Guide to Kids In The Con: Tackling SDCC With Little Ones

San Diego Comic-Con can be overwhelming and difficult for a well-adjusted adult. Throwing young children into the mix adds extra levels of challenges to take on. Two of our UBlog members, Outside Comic Con and Legion of Sand, are experienced with bringing their little ones with them to San Diego Comic-Con and wanted to share some of their tips and suggestions with individuals who might be finding themselves in that scenario this year for the first time.

Take Breaks

Breaks and rest time are incredibly important with kids in tow. It’s easy to want to walk every row of the exhibit hall before 1PM, or try hunting down a list of exclusives at show opening, but in reality, this can be a recipe for overload. Pick a few key panels or booths that are must-visits for both you and the kids, and plan for taking the time and line waits that those may have. Schedule some breaks throughout the day to give your kids the chance to have your full attention, run around in a safe space, or simply sit in a comfortable chair. The Convention Center has several seating areas for breaks at the back of the exhibitor floor, and you will also find large areas of open space on the rear Mezzanine terraces, overlooking the bay.


Another good spot for a break is the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, near their ballrooms. It is typically a little less chaotic, spacious area with seating, and some outlets to charge your phone. It’s next to the convention center so it feels like you are not far from the action while taking a breather. Inside the Marriott Marquis, you’ll also find the SDCC Hospitality Suite, open to badge holders on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 2PM to midnight. The room has snacks and drinks and, most importantly, large tables to sit down, rest, and organize (seen below). You’ll even find some board games! In prior years, the Stern Pinball Arcade was found next door, and we hope that returns again this year.

Marriott Marquis by Kim



Speaking of snacks and drinks, unlike other conventions, the convention center does not discourage bringing in food and drink. It’s easy to get roped into $12 chicken tenders but bringing in a small lunch box with snacks, food, and drink is totally fine so that when hunger hits, you’ve already got everything on hand. There is some seating in and around the convention center but it can be challenging to find an open seat at times. If you have an umbrella for some shade, sitting outside at one of the terraces can be nice (especially if there is a breeze). If bringing in your own food is not an option or not ideal for you, there is typically a Detroit-style pizza by the slice option on the Mezzanine Level. Or, you can’t go wrong with an Auntie Anne’s pretzel as a worthwhile pick-me-up.


The convention’s panel rooms do not allow strollers, and you will find designated stroller parking areas on the upper floors. It’s recommended that, if you are bringing a stroller, stick to as small of a stroller style as you can. The exhibit floor also does not allow double-wide strollers. If you are able to stroller park upstairs, and baby-carry for the showroom floor (or use a baby backpack), you will find navigating the crowds of the floor much easier. For moms with very tiny humans, there is a Nursing Mothers Lounge in Lobby E by the Starbucks, with a nice room to rest and change or feed.

Outside the Con

Other nearby spots for fun include the San Diego Children’s Museum Park, right across the street from the Marriott, and the Petco Park Interactive Zone, located in the Padres parking lot across from the Hilton Bayfront. The Museum Park has a newly built, gated outdoor play structure surrounded by a few picnic tables that may also allow a good time for snacks and hydration. Don’t forget the sunscreen! The Petco Park Interactive Zone has yet to be fully announced, but if it is like in previous years, the line can build up mid-day and is recommended to go earlier when it opens, or later in the afternoon. We will post the hours and details when available.


We also expect a number of other fun offsite activations to return, and while we don’t have full details of what brands will pop-up, these often-immersive experiences can be a lot of fun for families. Lines can be long so pick your favorite show for your attack and plan to swap out line-waiting duties. Previous years offsites of the FX Experience, FOX Animation, and Hulu had a higher through-rate for attendees, making for the much-appreciated shorter wait times.

FOX offsite 2023

Tips and Tricks

When you are in a line or walking the exhibit floor, younger ones can be uninterested and need something else to keep them from making things more challenging on you. One suggestion is to give them an old cell phone if you have one. It doesn’t need to be connected to any service or WiFi, but it should have a working camera (or maybe you have an older camera). “Hire” them for the day to take photos of things they like or find interesting with some sort of reward at the end of the day for their services. This also becomes a cool keepsake if you print out the pictures and put them in a photo album. Another suggestion is a custom bingo card. Creating a bingo card specific to Comic-Con is pretty simple and it adds some fun to the day without much effort or cost, and you can spend all day finding the items on the bingo card, like “an anime cosplay”, “a Spider-Man”, etc.

Whatever your Comic-Con plan may be, it is always helpful to have your backup options in mind and be ready to switch gears if a break is needed, and to remember you are there for the experience and your kids to have the best time possible and make those Comic-Con memories.

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