Yes, the convention center is an amazing place. If you can run off Starbucks and Mrs. Fields you should feel free to stay there all day. Hey, if you can find a dark and concealed corner you could stay there all night. We’re assuming neither of those will happen though, so this is the guide for when you leave the convention center and journey into San Diego!
Eating Out –
Most attendees will find that eating outside of the convention center yields the best results. Sure, packing snacks can help you through the times when you have a ton of panels in a row, but I find that a real dinner or lunch each day will go a far way to restoring one’s energy. The great thing about this is that right across the street from the convention center is the awesome Gaslamp District. There are restaurants everywhere and people looking to avoid lines can even go a little bit farther into San Diego and find restaurants that aren’t very crowded. The big warning for eating out is that fast places such as Subway are going to be packed. Lines can take up to 30 minutes so I find that choosing a sit down place will get you better food and barely take longer.
Here is the official dining guide to the Gaslamp. This is a great resource if you want to plan out your meals and find a specific restaurant that suits your tastes. Here is another good guide that labels each restaurant by their prices. Remember, Urbanspoon and Yelp on a mobile phone can be great for finding a restaurant quickly.
Though the above tips apply to lunch and dinner, breakfast is an important meal to many attendees. For some people’s needs, a hotel buffet will work fine as they are moderately quick and their food is of decent quality. The majority of attendees will most likely want their breakfast really fast though, and an emerging hotel trend caters to that. Many of the premiere hotels (including the Hard Rock and the Hilton Bayfront) have started selling breakfast boxes. These include a drink, bagel. and probably some fruit. They come in portable boxes and you can take them to wherever you plan to wait in the morning. They’re not delicious, but they are really useful and great if you plan to line up early for Hall H or Ballroom 20. Ask your hotel if they sell any and if not then you can look around for one at nearby shops or hotels.
Offsite Events –
A guide to offsite events is pretty self-explanatory. Just leave the convention center and do something. There are some really important tips when heading to these events though, so it’s best to be ready. Here are the top three things to remember.
- Don’t Lose Your Badge – Without your badge it’s impossible to be let into the con. Keep it in a safe place when outside the convention and whatever you do, don’t lose it or have it stolen.
- Don’t Forget Things at the Bag Check -The bag check hours can be found here. Though the normal end time of 2 AM seems late, you’d be surprised at the times many events will end. Don’t knock on the convention center doors at 4 AM hoping to get that suitcase. It’s even worse since Security will probably stand inside and laugh at you. And if you know SDCC Security, you can imagine how embarrassing that would be.
- The Con has Awesome Night Activities Too – Don’t feel like you have to leave the convention center to have a good time. There are usually awesome panels and screenings that go late into the night.
Much like the offsite events, hotels are mostly standard operating procedures when you’re at the con. Here are a few SDCC-specific tips to make sure your stays go smoothly.
- Find Out Exactly Where the Shuttle Stops – Don’t be that guy on the wrong end of the street when the shuttle pulls in. If that happens, you deserve to be mocked.
- Know Your Shuttle Route Color – Getting on the shuttle at 1 AM and ending up at the Hark Rock ready to go to sleep is awesome. Unless you’re staying at a Sheraton.
- See if Your Hotel Has Anything Going On – Many of the bigger hotels have awesome events/deals that center around Comic-Con. Asking at the front desk when you check in can result in savings and good times.
And that’s it! I hope the guide helped you get ready for Comic-Con.