San Diego Comic-Con Tips

Tips for heading to the famed festival for the first time



Ready for some weird and wonderful fun? Comic-Con International: San Diego—the huge pop-art convention held every year in San Diego—is the place. The four-day convention is exhilarating but can be confusing if you don't organize beforehand. If you're heading there for the first time, here are a few Comic-Con tips to help you navigate the event.


1. Protect your Feet


You'll spend more of the four-day conference standing in lines than listening to panels. And the panels are not located close to each other. This means that your feet are likely to be hurting at some point. You'll need a comfortable pair of shoes with arch support, padding and shock absorption. Leave the flip-flops at home despite being in sunny San Diego. If you plan on donning a costume, termed cosplaying, tote extra shoes as backup. Other emergency supplies for aching, blistery feet include Band-Aids and foot powder.

2. Walk the Line


The conference is divided into multiple panel rooms, plus Hall H. Just because some presentation is on your priority list doesn't guarantee you'll get in. The trick is to stand in the correct line as early as possible. Comic-Con never removes fans from panel rooms or Hall H. If a room holds 6,500 people, the first 6,500 can stay the entire day if they want to. Of course, they usually don't, but this means that you aren't likely to get into your top afternoon event by joining the line 30 minutes before it starts. One ploy is to get into the panel room early and sit through any number of shows you're not interested in to be sure you have a seat when your must-see panel starts.

3. Packing: What's In, What's Out


It shouldn't surprise anyone that "inappropriate" items are not allowed into Churchill Downs, but what is prohibited may not be what you expect. You can bring lunches in clear plastic bags, but no coolers, cans of any size, glass bottles or containers. Small cameras get in, but those with detachable lenses wider than 6 inches are excluded, as are tripods and selfie sticks. Don't try to bring in a bottle of wine. Absolutely no alcoholic beverages can be carried in, nor can thermoses that might conceal those beverages. Blankets get the nod, but umbrellas must stay outside, along with purses larger than 12 inches.

4. Consider Bags and Swag


Yes, you'll need a bag for personal items, but no, you won't need one for all the swag given away and sold at Comic-Con. Pack a light bag for essentials like your camera, hand sanitizer and that comic you want autographed. But collect a huge bag at the door—given to fans by Warner Bros.—as you get your badge. These canvas bags are really big; big enough to hold the mountains of free stuff Comic-Con is known for distributing, like T-shirts, magnets, posters and pins. Wear your free swag bag as a backpack or a shoulder bag. It has a slit in one end for your rolled posters.

5. Eat for Less


Comic-Con offers the kind of food you’d find at a baseball game: pizza, soda, potato chips, nachos, cookies and hot dogs. If you want to save money and snack a little healthier, pack food and drink in your personal bag. Bring protein bars, trail mix, fruit and a sandwich or two. Be sure to chow down at breakfast before you stand in the first line of your day. If you absolutely must buy something to eat, go outside to the nearby Gaslamp Quarter where the restaurants are excellent and not overpriced.

Find your home base for Comic-Con with these San Diego hotels, and start planning for your next convention adventure with these travel ideas.


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