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Comic-Con 2018: The ultimate visitor’s guide to downtown San Diego

Large crowds cross the street from the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter to Comic-Con International 2017 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., on July 22, 2017.
Large crowds cross the street from the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter to Comic-Con International 2017 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., on July 22, 2017.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

This week, hundreds of thousands will descend upon downtown San Diego for Comic-Con International.

This translates not only to a huge increase in foot traffic for the convention center but the entire Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego as hotels, restaurants and bars roll out the welcome wagon for locals and out-of-towners alike. Planning what panels to see and which exhibition booths to stop by is just half the battle.

Thankfully, the San Diego Union-Tribune is here to save the day. The reporters from our sister paper have rounded up all the travel tips that convention attendees need to know before hitting the town, ranging from Comic-Con food and drink specials (hello, Deadpool Daquiri) to free activities to do away from the convention chaos.

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RELATED: Comic-Con Confidential: Throwing a pop culture blowout with $16 million, 4,500 volunteers, 62 buses, various Hollywood A-listers and ‘rock stars’ »

Bird Scooter riders navigate the boardwalk in Pacific Beach.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

How to get around

After a long day of walking the convention floor and standing in line, getting around after hours by foot doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Thankfully, downtown boasts a ton of other options, including dockless bikes, e-scooters, pedicabs — including those specially branded for “Star Trek: Discovery” — and the San Diego Trolley. Click here for full details on getting around downtown. And for those looking to use dockless bikes and e-scooters, check out the special rules on where to park during Comic-Con here.

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The dining room at Full Moon Sushi & Kitchen Bar in downtown San Diego.
(Full Moon Sushi)

Where to eat

From authentic Mexican to the quintessential breakfast, San Diego Union-Tribune food writer Pam Kragen shares her favorite picks that are just a hop and a skip (or a quick flight if you come packing your superpowers) from the convention center. (Because Mrs. Field’s Cookies don’t count as a food group.) Download the recommendations list here.

For those looking for something a little more out of the ordinary, many restaurants are offering Comic-Con-themed food specials to coincide with the convention. To get the details on where to find Super Mario Brothers meatballs and Captain America shield waffles, click here.

Searsucker San Diego's lineup of Comic-Con-inspired drinks.
(Searsucker)
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Where to drink

Many Gaslamp-area restaurants and bars are ready to welcome the Comic-Con crowd with open arms — and specialty drink menus. Some of the special Con-only offerings include Deadpool’s Daiquiri and Wakanda’s Potion. Get the inside scoop on more of the themed concoctions here.

However, seeing as San Diego is one of the biggest purveyors of craft beer in the United States, it seems only right to stop by a brewery or two while in town. Thankfully, there’s a plethora of options downtown ranging from big names such as Karl Strauss or local favorites like Monkey Paw. Get the full recommended tasting list here.

Pedestrians stroll along San Diego's North Embarcadero.
(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

What to do

Those looking to hit the pause button on the Comic-Con frenzy needn’t look too far for alternative (and free!) entertainment options. The best part? There’s no Comic-Con badge required. Get the full details on how to visit Balboa Park, Torrey Pines bluffs and much more here.

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For night owls looking for fun after the final panels of the evening, downtown San Diego has a list of events and parties just as wide-ranging as the panels at the convention center. Whether you’re on the hunt for a TRON-themed dance-off or a steampunk after-party, get the details on the nighttime happenings here.


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