Comic Con 2018 What You Need to Know

Image by Caprice Conley

We all know that San Diego Comic Con is just around the corner, July 19th through July 22.  In just over a week, it will begin.  There are a few tips that we’ve gathered through the years that we’d like to share with everyone.

Pro-Tip, bring two back packs one with items you get from Comic Con, that one you drop off at your hotel or car, taking out the just what you’ll need. Then you have one to carry just the bare essentials, this one you will bring with you back to the convention center, and have room for more goodies..  Now what exactly should you have in your backpack at all times?  A refillable water bottle, a small med kit, with any medicines you require, lip balm, hand sanitizer, band-aids, and even a packet of moist towelettes will come in handy and fit in your zipper compartment.

Through the years I’ve found few things I bring from home can make life simpler from me, such as rubber bands for posters, zip lock sandwich bag, which will come in hand for all the small things you are given by vendors such as pins, coins etc.  That way you won’t have them floating around your bag.

While we are on the subject of sandwich bags, don’t forget snacks.  Protein bars, energy bars, and trail mix, are going to give you comfort while hanging out in a line.  Don’t forget to keep your energy up and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

A couple items to keep in the back of your bag: bags and boards, people will give you comics whether you want the or not.  The comic con quick guide, this will be the smaller of the two guides you receive, and you’ll be able to reference quickly.  I suggest bringing a highlighter and a pen to make notes.  There is an app, but the wifi isn’t the best sometimes and while much of this information is on the app, you may not be able to access it.

Sharpies, a couple different colors.  I recommend, black, silver or gold.  That way when you meet your favorite artist you have one on hand to get that special item signed.

Charged battery packs,  and cell phone chargers should also be in your backpack, as they don’t let people sit on the ground and plug in like they used to, so bringing the best battery pack, charged, is highly recommended.

These are just a few things I’ve found that have made my life easier; simply by carrying them in my backpack.

A great pair of shoes is a must. At least 2 pair. While most will want to wear a brand new shoe, I recommend wearing a shoe that you have broken in and you are comfortable wearing.  However you can never go wrong buying an insole.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, deodorant is a must.  Frequent showers will make con pleasant for you and for everyone else with you, or, not with you.

Know before you go.  Take a good look at the convention hall map, as well as the Gaslamp area map, which is easily accessible on google maps.  Have an idea how far you are, and time it accordingly.  There will be a lot of people in town.  If your hotel is on a shuttle route, know the pick up spots, and times.

At some point you will want to eat.  Prepare to retreat back into the Gaslamp.  With the amount of people in town it won’t be so easy to grab food as you might think.  Hence, a protein bar here might be quite helpful.  If you want more than just the hot dogs and the usual unhealthy food, I suggest walking over to the Hilton or the Marriot Marquis.  They both have a quick grab and go area with healthier selections.

Convention Center by Caprice Conley

Other restaurants in the immediate area are Mary Janes at the Hard Rock Cafe.  They always have something fun going on.  Further into the Gaslamp  there is the Werewolf, bar and grill which have great sliders.   There are a lot of food trucks, some offering free food, but here is my famous bonus tip: the Ralphs grocery store, thats is hidden in the middle the Gaslamp, seems to be the geekiest grocery store ever.  They sell groceries and know things.  For the week they have all kinds of hot and cold items ready to go, and much cheaper than dining in the Gaslamp.

Gaslamp by Caprice Conley

Be Kind.  Don’t forget to ask if you are a fan of a cosplayer, always ask if it is okay to take a picture.  They will usually always say yes, but in the off chance they say no, they probably just did a 5 hour shoot and will be grateful that you asked.

Be polite and try not drink too much.  Don’t waste your comic con and the people who are hanging out with you, by getting drunk most of the time.  It’s hot, it’s humid.  Don’t get sick,  stay hydrated and have fun.

In my opinion this is the funnest event of the year.  Anything you do will be the best thing you do all year.  Have a back up to your back up. Or go into the convention and see what happens, what you can discover.  At worst you’ll leave with great pictures and good friends.  Keep an eye out for each other and have a good con.

 

San Diego Without Comic-Con

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For many of us the one time we come to San Diego is when the yearly Comic-Con convention takes place here.  Hundreds of thousands of people descend on the Gaslamp district, in search of the pop culture mecca that is San Diego.

But what about visiting when there is no convention.  What about Comic Non?  I’m spending a week here, and it’s a very bustling town with a lot do to, even without the con.  It has a lot of culture and amazing food. It is also the best time to check out the hotels that you may be staying in during the beloved convention.

That is one of the things I’m doing while I am down here.  Last night I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel.  Its usually a hotel that is always picked on the hotel lottery, but not that many people get it.  It is a party hotel, and for me that isn’t ideal.  However in off season it was great.  The bed was comfy and it was nice and roomy.  I also found out that you can rent a dj system or guitars if you feel the need.  I thought that was pretty awesome.

Today I’ve moved over to the Keating hotel.  A quaint hotel with the feel of Palm Springs and sounds of New York City.  It is right in the heart of the Gaslamp district.  In walking distance of all the spots you would ever want to get to.

I just happen to be staying here on the day where the Padres are playing the Dodgers at the ever accessible Petco Park ( sorry no zombies this time).  Luckily we can walk there, as traffic is crazy during this type of event.  In all honesty, the Comic-Con organizers do a much better job of directing traffic than regular event planners. Last night was almost impossible to get to the Hard Rock.  We made it, but it wasn’t pretty.  And when there is a baseball game letting out, the foot traffic is insane. Oh and one way roads everywhere don’t help, nope.  Not one bit.

I’d also like to mention a great place for breakfast, in addition to the amazing Richard Walkers for pancakes.  A ways up on 5th street is a place called Snooze.  Great food, mostly breakfast.  They are big on using cage free eggs, recycled paper, and saving where ever they can.  I like that in a restaurant.  It was definitely fresh tasting and had a great selection of food.  Highly recommend.

So if you enjoy coming to San Diego Comic Con in July, its definitely worth it to stay in San Diego when the convention is not ongoing so that you an truly enjoy the city.  It won’t have sci-fi cafe’s everywhere or giant Viking boats in random places, but you will definitely find a lot of fun things to do.