Pop culture overload: Comic-Con 2017 kicks off

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Comic-Con, the yearly celebration of all things pop culture, kicks off its four-day run today with a number of star-studded panel discussions and a plethora of events inside the San Diego Convention Center and all around the Gaslamp Quarter.

Comic-Con held its Preview Night last night, but the convention officially opens this morning at 9:30 a.m. About 130,000 people are expected to attend the event through the weekend.

Many fans have lined up since yesterday for a chance to enter the infamous Hall H, where a number of panels featuring big-name movies and celebrities will be held.

Notable panels at Hall H today:

  • 11 a.m.: "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" panel featuring cast members Halle Berry, Colin Firth and Channing Tatum
  • 2 p.m.: "Teen Wolf" TV series
  • 3:15 p.m.: Netflix panel featuring Will Smith, star of the upcoming "Bright"

In addition to the main convention, numerous off-site events will be held downtown. A variety of attractions -- most aimed at those who were unable to purchase a pass to the Con -- are located outside of Petco Park, outside of the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, the Marriot Marquis Hotel and around the Gaslamp.

Among the off-site attractions expected to be very popular this week:

  • AMC's "Walking Dead"-inspired "DeadQuarters" at the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade on Harbor Drive
  • Netflix Experience at the Hilton Gaslamp hotel
  • Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the Marriott Marquis and Marina

Among other things to look for, the San Diego Blood Bank will conduct a blood drive through Sunday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Coronado Ballroom, located at One Market Place. The event runs today, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Donors will receive an exclusive Guardians of the Galaxy T-shirt.

UC San Diego plans to take advantage of the huge crowds by promoting its recent scientific discoveries. The university's "Science Nonfiction" campaign will include trolley advertising, billboards, posters, T-shirts and street teams wearing sandwich-boards and aluminum foil hats.

Some useful info to help you plan out your Comic-Con adventure:

With wall-to-wall people at Comic-Con venues and the adjacent Gaslamp Quarter, organizers strongly suggest using public transportation.

A free shuttle bus service will begin operating 24 hours a day beginning at 4:30 a.m., stopping at 63 locations in downtown, Mission Valley, Harbor Island and Shelter Island through Sunday evening.

The Metropolitan Transit System announced that Green Line trolleys will run every 7 and 1/2 minutes between Qualcomm Stadium and the 12th and Imperial Transit Center through Sunday. Blue and Orange line trains will increase in frequency during peak travel times, according to the MTS.

The transit agency said passengers can use its new Compass Cloud mobile app to purchase ride tickets in advance. The MTS also has 22 bus routes with downtown stops.

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