SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Comic-Con is finally here.
San Diego's annual comic book and pop culture mecca routinely pulls out all the stops to give attendees and those without passes a one-of-a-kind experience. Nearly 150,000 fans pack the convention center every year for to check out panels, collectibles, and get unique experiences with their favorite artists and celebrities.
This year proves to be no exception, with a number of anticipated visits and events being announced in the weeks leading up to the Con.
WHAT TO PACK
You'll need supplies if you're heading downtown - badge holder or not.
Consider packing some essentials in a backpack to have so you're not left to fight lines in stores:
- Light snacks
- Hand sanitizer
- Deodorant (Don't be that person...)
- Portable chargers or batteries
- Cash for places that don't accept electronic payments
Also consider packing snacks to avoid fighting the lines at quick-top shops and vendor carts.
If you are looking to stop somewhere to eat that is getting in the spirit of SDCC, we've compiled some delicious options throughout the Gaslamp District offering themed-items.
Also, dress for the occasion. That doesn't necessarily mean your best Batman cosplay (unless you're planning for that.) Traversing downtown for the day could require:
- Sturdy, comfortable shoes
- Light, comfortable clothing
- A light jacket for the evening
- A hat
Just make sure you're comfortable throughout the day. (And don't forget your badge if you're attending!)
INSIDE THE CON
If you're heading into the convention center doors anytime between July 19 - 23, congratulations. You've overcome incredible obstacles.
The fun starts Wednesday night with preview night festivities. The exhibit hall will open at 6 p.m. with preview night footage and displays open to 4-day plus preview attendees. Even still, the lines for the rest of the week have already begun...
— 10News (@10News) July 19, 2017
Whether it's your first or tenth time at SDCC, knowing where things are ahead of time is important. Comic-Con has a handy map already available on their website for attendees to download. It's SUPER helpful.
RELATED: Map of San Diego Comic-Con booths
Two things you'll notice: A lot of the big-name companies making an appearance will be found toward the middle of the exhibition hall. Marvel, DC, Netflix, Image Comics, etc. This is where the majority of foot traffic will be, so know that now.
To the left of the hall, Artists Alley gives fans the opportunity to speak with their favorite comic artists and even purchase their art. All the way to the right of the hall is where video game publishers and demonstrations will be staged, which can be a highly trafficked area as well.
When it comes to the panels, knowing what starts when is important too. We have assembled a handy list of the big name sessions being held throughout the week you'll definitely want to check out.
There are also autograph sessions to consider, as celebrities, and comic artists and writers will be available for fans looking to snag a signature.
OUTSIDE THE CON
Whether you have a pass or not, there are countless opportunities to nerd-out around downtown San Diego during Comic-Con.
Between events set up inside nearby hotels or outside along Harbor Drive, there's something for everyone. Most of these events don't require a badge to enjoy and run throughout the week.
As always, there's a chance you catch something unplanned or a celeb sighting or two if you brave the Gaslamp District crowds.
Another big outside advantage this year, free Wi-Fi. Cox will open up free, unlimited wireless internet at its hotspot locations in Gaslamp Quarter, East Village and Little Italy from July 17 - 24.
If you head over before to spend some quality time people watching - which is arguably just as fun as the convention itself. We've already looked at some prime spots mapped out for you.
Keep your eyes peeled for surprise parades, events, and celebrity sightings throughout San Diego.
GETTING AROUND AND PARKING
A big issue on everyone's mind is traffic and parking. You can't get out and enjoy the Con if you don't park your ride, right?
San Diego Metropolitan Transit Service will be running extra service to stops throughout the Gaslamp District throughout the week, whether it be Trolley, Coaster, or bus coverage.
San Diego Comic-Con will also have their own shuttle service from 63 different locations in downtown, Mission Valley, Shelter Island and Harbor Island that's free to badge holders.
Comic-Con has more information on parking for downtown areas on their website.
EXPERIENCE IT WITHOUT BEING THERE
Stay up-to-date with everything happening at San Diego Comic-Con on 10News' dedicated SDCC page.
We'll also be live at the convention center throughout the week bringing you exclusive interviews and looks into all the big panels, fan reactions, and happenings around downtown San Diego.
Check out 10News on Facebook for daily shows live from the Chuck Jones Gallery in the Gaslamp District.
And follow 10News on Twitter for SDCC as it happens:
Also, follow SDCC on Twitter at @Comic_Con for more news and happenings.