Over the past couple of decades, convention culture has truly blown up throughout the United States. You can find conventions for just about any aspect of pop culture these days. Through it all, San Diego Comic Con remains the grand-daddy of them all. Each year, over one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand fanatics of all things comic books, film, Anime, science fiction, and more descend upon San Diego. The result is a massive spectacular that runs from Wednesday to Sunday. Comic-Con in San Diego is more than just a convention. Movie studios preview upcoming blockbusters, celebrities show up for panels, and some of the big announcements in nerd culture are brought to this iconic cultural stage. For a first-time attendee, the experience of attending Comic Con can be extraordinary.
It can also be pretty intense. To that end, you’ll want to make things a little easier by understanding how to have a good time, while getting through the bedlam in one piece.
About San Diego Comic-Con
San Diego Comic-Con began in 1970 as a 1-day mini-con that was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel in Downtown San Diego. Known as San Diego’s Golden State Minicon, the event drew such names as Forrest J. Ackerman, and brought together approximately 100 fans. The event was successful enough that founders used the momentum to establish the first true San Diego Comic-Con later that same year. Known as San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con, the event drew approximately 300 people. The event only served to grow bigger and bigger from there. By 1991, the event had officially become large enough that it needed the largest San Diego venue possible. To that end, organizers moved things over to the San Diego Convention Center, which is where the convention has been located ever since.
In addition to generating considerable revenue for the city of San Diego, the non-profit organization also funds the Alternative Press Expo and WonderCon.
Comic-Con was founded on the basis that comic books deserved a true showcase for their artists, writers, and other figures. When you look back at the early Comic Con events, you’ll see a list of guests that includes virtually every figure who has ever contributed something significant to comic books over the last 50 years. SDCC continues to emphasize the world of comic books, but it has expanded over the years to include a wide variety of fandoms and genres. San Diego Comic-Con offers an elaborate programming schedule, special guests, Anime, an art show, autographs, a children’s film festival, a normal film festival, special screenings, games, a masquerade that shows off some of the best cosplays in the world, and so much more. The dealer’s room is also an essential to any San Diego Comic-Con visit. If you love conventions, you haven’t truly experienced one, until you’ve gone to Comic-Con. However, there are a number of things that you should keep in mind.
San Diego Comic-Con Transportation Tips And More
Just getting tickets to San Diego Comic-Con can be a challenge. Get a membership ID at their website, which will make you eligible to purchase tickets. Tickets are only available through online pre-sale, and you can expect them to sell out within an hour or two.
Booths, tables, and the masquerade are three events with deadlines to consider. Keep this in mind, if you plan to participate in any of those things. Friday and Saturday tend to be the busiest days of the con, with many of the biggest panels and screenings being held during that period. You’ll also want to take care of your accommodations months in advance. Hotels tend to sell out early, and they also tend to be enormously expensive. As you work on your SDCC budget, take this into account. Consider staying with friends, or at least think about bringing people who can split room costs.
In terms of traveling to/from SDCC, here are a few tips:
- Public transportation is your best bet to get to/from the convention. Law enforcement are on patrol specifically targeting those who have been drinking during Comic Con festivities.
- Parking is extremely expensive, and it tends to fill up quickly.
- Most con block hotels offer shuttle transportation.
- A trolley pass can get you to the convention from spots such as Mission Valley and Old Town.
- MTS boosts Green Line trolley services during the convention.
- MTS also offers bus routes from several locations.
After the planning and logistics are taken care of, you can truly enjoy one of the great San Diego (and really American) experiences.