SDCC Survival Guide: Get out of the Convention Center.
One of the best, and worst things, about Comic Con is that it’s just super massive and barely contains itself in the convention center. Between panels, shopping on the exhibit floor, and wandering lost in the hallways; at some point convention goers are going to want to leave the building for a change of pace and get away from the massive crowds.
Grant it, this is Comic Con, anything in a 2 mile radius- or in the Gaslamp- of the convention center is going to draw a massive crowd but not nearly as dense. Fortunately, because not everything can fit in the convention center, most of the large scale exhibits from big time industry leaders have spilled over into the surrounding buildings.
Below is a nifty list of offsite exhibits and their locations that you really should check out when you’re trying to escape madness of Comic Con without really leaving Comic Con.
SURVIVAL TIP: You’re most likely going to need your badge to get into most of these off site exhibits. Be sure to bring it!
The Xbox Lounge returns to SDCC this year to bring you over 85 gaming stations, where you can try out (and relax!) 25 different Xbox games, all playable on- you guessed it- their latest console, the Xbox One. The Lounge will be host to more than just previews of games, it will be holding tournaments, photo ops, special guest appearances AND signings – so far, no agenda has been published for the Xbox Lounge of who and when they will be there.
SURVIVAL TIP: Do NOT play at the Xbox booth down on the exhibit floor. The lines are long and crowded, and you can’t exactly spend quality time with the game you want to try out. Head over to the Lounge for a quieter experience, spend some time on that game demo, and possibly rest your poor feet.
Opens: Thursday 11am-6pm
Friday and Saturday- 11am-8pm
Location: Harbor Tower at the Manchaster Grand Hyatt (right next door to the convention center!)
Her Universe Fashion Show
If you don’t know what Her Universe is, it’s a geek chic clothing line. Naturally, for them to hold a fashion show is pretty awesome- and the audience helps determine the winner. Two grand prizes are up for grabs: an opportunity to co-design with Ashley Eckstein and an exclusive Her Universe line sold at Hot Topic.
SURVIVAL TIP: If you’re not into Masquerade, this is a great alternative. Best part? It’s AFTER convention floor hours- go see the exhibit floor all day, grab something to eat, and head over to the Fashion Show to relax and see some awesome geek clothing.
When: Thursday at 6pm-9pm.
Location: Harbor Ballroom- Second level at Manchester Grand Hyatt
MTV Fan Fest.
I don’t even know what this is, and honestly, I’m not all that interested in going. The only thing that is baiting me is free food, drinks, and a musical performance from Linkin Park. From what I can gather it is a massive event for MTV fans and any related MTV shows. Special appearances and giveaways included.
When: Thursday at 7pm-11pm
Location: Petco Park
SURVIVAL TIP: Since this event is going to be at Petco Park, it’s going to be pretty MASSIVE. There is a good chance that this event is free for Comic Con goers, but with such a large venue its aim is to draw in a large crowd. If you’re looking to unwind after your first day at the convention, this might be something to pass on and find something quieter.
NBC Experience at Gaslamp
The location for the NBC experience says it’s between the Convention Center and Hard Rock Hotel- most people who go to SDCC (or local) know that means the trolley station and Tin Fish. In previous years NBC use to set up shop just in front of the Tin Fish, but recently -because of their shows becoming quite popular (Grimm!) -they have taken over the Tin Fish itself, and the entire open space between it and the trolley stop.
SURVIVAL TIP: In past years, you did NOT need your badge to enjoy the displays and exhibits that NBC puts out. Secondly, because NBC has been hijacking the Tin Fish, space at the restaurant has become even more scarce (its location, being right across the street from the convention center always made it a busy location). If you’re hankering for a fish meal, Tin Fish is an excellent place to eat, but be prepared for line just to place your order, a fight to find a seat, and wait to get your food. Mahi Mahi tacos recommended.
Nintendo Video Game Lounge
Nintendo is doing the exact same thing as Xbox- it has its own room for you to play game demos, relax, and enjoy the Nintendo vibe.
SURVIVAL TIP: Same deal as the Xbox Lounge. Do NOT play the demos on the exhibit floor, head over the gaming lounge to spend quality time with the game, and enjoy a less crowded area, and relax your feet, there will be chairs!
Location: Marriott Marquis and Marina
Sony’s Pixel Arcade
Looks like Sony is running some fun 80’s pixelated game competition this year! Comic Con attendees (badges are a must for this!) 13 years and older are welcome to play away at fun classic 80’s arcade games, and at the end of each day the top-five contenders on the leaderboard will be entered in two drawing. The first, is a daily prize drawing to win a Playstation 4, and the grand prize to win a walk on role in Pixels.
When: Wednesday (preview night, competition not active) 5pm-9pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 9am-9pm
Sunday at 9am-6pm.
Location: Hard Rock Hotel.
• The Assassin’s Creed Experience next to the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel
• Homer’s Dome at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront front lawn
• Godzilla Display behind the Convention Center next to the 5th Ave. pier and ferry landing
• The Adventure Time Conquest Fulfillment Center across from the Children’s Museum.
• Game of Thrones: Survive the Realm Experience at the Omni Hotel Gallery
By: Stephany Brown/Scarlette