One of the biggest bonuses about the San Diego Comic-Con experience is all of the offsite events offered all around the Gaslamp District. In fact, there is so much to do that it is worth it to go even if you don’t have a ticket to SDCC! However, all offsite events are not created equal- so I have listed for you some of my favorites you might want to check out. Please note that times, locations, and prices (and CCI badge requirement) are always subject to change so go to the respective websites for up to date info. (Listed in order of start times/dates)
**Updated: July 23**
Friends of CCI Forum Breakfast (Wed, 8-10a)
The Friends of CCI Forum community is kicking off Comic-Con with a breakfast at my favorite breakfast locations, the Broken Yolk. If you are new to SDCC or traveling alone, this would be great to help you find some line mates, strategize about Exclusives, share news, and make new friends. Some will be heading over to the Town & Country Hotel for badge pick up afterwards. This is a ‘rolling table’ system, so you are suppose to let them know you are interested in attending. Join their Forum for more details. I’ve not been to a FoCCI event before but I am hoping this will be my first. **You must RSVP so they can manage head count**
Cost: Cost of your breakfast
Location: Broken Yolk (355 6th Ave)
More info: FoCCI Forum Breakfast Page
GodzillaCon (Wed – Sun, 8:00a − 8:00p)
See the King of the Monsters- Godzilla. Interactive experience, photo ops, and giveaways. The Godzilla promo for the first movie was very impressive and this move to the back bay is intriguing. Expect some great photo opportunities!
Location: Behind the Hall H lawn near back bay
PIXELS: Electric Dreams Factory Arcade (Wed – Sat, 9a – 9p & Sun till 6p)
A classic arcade awaits you to promote the new film Pixels by Sony Entertainment. Besides being able to play retro video games, win a chance to have a walk-on role in the movie!
Location: Hardrock Hotel
More info: Pixel Movie
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Interactive (Wed – Sun)
Cowabunga dude! Paramount Studious will have an interactive zone in the Petco parking lot. In the Tutle Lair, you can watch the latest trailer, get souvenir photos, and play interactive games. Best part- Pizza Hut will be on hand to give out free pizza!
Location: Petco Park parking lot
The Boxtrolls Food Truck (Thu – Sun)
Focus Features has partnered with world famous chef, David George Gordon to offer Comic-Con attendees some insect delicacies to promote the upcoming The Boxtrolls. The food truck will be throughout the con but Chef Gordon will only be with the truck on Friday at 1pm.
Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality Bridge Escape (Thu – Sun)
Fox brings the headless horseman back to Comic-Con as fans get to take part of this interactive experience. With appearances by cast and crew, fans get to check out the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset!
Location: Petco Park
Assassins Creed Experience (Thu – Sun, 10a – 6p)
Our favorite assassin will have an interactive experience on the Hilton Gaslamp lawn. A full scale obstacle course will be set up to test your parkour skills. Participants (or survivors) will be rewarded with a limited edition t-shirt.
Location: Front of Hilton Gaslamp
More info: Promo video
GOTHAM Zip Line Experience (Thu – Sun, 10a – 6p)
Unleash your inner Batman with a zip line experience though a Gotham City landscape (130 feet long and 30 feet high)! The brave and the bold will not only have fun, but will receive a shareable photo and be rewarded with prizes. As a bonus, GOTHAM producers and cast, including stars Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, will be making appearances at the experience.
Location: Between the SD Convention Center and the Hilton Bayfront Hotel
More info: Fox site
Nintendo Gaming Lounge (Thu, 10a – 7p & Sun till 5p)
Games, games, and games for this gamer paradise. Enjoy Super Smash Bros for both Wii U and 3DS, as well as a bunch of up coming games.
Location: Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel
Game of Thrones (Thu – Sun, 11a − 5p)
Awesome is coming… Located in the Omni Hotel will be the ‘Survive the Realm’ Experience. Featuring authentic show props, multiple photo ops, and a chance to climb the ‘Wall’. As a bonus there will be an Exclusive giveaways for the first 2,000 each day! Last year, they had genuine artists on hand drawing attendees faces into GoT scenes- it was awesome!
Location: Omini Hotel
The Borderlands: The Laser Tag Arena (Thu – Sun, 11a – 5p)
For the first time, the Nerdist brings us a Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel themed Laser Tag arena for fans. About every 20 minutes two teams of 25 will enter into the arena placed at the top of Petco Park to go head-to-head Borderlands style. The experience also includes, live music, an oxygen bar, and live recordings of the Nerdist News with the Nerdist talent.
Cost: Free (but SDCC badge holders get priority access)
Location: Petco Park
More info on their site (with a great video).
Adult Swim Funhouse (Thu – Sat)
Returning for a second year, Adult Swim will have a major presence at the Petco Park parking lot across from the convention center. This outdoor ‘fair’ experience will have food, fun, and interactive experiences. Multiple challenges will force guests to crawl, slide, and sing their way to get through this giant castle. There will also be some great food truck options! Last year, this was a little known secret so don’t miss it this year.
Location: Petco Park parking lot
On the Set with VIKINGS (Thu – Sat)
This History Channel show returns again to Comic-Con but this time with an experience that allows you to walk through the world of Vikings. This ‘back-lot’ experience will include interactive displays, cast signing events, and a exclusive Viking comic book given to select fans who visit! You will also get a chance to create a custom 30 second video from your visit to share on social media.
Location: 450 2nd Street
SIN CITY EXPERIENCE AT PETCO PARK (Thu – Sun)
The film’s classic cars will be on display at Petco Park parking lot throughout Comic-Con against a 102-foot long Sin City skyline. The cars will will include a 1985 Dodge Diplomat, 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1960 Chevy Corvette, 1959 Cadillac el dorado, 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang convertible and 1949 Cadillac Sedanette. There will also be a cast autograph signings, Sin City style photo booth, a live DJ every day, and promo giveaways (t-shirts, poker chips, playing cards, mini posters and books).
Location: Petco Park
Geek & Sundry (Thu – Fri)
Returning for it’s second year is Felicia Day’s “Geek HQ” gaming/dance-party/hangout. Broken first on Twitter, the official details have yet to be released but it will definitely be returning. If it’s anything like last year, it will be a great place to play some great table top games, grab a quick drink, and dance the night away with some techno nerd musak- as well as some sponsors offering nerdy swag. Definitely plan on stopping by a couple of times throughout the week. More details to come soon.
Location: Jolt’n Joes
More info: geekandsundry.com
Her Universe Fashion Show (Thu, 6p – 8p)
For the first time ever, the prolific nerd fashion empire Her Universe, is presenting a ‘Geek Coulture’ fashion show and design competition. The two grand prize winners (out of 30) will design a future line for Her Universe to be sold at Hot Topics. Partner, Nerdist Industries, will be promoting the event so you know this will be legit!
Cost: Free (w/ CC badge) but limited to capacity
Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel
More info: Her Universe
W00tstock 6.0 (Thu, 7pm)
This annual geekfest is a favorite among Comic-Con fans. Focused on comedy monologues, there is much zanyness to appreciate from fans 18 and up. The usual suspects include Adam Savage, Will Wheaton, Paul and Storm
Location: Balboa Theatre
More info: http://w00tstock.net/ or buy tickets
CBLDF SDCC Welcome Party 2014: A Hellenic Blacklist (Thu, 8p −11p)
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is proud to sponsor the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s San Diego Comic Con Welcome Party featuring Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham & More!! We will have a small vending space at the event, where we will be selling a selection of scents whose proceeds go to the CBLDF. Get the Exclusive Goods: The first 200 attendees will receive a free gift bag, with exclusive items Image Comics and CBLDF! RSVP Now to guarantee your gift bag.
Cost: his party is FREE for CBLDF Members. Non-members: Suggested $10 – $20 donation at the door, please.
Location: Westgate Hotel
More info: RSVP and learn more.
San Diego Symphony Comic-Con Concert (Thu – Sat)
Want some art with you nerd culture? The San Diego Symphony is offering three unique concerts themed on video games, Danny Elfman, and Star Trek! This would be a nice way to get off your feet and enjoy a great experience after a long day at the show. I did a giveaway for tickets last month- the contest is over, but you can read more about the concerts.
Location: Embarcadero Marina Park South
More info: Click for Video Game Live info, Click for Danny Elfman info, and Click for Star Trek info
Gam3rcon (Thu – Sun, 12p -12a daily)
This video game convention is a con within a con offering gaming consoles, tabletop games, retro stuff, parties, and more.
Cost: $50 or $20/day
Location: Tenth Avenue Arts Center
More info: http://www.gam3rcon.com/
mtvU Fandom Awards and Linkin Park (Thu & Sun)
Grammy-winning rock band Linkin Park will headline the first ever mtvU Fandom Awards and MTV Fan Fest at Petco Park on Thursday and Sunday. MTV and mtvU will air the 60-minute mtvU Fandom Awards special highlighting Comic-Con.
Cost: Free with a CC badge
Location: Petco Park
More info: MTV News
Nerd Machine HQ (Thu – Sun)
One of the most well known offsite events, Nerd HQ is a part hangout, part game demos, and part celebrity panels. Oh and throw in some Nerd Machine merch as well. Open all day and late into the night, Nerd HQ is the best default place to go outside of Comic-Con. Plus the ‘Conversation for a Cause’ panels go to benefit Operation Smile.
Cost: Free and $22 for each “Conversations for a Cause” panel
More info: http://www.thenerdmachine.com/nerd-hq/
XBOX Lounge (Fri – Sun)
Gamers, looking for a place to hang during Comic-Con? Located in the Seaport Ballroom at the Hyatt Manchester, XBOX will have over 85 game stations featuring over 25 different games! Hulu will also be on location taking your pitches for a new character on ‘The Awesomes’. There will also be special appearances, signings, interactive experiences, charging stations, photo ops, and more!
Location: Manchester Hyatt Hotel
More info: Tournament info, hours, and featured games.
Sony Entertainment Block Party (Fri, 12-6p)
Block party with SOE team members, featuring local food, game demos, beer garden, and costume contest. All you need to do to attend Block Party is show up, but we’d love for everyone to RSVP on the Facebook event page. See you on July 25th!
Location: Look for the SOE team at the Marriot waterfall – 333 West Harbor Drive
More Info: Sony Forum
The Last Ship Experience (Fri, 7-11p)
The new TNT series, The Last Ship, is having a private event aboard the USS Midway. Interactive pandemic experience, appearances by cast, and special performances by MGMT and Grimes.
Cost: Invite only
Location: USS MIdway
Super Geeked Up [Fri 7p-10p]
The crew from Super Geeked Up we’ll be doing our live show, talking sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, and comics and playing super-fun geek-themed games with audience participation! Held at the Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming, there will be games, Mystery Boxes, prizes, comic books, and Star Trek Merchandise!
Location: Villainous Lair Comics & Gaming
More info: Super Geeked Up
Ghostbusters “Mass-Hysteria” Party (Fri, 7:30)
There will be a Ghostbusters fan gathering for the Paranormal investigators and eliminators. Hosted at the fantastic Restaurant/Bar “The Werewolf”, it’s just a few blocks away from the convention center. The Gorgeous Ecto-1 will also be on display outside of The Werewolf during the event, for anyone looking for the most epic photo op in San Diego!
Location: Werewolf Bar 627 4th Ave
More info: Their Facebook page
Marked Men V Pirate Party (Fri, 8p – Sat 1a)
Arrgh! The pirate themed boat party is back, this time themed for Game of Thrones! The party will be held in the back bay aboard an actual pirate ship (used in PotC 4). It will be a night of food, drinks, live music, stunts, props, and great fun. Costume not required but highly encouraged!
Cost: $50 − 125 but limited to only 200 guests.
Location: Aboard the HMS SURPRISE 1492 North Harbor Drive
More info and buy tix: MarkedMenParty.com
The Walking Dead Escape (Fri – Sat, 6p)
One of my favorite offsite events to participate in, The Walking Dead Escape is three floors of zombie apocalypse madness through the corridors of Petco Park. An average run takes 20-40 minutes dependent on how fast you take it, so it won’t take up a large block of time. If you want the full Comic-Con experience this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Read my post about it last year for more details.
Cost: TBA ($75-85)
Location: Petco Park
More info: http://www.thewalkingdeadescape.com/ or buy tix here
8th Annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk (Sat, 5:00 PM)
Wanna be a part of one of the largest zombie outbreaks of the year? Join this zombie walk as hundreds of undead saunter through the Gaslamp Quarter. Don’t forget your best zombie attire! Typically it ends with a big party somewhere which will be announced on their Facebook page.
Location: 180 First Ave., San Diego CA 92101
More info: Facebook page
Digital LA Comic-Con Party (Sat, 7-9p)
Cost: Free but must RSVP
More info: Digital LA
Recovery-Con (Sat, 8p)
A good friend of mine is hosting a great “meet up” for those in drinking/substance recovery (as well as supporting friends/family). While the party scene at Comic-Con can be a lot of fun, it also is not a healthy environment for those struggling with addiction. So come to this safe space to geek out together, share your story, and rally together as nerds in recovery.
Location: Luna Grill 350 University Ave (Hillcrest Location, 3 miles from the convention)
More info: Nerds in Recovery
Nerdist Podcast Live! (Sat, 10:30p)
There is no host nerdier than the Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick. Providing year round nerdy podcast content with stars from comics, TV, and film, Comic-Con is one of his most special shows. Joined by his usual partners, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, he always puts on a worth while experience for the fans. Last year, he hosted Matt Smith so I am sure this year will bring another amazing guest.
Cost: $27.50 (not including surcharge)
Location: Balboa Theater
More info: San Diego Theater Events page or buy tickets
Agents of SHIELD Fan Party (Sun, 5-7pm)
After massively underestimating the response to their ‘Fan Dinner’ (table for 200 please…) the new plans for SHIELD fans is an official party to close out the Con. This could be a great way to debrief a great few days in San Diego. Plus, there will be random door prizes!
Cost: Free but must RSVP
Location: Henry’s Pub (All ages till 9pm), 618 5th Ave
More Info and to RSVP: ShieldTV.net
Sold Out Events:
Funko Fundays Event (Fri)
And while this not an event, it’s always good to give back to those in need…
Annual Blood Drive (Thu – Sun)
In the midst of all the nerdy fun, don’t forget to give back to the community. The Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (Coronado A-B, 4th Fl). You can walk-in or make an appointment on their site. Even though the Blood Drive get’s overshadowed by all the big events, Comic-Con collects an amazing amount of one of our most precious resources for those in need.
Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt
Times: Thursday (9am-6pm), Friday (9am-6pm), Saturday (9am-6pm), Sunday (10am-3:30pm)
It would be great if you could add the day of the week on these events—for me SDCC is always Wed-Sun & not July-something – July-something-else, so it makes it easier to see what events are on which days.
Makes sense to me- thanks for the suggestion.
Thanks for all the good info as always, Tony. Will you be stopping by the Wired Cafe this year? If so, hope to see you there!
I would sure love to- can you send me info on it to Crazy4ComicCon (at) Hotmail (dot) com? Thanks!
So upset SherlockeDCC sold out so quickly! Heard it was AMAZING last year.
HopCon 2.0, but it too is sadly sold out. Hate to be missing out, it was a good time last year.
Nice! I’m determined to make it to some of these offsite events this year
I am sharing this post you made 🙂
Hi Tony! Thanks for all the great info! I have a question about the GoT Fan Experience. Do you know what time and days it is open? Do you need a badge to get in? Also, do you know when the tickets will go on sale for Nerd HQ’s Conversation for a Cause this year? I haven’t seen any news updates yet.
You shouldn’t need a badge for the GoT and it will probably be open from around 9-5 but we’ll see. I would imagine Nerd HQ will be announced and go on sale this week- like Wednesday (but again, we’ll see).