No Comic-Con Badge? San Diego has plenty to offer!

San Diego little Italy


With everyone gearing up for San Diego Comic Con I thought it would be a good idea to throw out some ideas of things to do in case you couldn’t get your hands on passes, or if you need a break from the convention floor and panels. With Comic-Con being held in San Diego there are a plethora of things to do all around the city especially near the convention center.

gaslamp_quarter.ashxThe Gaslamp District, which is right across the street from the convention center, is completely transformed for Comic-Con. All the restaurants, bars, stores and even the bicycle transports are transformed to cater to Comic-Con attendees. There are normally several outside events in the Gaslamp District and near Petco Park. The Walking Dead Escape is actually held within Petco Park and if you are lucky enough to get tickets for it you can either escape a zombie horde or be apart of it. Along with The Walking Dead Escape there is also a Zombie Walk on Saturday at 5:00pm through the Gaslamp area, for more information check out their website at Just walking through the crowds in the Gaslamp district you will hear about events and parties all around Downtown San Diego to check out.

Next to the convention center at Bayfront Park there is a normally a mini festival there open to everyone, last year giant balloons of The Teen Titans were watching over the area. NerdHQ also hold panels and other events near the convention center, some of their stuff you have to pay for but it doesn’t necessarily require a Comic-Con pass. They also host the NerdHQ Dance Party on Thursday night, as we get closer to the convention start following their Twitter Handle @thenerdmachine for updates. Also close to the convention center is the New Children’s Museum, which interactive and educational exhibits for kids and parents alike.

Seaport-Village_6151If you travel a little ways from the Convention center you can find some of the gems that San Diego has to offer as well. A little ways up the road from the Con you will find Seaport Village, an awesome spot to get some food and do a little outside of Con shopping right next to the harbor. If you keep going a ways past that you can visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and the Star of India, both are a must see if you are visiting San Diego for the first time.

You can also hop on a ferry across the harbor and head over to Coronado to grab a bite at The Brigantine or Nicky Rottens Bar and Burger Joint. If you’ve never been, you’d also want to see the Hotel Del Coronado or Hotel Del to locals, which was opened back in 1887. If you don’t feel like going all the way across the harbor you can take a tour of it on the Hornblower Harbor Cruise to sit, relax and take in the sights.

Chances are its going to be pretty warm during Comic-Con weekend so you may be looking for a spot to cool down Coronado Beach is definitely a place to go, in my opinion, its one of the nicer beaches in San Diego, you can also rent a bike and just ride through the Coronado area which has tons of shops and eateries down its main road. The Waterfront Park is another place to cool off and it just opened up in Downtown San Diego near the County Administration Center. The Waterfront Park features picnic areas, Children’s play areas with water slide and shallow pools to splash around in, and themed gardens.

Balboa-Park-RGB-e1344467840564You could venture a bit further from the convention center and visit Balboa Park and the dozen or so museums it houses. I high recommend the Air & Space Museum, which has a Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibit, The Natural History Museum, or the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center. Right next to all those museums is the World Famous San Diego Zoo; honestly World Famous is in the name do I need to say more? A bit north of Downtown San Diego is Sea World, which is a great family destination; everyone should get soaked by Shamu or pet a dolphin once in their life. You could also head over to Mission Beach and enjoy the games, rides and food at Belmont Park, which has an enormous park right next to it.

img_5995-415x415If you find yourself in town on Preview Night of Comic-Con without a pass and are over 21 years of age you could head to Ballast Point in Little Italy for the first ever SDCC 3DS Pokémon Tournament for Craft Beer Lovers. This is an unofficial Pokémon Tournament not sanctioned by Nintendo, but still drinking and playing Pokémon with other like-minded people? Why hadn’t anyone thought of this before? Check out their Facebook page at If that isn’t you cup of tea, you could also see Monty Python Live (Mostly) over at Mission Valley Cinema, it is also playing Thursday night as well.

Thankfully Comic-Con International has chosen to be in San Diego for the past 40+ years and there is something for everyone all around the city. So don’t get blue because you couldn’t get a four-day pass with Preview night, there is something that will catch your eye and make the trip to Sunny San Diego worth it anyways.

Article by Joseph Murillo