Heading to Comic-Con? Here are pro tips on surviving, thriving amid the madness

Heading to Comic-Con? Here are pro tips on surviving, thriving amid the madness
Fans take an escalator to the convention floor at Comic-Con International July 24, 2014 in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Want to navigate the Con like a pro? These tips will help you make the most of your trip to the biggest pop culture fest in the world.


The two best items you can have are your schedule and a map for Comic-Con. Many events spill over into nearby hotels and Petco Park. Make sure your favorite panels don’t overlap and you have time to get in line. Check the official Comic-Con website for all the latest updates.

Pro tip: Use Comic-Con's "My Schedule" and the mobile app to keep track of your favorite events.



My favorite way to get to the Con is the trolley ( Get your Compass Card to tap and pay your fare for the bus and trolley. The trolley operates an express "Green Line" to the convention hall. Buses and hotel shuttles offer convenient transportation and you don't have to deal with the hassle of parking. Uber and Lyft are good alternatives. Just be aware of "surge pricing" during the day when rates increase.

Pro tip: If you do drive, don't park in the "red, white, or blue" zones. Be aware of the "Hospitality Zone" downtown where parking meters are enforced until 8 p.m.


I always carry energy bars, water, battery pack (see more in Power tip), and metallic Sharpies (for autographs). I start my day with Emergen-C and wear my best sneakers. There is a lot of walking.

Pro tip: Don't want to get Nerd Flu or Con Cough? Hand sanitizer is a must.

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I use my phone all the time to post updates, video, text and track the latest news. One of the best items I carry is an extra battery pack for my phone. They're small and give you the extra power you need when you're doing a marathon day at the Con. And you're not stuck in one place using a wall charger.

Pro tip: Recharge it every night. The only thing worse than having one dead battery is having two dead batteries.

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It's too bad Sony, Paramount and Marvel will not be having big shows in the huge Hall H this year. But this makes room for DC/Warner Bros to "WOW" the crowd. I expect to see new updates for "Batman v Superman" and "Suicide Squad." I'm looking forward to Fox showing new video for "Fantastic Four," "X-Men" and maybe even "Deadpool." "The Hunger Games" will be a sellout crowd. "Winter Is Coming" with the "Game of Thrones" panel and the zombies will be in full force for "The Walking Dead" panel. But for me, the best one will be seeing what's been happening in a galaxy far, far away. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" takes over Hall H on Friday.

Pro tip: Get your wristbands for priority seating in Hall H the night before your favorite event. Details at


Be kind. Be patient. Be the reason someone had a great time at Comic-Con.

Aaron Watanabe wrote this article for the California News Group, publisher of the Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.