SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego and Comic-Con go back far before Hollywood stars and blockbuster films took over headlines every July.
The convention started in the Grant Hotel across from Horton Plaza Park as a simple gathering in the hotel's basement.
Fifty years later, it has become a very different event, sprawled across downtown San Diego for everyone, ticket or not.
But San Diego's roots to comics can be enjoyed throughout the year without the convention. Art galleries, comic shops, and famous landmarks all offer comic fans something to enjoy outside five days each summer.
Comic art galleries in Liberty Station and the Gaslmap District: Check out tons of comic art exhibits and events at Liberty Station inside the San Diego Comic Art Gallery (2765 Truxtun Rd., San Diego) or visit the Chuck Jones Gallery (232 Fifth Ave., San Diego) and peruse artwork including Chuck Jones original sketches and special exhibits.
Famous movie locations in San Diego: If you're a fan of the films at Comic-Con, explore the locations around San Diego where movies made their mark. The Hotel Del Coronado was featured in the 1959 classic "Some Like It Hot" and 1986's "Top Gun" filmed numerous scenes around town, the most famous being Kansas City Barbeque (600 Harbor Drive). More locations.
Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park: The San Diego Hall of Champions will become the Comic-Con Museum in spring 2021, but you can check it out early at this year's Comic-Con with The Batman Experience. The museum will eventually feature comic artwork, exhibits, special programming, and events throughout the year in Balboa Park.
San Diego Comic Fest: If you just can't shake the need for a comic convention, San Diego Comic Fest hits Mission Valley in the spring. The smaller, more intimate comic convention is put on by previous SDCC organizers. The convention still delivers on comic book and film interests, but on a less chaotic scale.
San Diego Symphony performs popular hits: You can't help but appreciate an exciting soundtrack. The San Diego Symphony performs music from films during various shows throughout the year. Some performances even play films on a big screen as the orchestra provides the score live.
Star Wars celebrations: Because of Comic-Con's success, San Diego knows how to throw a good Star Wars celebration. The San Diego Padres have started holding a special Star Wars themed game and local cosplay groups, like the Imperial Sand Garrison of the 501st Legion, can be seen at local events. Now Disneyland has "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge," giving locals another morsel of galactic fun to check out. Just wait for May the Fourth (May 4th.)
Comic book shops across San Diego: Stores like Comics-N-Stuff, Yesteryear's Comics, and Comickaze provide endless adventures through comic books for all fans. Whether you're looking for a new read, funs merchandise, or just to banter with fellow comic book fans, you'll find it at a local comic shop.