Guide to Parking at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 [UPDATE]

[UPDATE May 22] Comic-Con has quietly added a second parking option – through ParkWhiz and ABM Parking. The only days available are Saturday and/or Sunday, and the lots are further out (see map below) – but they are available for pre-purchase, and all you need to do is show your QR code on your phone as proof of payment.

Get your Saturday or Sunday lot now.

[UPDATE May 10] Group 1 parking is currently finished, and Group 2 is underway this week. Currently, the convention center is completely full – and a few other days for other lots have been blocked off, including Wednesday-Friday at Diamond View Tower. Here’s a look at what’s still available:

Parking is the last major pre-convention hurdle for attendees leading up to San Diego Comic-Con. Whether you’re a local resident or not staying at a downtown hotel, where you park is very important.

Ace Parking (who owns most of the parking in Downtown San Diego) moved to a lottery based system two years ago, and is using the same system this year. You can view our Visual Guide from 2015 to (re)familiarize yourself with the process.

You can still sign up for the lottery through April 24 — with the drawing happening on April 25, to place people into one of six groups. On May 1, the system will be opened and restricted to the people in Group 1 only. Each week thereafter the system will be opened to the next group until all groups have had a chance to purchase their permits. At the end of the six-week period, the system will be opened to the general public.

Before we get started on details for this year’s sale, remember that the lottery system is only for a select number of the total parking spaces available. Even if you didn’t get sorted into a group there will be parking available in the public online sale. We are projecting the date of the public sale to be June 12, as each group’s sales start on six consecutive Mondays beginning May 1.

Also of note is that a limited amount of spaces “will be available for drive up parking the day of the event” at “the majority of the lots included in the online sale and others that are not included.” For more details about the parking sale Ace has info and a FAQ on their site.

We also want to remind everyone that the San Diego Trolley has two stops downtown right across the street from the convention center. It’s a great alternative for those who don’t want to deal with parking.

But what about the parking? What lots are available? Below is the list as well as the Google Map Ace created for this year’s lots. There are now 13 lots, up from 10 in 2016.

There will also be a service fee on top of the above prices.

Finally, the decision on which lot to choose looms like a Galactus cloud in a bad Fantastic Four movie. For most, the convention center is the most convenient place to park. Not only is it the shortest walk, but you can easily store purchases and even bring a cooler with your own food and drink to enjoy during a long day. There’s a reason it will likely sell out by the end of group two despite having double the number of spaces of any other lot except Horton Plaza: It’s prime real estate.

The good news, though, is that the Convention Center lot and Tailgate Park were the only two to completely sell out in last year’s lottery-based parking system before it opened up to the public – and there are lots of other lots to choose from.

The next most popular lot is the Hilton Bayfront with easy access to the Hall H side of the convention as well as the foot bridge over Harbor Blvd. to Petco Park and other offsite events. From there each lot is either across the street like Diamond View Towers or further into downtown like Horton Plaza.

Since you buy each parking pass by the day, you can choose different locations if needed. If you don’t have a badge for one or more days you may want to get parking in Tailgate or Diamond View Towers that will allow you quick access to the majority of offsite events.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site's resident panel guru.
  • keeleon

    Has anyone heard back from Ace Parking yet with lottery results?

  • garfeimao

    Nope, and I’m not happy they will be opening up the parking the same day as only some people hear if they got a hotel or not. I would have hoped for parking to open up after the May 8 release of the 2nd hotel confirmations. That way, you don’t pay for parking only to find out you actually got a downtown hotel after the fact.

  • Gilai Sakay

    Yep. Received an email from them that I’m part of Group 2 and will be able to purchase starting the 8th of May.

  • keeleon

    Has anyone ever parked under the convention center? I actually just got a group 1 email, so I might have a chance at the closest parking ever. I always park at the Hilton, but I’m wondering if it’s even easier to be right at the convention center?

    I like to cosplay and buy lots of crap so frequent trips to the car are inevitable, and it might be nice to not have to walk so much if it’s closer and easier. But then I’m worried it will be too crowded and claustrophobic.

  • Terrence Messmer

    Group 1! Jealous! Hopefully group 4 will be alright. We have parked under the convention center multiple times and found it a little more convenient than the Hilton. Never did it seem crowded. Claustrophobic…no…maybe a little gassy. If you making frequent trips its the best option.

  • Leigh

    Myself and members of my family submitted a total of 6 emails to the lottery and got nothing. Every one of them was a “sorry” email. Totally bummed. Got screwed on badges (Thursday & Sunday only) and now no parking.

  • sdrob

    Almost always do Hilton or one of the ones across the tracks, but tried convention parking last year (never again), what a nightmare to get out. We had to just put our car in park and wait awhile because it was so backed up trying to leave. All the crowds walking around the convention center and blocking the roads during the day keep the traffic from moving inside there. Plus its really gross under there… saw 2 different people just peeing in the corners (ugh) and it got super muggy/smelly in there. Hilton is just a little farther but easier to get out of with that back exit, plus its cleaner (and safer).

  • keeleon

    Thank you, that was exactly my concern. In theory it seems nice to be parked literally at the building, but I imagine in practice it will be impossible to get into and out of. I will drive around the whole Gaslamp to avoid driving in front of the Convention Center. The Hilton seems like the best option.

  • geero

    first time parker, i got group 4…is this bad?

  • garfeimao

    I’ve parked at the convention center before, my sister is in a wheelchair so we try and target it so we can just take the elevator to/from the convention floor.

    But I got round 5, so tge spaces may be gone by then.

  • Kim M-L

    You can cancel any parking permits up until 11:59pm on 6/29/17 only forfeiting a $10 processing fee.

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  • Sara Wilson

    I always go for the Hilton to park. You couldn’t t pay me to park at the Convention Center. It’s a mess there, the Hilton’s exit is easy and I’ve hardly ever hit traffic, especially since I know the roads and I go on Harbor to avoid the convention center mess. Plus, the Hilton has shade, a nice breeze, and a beautiful view. Why get stuck in the basement of the convention center when you have the convenience of the Hilton parking?

  • Jon Allen

    I thought the first time they did this, they divided the lots into the number of groups so each group had a chance at all lots. I guess this didn’t happen this time

  • Jon Allen

    Same here, fortunately a friend got a hotel on the shuttle run so she is giving me her parking.

  • Gia

    Group 2 here and was torn between Hilton and 6th and K Parkade. I ended up getting the latter as it is right across the convention center. I’m a first time attendee. Did I choose the right one?

  • Gia

    Group 2 here and was torn between Hilton and 6th and K Parkade. I ended up getting the latter as it is right across the convention center. I’m a first time attendee. Did I choose the right one?

  • Gia

    You can still buy parking once the last group’s (Group 6) buying week is done and all the non-purchased parking spaces are open for general reservations. Tentative date is around June 13, so wait for further announcement.

  • Danny

    I parked in Hilton last year and it was an easier/shorter walk to Hall H. It’s almost as parking below the convention center.

  • Kristi Sk8

    Last year Hilton was sold out. I was group 3 and couldn’t get anything on con side and had a wheelchair to get across tracks and a non working elevator on the one side of the overhead walkway.

  • garfeimao

    Those rail tracks are murder on wheelchairs, and I hate the ramp up to the convention center at that crossing on 5th, it’s always so crowded that it’s next to impossible to get the chair up it.

  • garfeimao

    I remember them doing that too, bummed that is not the case this year.

  • garfeimao

    For persons in wheelchairs, it’s all about less distance, so I put up with the Convention center the few times I’ve gotten it just to get my sister into the convention center that much quicker. Of course, I’d prefer a hotel room at the Marriott, but that’s not very likely.

  • garfeimao

    Good to know. I’m also thinking I’d be able to pass the parking long to someone else if I get a decent hotel, which right now is not looking so good.

  • sdrob

    Actually I was just hedging my bets to get parking for comic-con. I actually prefer Convention Center and it is really easy to get out of there most of the time. Still my preference due to short walk and ease of getting in as well (but they sold out, so I didn’t get it anyways…. oh well). If you did get it, then good for you. (but people do pee down there and it does get it hot sometimes).

  • Carynn Hobbit

    I am in group 5, can we get an update of which lots are open and which are full now, group 5 starts next week.

  • tb

    Does anyone know the street closures during comic con?