2014 – Beyond the Convention Center in San Diego

With each passing year of San Diego’s Comic Con International, the convention which once comfortably shared the current convention center with other conventions, now even with the convention center expanded to twice the size it once was, the convention over flows into many surrounding hotels and venues.

This year, the Omni Hotel will house a playback room, for overflow crowds who were unable to make it into some of the most anticipated panels.  Gotham City will be recreated, in miniature, between the convention center and the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and fans will be able to zip-line through it (130 feet long, and 30 feet off the ground!)

The parking lot beside Petco Park has for the past several years been home to a little village of fun to stop by experiences.  Last year Falling Skies and Gravity, with a 3D trailer available for viewing, were highlights.

Over on 2nd Street (across the Trolley Tracks from the Marriott, roughly) will be the Vikings of History Channel, returning for a second year, and a third season.  Take some time to go get made up as a Viking, and maybe even walk away with a souvenir from your time in the past.

Pop-up stores are a Comic-Con phenomenon that can be hard to explain to someone who has never attended a convention of this sort, but if you see one, take a moment to go in — or stand in line.  You may get green screened into a scene from your favorite movie, or immersed in one of the key locations from a movie, you may find yourself in an art gallery, or product show room (often with food and drink available) ala last years appearance by Samsung Galaxy — which hosted a Veronica Mars party during Comic-Con.  You might also find yourself standing next to someone far more interesting than you ever imagined, like one of the stars of one of your favorite TV shows.

Throughout the gaslamp district, which across the Trolley Tracks and up 5th street, from the Convention Center you will find dozens, perhaps hundreds of food options, and tens of thousands of hungry convention goers.  Fortunately not everyone eats on the same schedule, as mealtimes bend around panel times.

In previous years Syfy has re-branded the restaurant in the Hard Rock hotel based on one or more of the SyFy shows.  During the days of the tv show Eureka the restaurant was Cafe Diem (from the show), complete with the barstools fans recognized from countless scenes.  This year Tin Fish is anticipated to have a Blacklist tie-in.

This re-branding can be seen in lots of different places and ways.  From the elevators in nearby hotels, to the exteriors of many buildings with facades – sometimes changing within a day based on the event going on, all the way out to the airport this year, which will feature TNTs Legends.

The skyline of San Diego visibly changes during Comic-Con, banners that decorate the sides of hotels and buildings can be seen from Cabrillo National Monument across the bay, which is several miles away as the crow flies.