San Diego International Comic-Con returns to the San Diego Convention Center on July 24-27, 2014, for its 45th year (though not all of those years have been at the Convention Center)! As Comic-Con has grown in popularity and size, the largest comics and pop culture event in the nation has spilled out into the Gaslamp Quarter and beyond. The best part about this expansion outward is that almost all of these events do not require the coveted Comic-Con badge!
Here is just a sampling of the fun happening outside the con:
Outside the Convention Center
- Nerd HQ, presented by The Nerd Machine, will return to Petco Park in San Diego July 24-27 with panels, upcoming SEGA Video Games, a Maker Studios stage, gadgets from Intel, and a table top gaming gallery.
- The Geek & Sundry Lounge will once again take over Jolt N’ Joes for the whole weekend with everything from video games to table top games to spotlights on their new and returning shows.
- On Thursday, July 24, Super Video Game Land at Mission Brewery will celebrate the video games of our past with over 50 unique works of art from many of your favorite classic games, music from the arcade days of the 80’s and early 90’s, classic video game consoles available to play, and of course, craft beer.
- The Hard Rock Hotel will host not one but two Outside Comic-Con events. SyFy will take over MaryJanes Cafe, while Columbia Pictures is bringing a special “Electric Dreams Factory Arcade” in conjunction with the movie, Pixels (Comic-Con badge required for Arcade).
- Gam3rCon, July 24-27, features four floors of gaming entertainment, including a Video Game Arena, Tabletop Gaming Lounge, gaming industry panels, live theatre, gaming-themed artwork, and rooftop parties.
- Geek culture meets brewing at Stone Brewing Co.’s Hop-Con 2.0 – The w00tstout Launch Festival on July 23 at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. This event marks the second annual release of w00tstout, an imperial stout brewed in collaboration with actor Wil Wheaton, comedian Aisha Tyler and Drew Curtis of Fark.com.
- Don’t take off your amazing cos-play outfit quite yet! Fly over to the Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival on July 26 for 40+ breweries and unlimited samples of more than 80 craft beers, a Caped Crusader Costume Contest with great prizes, live music, and mouth-watering food.
Out of This World Music and Live Entertainment
- Nerds Unite…at the Historic Balboa Theatre for the ultimate in Geekdom! Over the weekend, the theatre will host w00tstock 6.0 with Adam Savage, Wil Wheaton, and Paul and Storm (July 24); Comedy Central’s @midnight Live with Chris Hardwick (July 25); and Nerdist Podcast Live (July 26).
- The San Diego Symphony Summer Pops series shifts from pop music to video gaming and film culture during Comic-Con with Video Games Live (July 24), Danny Elfman’s Music (July 25), and Star Trek (July 26).
- On July 24, visitors to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla can celebrate Comic-Con and the ocean during a special Kelp Tank Dive Show with Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry – television producer, ocean advocate, passionate diver and son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.
Getting to the Comic-Con Extravaganza
With two stops located outside of the San Diego Convention Center and expanded service during the week of the convention, the light-rail San Diego trolley is the best way to access Comic-Con International. The rail line gets in the Comic-Con spirit with stop signage translated into Klingon and Dothraki for the run of the event.