SAN DIEGO — The sold-out Comic-Con event at the San Diego Convention Center is expected to bring more than 100,000 people to the area along with a sizable economic impact, local tourism officials say.

It headlines a marquee tourism weekend in San Diego County, coinciding with Friday’s sold-out opening day of the 83rd racing season at the Del Mar Racetrack. Officials say they’re “extremely excited” for the return of Comic-Con, which hasn’t operated in its traditional iteration since 2019 due to the pandemic.

“The event brought more than 135,000 attendees and had a regional impact of about $150 million (in 2019),” Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority said. “Comic-Con has always been the highest demand week of our year, and therefore it traditionally produces the highest average daily rate that we see of the year.” 

Both events typically draw thousands of people, which means more bookings for nearby businesses.

Brigantine Restaurant in Del Mar has a view of the track and is booked for opening day. They’re already taking reservations for race days into August, according to manager Todd Fowler.

“It’s most definitely our biggest time of the year,” Fowler said. “We’re getting everything together and making sure that we have enough chairs, enough tables. We are fully stocked.”

Coker said hotel bookings have not returned to 2019 levels, but she hopes that will change by the weekend.

Businesses in the Gaslamp District are preparing for Comic-Con and the influx of people the event brings. Sara Arjmand, director of marketing at Greystone Prime Steakhouse & Seafood on Fifth Avenue, said they usually start preparations for Comic-Con in June.

“We get everything ordered and get the staff ready,” Arjmand said. “It’s a three or four day-event that Gaslamp is cluttered with 150,00 people, so it definitely takes a lot of preparation.”

Heading to Comic-Con this year? See FOX 5’s handy guide for expected attendees, including useful information on parking, public transportation and recent COVID-19 guidance.