Comic Con Guide 2017: Badgeless in San Diego

SDCC Logo

My 2016 guide to San Diego Comic Convention did so well last year, I’m going for a repeat! If this is your first venture here, this list is full of fun events and specials that don’t require a badge.

The Comic Con’s official blog has populated their list of 2017 off-site activities for this year’s event, so check that often for updates, but mine is quite a bit more complete. Sorry, Toucan. For the “invite only” parties, get creative. It happens. Good luck!

Event Legend | Drink = Drinkie | Food= Foodie| Party = Party

Before Comic Con is the monster it is today, badge-holders were king. Now, most places know they have a lot to gain if they allow everyone a piece of their Comic Con deals, so check out the official restaurant guide.


Tuesday, July 18


Crossover: Where Comics and Science Meet Drink

Crossover logoA regular series from the famed science center, attend this special SDCC special event speaking engagement. All ages are welcome, and all attendees will receive a free comic book; however, if you are of age, you will also receive two free beers from Aztec Brewing Company. Guest speakers include:

  • Kevin Eastman, co-creator Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Jonathan Maberry, New York Times Best selling Author and creator of V-Wars
  • Dr. Ronald Colman, Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Dr. Sharon Schendel, Technical Writer, The Scripps Research Institute

Fleet Science Center | 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA  92101 | 6:30 – 8 PM | $15


 Wednesday, July 19


Hop-Con 5.0 Drink

Stone Brewing’s self-proclaimed “annual celebration of nth-degree beer geekery” is back with a beer in celebration of Drew Curtis, Wil Wheaton, and Greg Koch, the Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout quinquennial. All five versions will be on tap (full vertical!) with three custom casks of this year’s w00tstout. The price might seem steep, but it includes quite a bit:

  • Fifteen (15) 3oz. beer samples (includes five of this year’s w00tstout)
  • The opportunity to sample the full five-year vertical
  • A commemorative Hop-Con 5.0 glass
  • Gourmet food stations with unlimited tastings
  • Unlimited plays at Mike’s #HopCade
  • Photo Booth
  • Churros for dessert
  • Lots of geeky good times!

Hero Initiative will once again be partnering with us to bring you this year’s bottle art in a lithograph signed by the bottle artist Walt Simonson! Lithographs can be purchased for $20 during the event. There will also be a very limited number of previous years’ artwork for sale. ALL proceeds go back to comic artists from yesteryear!

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens | 2816 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego, CA  92106 | 7 – 11 PM | $40 – 75

Alcon Entertainment Blade Runner 2049 Party Party

Even though the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t come out until October 6, 2017, that’s not going to stop them from starting the party early.

[ABM Parking] Lot 1035 | 450 2nd Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 7 PM | Invite only | RSVP required

Game of Bloggers Party

House of Blues San Diego | 9 PM

San Diego Comic Con Unofficial Blog | 2 Blog 2 Furious

Who needs Preview Night when you can hang with the minds behind UBlog and their fans? They’re trying to extend the all-ages end time past 9 PM, but for now, it remains.

2 Blog 2 Furious McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon | 731 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 7 – 11 PM | All ages until 9 PM | Free, first-come, first-served


Thursday, July 20


Dark Tower’s “Dixie Pig” DrinkFoodParty

IGN and Sony Pictures is transforming The Tipsy Crow is into the “Dixie Pig” for all Dark Tower fans, leading up to the nationwide release of “The Dark Tower” on August 4.

Join us at The Tipsy Crow for SDCC’s largest fan party, featuring a full venue transformation in to the ‘Dixie Pig” featuring ‘baby’ ribs, music, drinks and live entertainment along with the IGN team, this is the ultimate party you can’t miss!

The Tipsy Crow | 770 Fifth Ave., San Diego, CA  92101 | 21+ | 8 PM – 2 AM | Free with RSVP

The Laika Experience Party

Oscar-winning animation studio LAIKA, creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman,” is bringing props, puppets, monsters, sets from its films and fun activities to an exhibit during Comic-Con.

11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 520 Fifth Ave., San Diego. laika.com.

FXhibition Party

FX Networks will bring several interactive experiences inspired by shows like “American Horror Story” and “Atlanta” to San Diego for Comic-Con. This includes a mixed-reality experience based on “Legion,” which will use Microsoft’s “HoloLens” to bring the show to life.

Noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Blvd., San Diego. Free.

AMC’s DeadQuarters Party

“The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead” will be featured at AMC’s “DEADQUARTERS” experience. Test your swing at the “Negan Batting Cages,” meet cast members and more.

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Martin Luther King Promenade, in front of the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel at Fourth Avenue and L Street. Free.

Adult Swim at Comic-Con Party

One of the more popular (read: crowded) off-site events, “Adult Swim On the Green” returns with carnival games, free personalized t-shirts, a tarot card reader, an over-sized claw machine, celebrity appearances, and more. The “Meatwad Dome 4D Experience” is also back, but honestly, it’s not my favorite. Worth a go at least once, though.

Their “Nighttime On The Green” will offer free screenings for fans who want to see the latest series and pilots beginning at 7 – 10 PM Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, head into Petco Park at 7 – 11 PM to see Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the creators of “Rick and Morty.” Use the East Village Gate. #AdultSwimSDCC

5th Ave. & Convention Way | Thursday – Sunday, 1 – 6 PM | Free with Registration

Skydance Interactive’s Gamers Lounge FoodParty

Maryjane’s Diner at the Hard Rock Hotel | Thursday – Sunday | 9 AM – 10 PM | Free

FANDOM Fest with Pepsi DrinkParty

Petco Interactive Zone | Thursday – Saturday| 10 AM – 6 PM | Sunday, 10 AM – 3 PM | Free

Viceland Bus Party DrinkParty

Corner of Island & 6th | Thursday – Saturday| 10 AM – 6 PM | Free

FANDOM Party, featuring a Big Boi performance DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel, 7 p.m. (invite only)

“Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” Party DrinkFoodParty

Sycuan Casino Sports Bar, 7 p.m.

Fandango Kickoff Party, featuring a performance by Elle King DrinkParty

Omnia, 8 p.m. (invite only; invitees are requested to arrive early, as entry is not guaranteed)

Rave of Thrones, featuring a DJ set by “Game of Thrones” actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) DrinkParty

Omnia, 9 p.m.

Syfy Party DrinkFoodParty

New Children’s Museum | Thursday – Saturday | 9 PM

Wired Cafe DrinkFoodParty

Omni Hotel Palm Terrace | Thursday, 11 AM – 6 PM | Friday, 12 (noon) – 6 PM | Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM

“Wynonna Earp” Party DrinkFoodParty

F6ix Nightclub | 9 PM 


Friday, July 21


Gotham Group Luncheon DrinkFood

Monkey King | 1 PM


Buzzfeed and The CW’s SRSLY the Best Damn Superhero Party DrinkFoodParty

Marriott Gaslamp Quarter’s Altitude Skyline Lounge | 5 PM | Invite only


Universal Cable Productions Reception DrinkFoodParty

Omnia Hotel | 6 PM


“Dragon Ball” Super Fan Bash DrinkParty

McFadden’s Restaurant | 7 PM


Fox TV’s Cocktail Party DrinkFoodParty

The Skybox | 7 PM


MTV Fandom Fest DrinkFoodParty

Petco Park | 7 PM


Warner Bros. TV Mixer DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel  | 7 PM | Invite only


IMDboat Party, Presented by XFINITY DrinkFoodParty

Fifth Avenue Landing | 7:30 PM | Invite only


“Future Man” Party, presented by Hulu, Nerdist, and Geek & Sundry DrinkFoodParty

Oxford Social Club | 9 PM


“The Gifted” Party, presented by IGN and Fox DrinkFoodParty

The Rooftop by STK, 9 p.m. (invite only)


The Nerd Party, presented by Syfy and Zachary Levi DrinkFoodParty

New Children’s Museum | 9 PM


Viceland’s What Would Diplo Do? Party, hosted by James Van Der Beek DrinkParty

Fluxx Nightclub | 9 PM | Invite only


After-Con, presented by NVE/ Nylon Magazine DrinkParty

Omnia Rooftop | 9:30 PM


Saturday, July 22


Heroes Brew Festival Drink

I had a free ticket to last year’s event and had a wonderful time, but this year, they’re changing things up a bit — it’s pay-per-taste compared to the AYC-drink in previous years. You may opt for unlimited tasters for an extra fee. With over 50 breweries, it might be worth it to spring for the latter. Also enjoy a costume contest, live music, augmented reality exhibits, and much more.

Waterfront Park | 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA  92101 |  4 – 8 PM | 21+ | $20 – 99

The Largest Lightsaber Battle in the Country Party

The Underground Lightsaber Fighters of San Diego are hosting “the largest lightsaber battle in the country” during Comic-Con at Balboa Park. Dress up, bring your lightsabers and battle it out. All cosplayers are welcome, not just “Star Wars” fans.

8 p.m. Saturday. Meet at the large fountain in Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. Free. ulfsandiego.com

“Impractical Jokers” Block Party FoodParty

Cast members from truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” are throwing a big block party with a White Castle food truck, a DJ, a virtual reality experience, sumo wrestling, a mechanical bull and more. They’ll be there signing autographs and fans can watch a never-before-seen episode of the show.

Petco Park | 100 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA  92101, 7th Ave. Entrance | 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM | Free

Red Planet/Blue Planet, presented by Nat Geo and Nerd Nite DrinkFoodParty

Solamar Terrace & Pool at Hotel Solamar | 7 PM

NBC Party DrinkFoodParty

Oxford Social Club | 7 PM

Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con Bash DrinkFoodParty

Float at the Hard Rock Hotel | 9 PM

Red Wedding Afterparty DrinkFoodParty

House of Blues | 9:30 PM


Sunday, July 23


Super Hero Pool Party DrinkFoodParty

The Lafayette Hotel | 12 PM

Adam West Remembrance Gathering Party (It’s definitely not a party, but for the joy he brought to the world, let’s call this a celebration of life.)

What a way to wrap up the convention, but with a remembrance event in honor of the late Adam West, our first and arguably, best, Batman, to date. May he rest in piece in a place where wham, bams, and kablams are aplenty.

Convention Center steps | 7 PM


  1. Bleeding Cool
  2. The Hollywood Report
  3. Pacific San Diego
  4. SDCC Unofficial Blog
  5. Sidequesting
  6. Variety Magazine
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