Comic Con can either be totally fun or a complete nightmare. It’s all about how you approach it. This is my third year at Comic Con, and I have learned a few things over these years that can make it better for everyone. Here are my top ten tips toward making your Comic Con experience more enjoyable.
1) Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking for miles and miles, and for the most part, you will be standing up all day. Don’t even try to do it in flip-flops or high heels, unless you want to spend the next day in a wheelchair. People will step on you, and if you are wearing flip-flops, have fun with that.
2) Wear clothing that you wouldn’t mind sitting on the floor in. Sorry for the grammar. It’s just that there is nowhere to sit at the convention center, and by mid-day, you will see legions of people sitting down wherever they can – on the floor, mostly. If you don’t mind doing this in a $450 Jil Sander skirt, then good for you. The rest of us will wear shorts and crappy t-shirts.
3) Take public transportation to the convention center. Don’t even THINK of parking downtown. Park your car at Qualcomm Center, at Grossmont Transit Center, at El Cajon Transit Center, or at SDSU Transit Center and take the trolley/train to Comic Con. They are running special hours and special trains just for the convention. Parking at the Transit Centers is FREE. The trolley/train is $5 for an all-day, unlimited pass. Parking downtown is nonexistent and if you do find it, super expensive. If you need to plot your course from another location, try this website – http://www.sdcommute.com/TripPlanner/index.asp, or you can call this number: (619)233-3004 for more information.
4) Bring some food to eat and bottled water to drink. All of the food in the convention center is pretty much crap – think greasy, fried stuff, pizza, etc. I say: unfit for human consumption. Further, the line for these concession stands snakes around the floor of Comic Con, and you will be waiting for sometimes 45 minutes for yucky food. Spare yourself the upset stomach and the food rage by bringing some trail mix, an apple and a bottle of water with you. Refill your bottle of water in the bathroom if you have to.
5) Lunch and dinner – leave the convention center. There are so many beautiful restaurants in the Gaslamp, and they will serve you a delicious, civilized meal at a table where you can sit down and put your feet up. Here is a great resource for you: http://www.gaslamp.org/directory/dining.html
6) Pace yourself. If you have a four-day pass, consider yourself lucky! It is impossible to see everything, even with four days in which to do it. If you don’t have a four-day pass, or if you only have a few hours, make a plan and hit the booths that interest you, take in the panel discussions you love, and call it a day. It can be exhausting.
7) If you come with kids, you can leave them at day care. That is, if they need a nap or are getting cranky. Childcare is provided at Comic Con. More information: http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_child.shtml
8) Lighten your load. I know it sounds obvious, but you might want to think about bringing a smaller purse, a smaller camera case, and leaving the laptop at home for Comic Con. There is nowhere to put anything down, and it is wall-to-wall people. A pickpocket would have a field day here, because people are always bumping up against each other. Space is tight, so pare down. Keep your purse zipped shut and close to your body if you can.
9) Take a lot of pictures. Cameras are not restricted at Comic Con, so fire away! There is so much to take in that having photos to look at after the fact is very handy. It’s like, stimulus overload. Pictures can serve as a visual diary when your brain is fried.
10) Get all the free stuff you can. Just about everybody is giving away something for free at Comic Con. You can walk away with cool stickers, posters, bags and even inflatable swords from some of the vendors and booths. These make great gifts, especially for kids, so stock up while you can.
I hope you enjoy your Comic Con experience – and I hope these tips help to make it fun, happy, and stomach-pain free. See you there, everyone!!