Survive and conquer Comic-Con
Comic-Con is almost upon us and the masses of fandom are ready to descend upon the citizens of San Diego for a week of everything pop culture. Between the sweaty hoards and roaming mobs of fanboys and girls, it can be more frightening than a zombie stampede and harder to navigate than the New Jersey Turnpike.
After more than a decade of experience of attending the annual Nerd Prom, here are tricks from a seasoned Comic-Con veteran. Learn from my mistakes and suffering--these tips will help you make the convention experience the best it can be.
Wear comfortable shoes
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but think of navigating the hallowed halls of the San Diego Convention Center as a game of dodgeball. With strollers, giant bags, and unwieldy cosplay accessories all over the place, be prepared to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge some more. The days are long and the nights can be even longer,and without a comfy pair of shoes, your feet will be swollen in no time.. Pack a pair of shoes a half size bigger for the late shift. Your feet will thank you.
Did you know that there is life behind the convention center? Theres actually a lovely bayside route and can get you from the Bayfront all the way to the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Its far less packed than the front side of the convention center and a lot easier to navigate than a trip through the middle of the hall. Take back aisles to avoid the Hasbro Exclusive line and gawking fans. And remember, DO NOT JAYWALK! Not only for your own safety but the local police will ticket you.
Save your pennies
This will be an expensive week. Budget accordingly. Avoid the hotel minibar and $8 bottles of water by making a quick stop to Ralphs on G Street. Its a full grocery store with everything you will need for food, drinks, and supplies. When taking taxis, try and have as close to exact change as possible. There are tales of drivers taking advantage of unsuspecting riders by conveniently not having change. If paying by credit card, make sure to ask the driver if they accept plastic before getting into the cab. Beware of pedicabs too. They are massively expensive and often dont have receipts to give.
Scope out celebrities
Want to feel like part of the scene? Avoid the bars and clubs in the Gaslamp district. If you want to rub elbows with your favorite comic creators, look to the hotel bars. The Marriott, Hyatt, and Bayfront all have lively bar scenes. For prime celebrity spotting, I recommend lunch at Nobu in the Hard Rock Hotel. Its the perfect place to watch the beautiful people walk by.
Take a break
The halls, lines, crowds, and bustle can all be really overwhelming. Make the most of the weather and location. Sit by the pool, go to the San Diego Zoo, or take the Rail to Old Town. There is a lot of programming outside the convention center halls too. Check out the Gaslamp District for Comic-Con related events.
Use the Con Program and plan out your day. Have a backup in mind in case you cant get into that panel. Pack a survival kit that includes water, aspirin, Sharpies, band aids, chargers, and snacks. This can help you through the longest of panel/signing lines.
Most of all, have fun. Be patient with your fellow con-goers, take pictures, and drink plenty of water! Have tips of your own? We would love to hear them!