Comic-Con 2017 Survival Guide

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Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man cosplayers attend Comic-Con International on July 22, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — Starting Wednesday, the geeks shall inherit the earth — or at least the downtown Convention Center and surrounding areas — for five days.

It’s that special time of year when 130,000 people attend the San Diego Comic-Con International Convention, beginning July 19 with Preview Night and wrapping up Sunday, July 23.

And whether you’re a veteran like me (year 17 and counting!) or a newbie, here are a few tips to help make sure you find the convention the happiest place on earth.

Get comfortable

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing comfortable shoes. Whether you want to or not, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Sure, those heels may be comfortable for dancing, but imagine standing seven to eight hours in them. And depending on what you want to do, that’s a real possibility.

Layer it on

Whether it’s sunscreen or clothing, you can’t go wrong with lots of layers. You’ll be outside more than you think and you don’t want a nasty sunburn. Some of you may want to stand in long lines waiting to get into Ballroom 20 and Hall H, the most popular rooms in the Con. In that case, wearing layers is a must. You’ll be outside in the heat, then (possibly) sleeping out in the cold, moist air, then back in the heat when the sun rises and eventually packed into a room with the air conditioning on full blast. You’ll wish you had that sweater or those sweatpants to keep you warm.

Snack attack

Food at the Con can be a bit pricey. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, some of the restaurants in the area give discounts to Comic-Con badge wearers. You can also bring snacks into the room (but nothing stinky, please, unless you want side eyes). I recommend fresh fruit, a sandwich that won’t spoil and a few granola bars to tide you over.


If you haven’t gotten a portable cell phone charger by now, you may be out of luck. You’ll be snapping photos, Facebook Live-ing (not in restricted areas of course), Snapchatting, etc. and your batteries will drain quickly. You don’t want to be caught without a charge when your favorite celebrity walks by or when someone wearing a cool costume is doing something incredible and the only thing you have to tell your friends is a memory.

Can you hear me now?

Cell phone service and Wi-Fi can be sketchy at Comic-Con. If you’re with a group of people, designate a time and place to meet and keep that appointment. Try to meet somewhere other than a crowded area where people are trying to squeeze into a room or get by you. The worst time to tweet is between the panels because everyone in the room is trying to let everyone know what they just heard or saw. Instead, pick moments during the panel to tweet, discreetly of course — and not exclusive content.

Need a ride?

There are plenty of ways to get to and from the Con without busting your budget. Getting an MTS trolley pass is the easiest way to go. The trolley drops you off steps away from the convention center and will run a special schedule during the Con. In addition, shuttle buses will stop at or near many of the hotels in the area so you won’t have to haul your posters and other knickknacks for blocks. Uber, Lyft and taxis are other options but beware of the costs.