of Petco Park in 2004 (Go Padres!) can be attributed to the current renaissance of the area, and having Comic-Con and the 120,000+ people it brings, hasn’t hurt either.

gaslampsdcc1Comic-Con is all about good timing and being in the right place at the right time.  From celebrity sightings, promotional giveaways or the viral marketing that we’ve had in years past, there remains so much to do in downtown.  Having a hotel room nearby to use for drop-offs, quick changes — not to mention the ever-important power nap — making staying on top of Comic-Con’s evening events that much easier.

I consider the SDCC Hotel Sale event to be the most important thing before con.  You can guess which hotels I’ll be trying for when they go on sale tomorrow!  I hope to see you around downtown late into Comic-Con evenings… Just please promise you’ll save me a hotel room!

Ask me any questions: @OutsideComicCon

You can read more about the history of the Gaslamp district at:  Gaslamp.org/history.

So, are you going to stay downtown near the hustle and bustle, or away from the action for a little peace and quiet? Let us know in the comments.

About Kim Twombly

Contributor to the SDCC Unofficial Blog. Kim also runs www.OutsideComicCon.com and its accompanying Twitter feed @OutsideComicCon, specializing in outside events during SDCC.