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Arts & Culture

We asked, you answered: KPBS readers’ Comic-Con hacks

Comic-Con attendees dressed as Power Rangers. San Diego Convention Center. San Diego, Calif. July 22, 2023.
Cosplayers pose for photo during Comic-Con International on Sunday, July 23, 2023.

KPBS asked readers for their tips and tricks for navigating San Diego Comic-Con International and we received some great feedback.

Submissions were sent through our contact form, Reddit, and Instagram. There were too many tips to include, so we picked some we hope will help Comic-Con newbies and veterans alike.

Scroll down to learn more about transportation to the con, panels, accessibility options, food and more.


What to bring

“Get the best shoes you can that are good for both standing in place or walking long distances. They make a world of difference for your SDCC survival.” — Scalpels via Reddit

“Bring (a) small bag or backpack, have easy dice or card games, water, and pack snacks that won't get messy … helps with waiting in really long lines. I'm looking at you Hall H.” — cmacias via Reddit 

“Get a wristwatch and learn to rely on it to check the time. Saves pulling your phone out 200 times throughout the day. Really look at the panels and go to some small ones in the single digit rooms or the 30s. There are some incredibly fun niche panels worth seeing.” — Snaketruck via Reddit

Getting there


“If you are Ubering down, pick a location near the convention center and walk the block or two over to avoid getting stuck.” — Michael Pogrebinsky

“Avoid Old Town to park and ride (the trolley). That is a big connection point and just chaos. Try to start at the end of the line somewhere to get a better chance at a seat.” — BasketNo4817 via Reddit

“If you have access to the Navy Base, park there and take the trolley. You don’t have to worry about your car at all.” — ET_Sailor via Reddit

“You can pick up and drop off Lyft/Uber in the loading bay on the waterfront side of the convention center if you enter from the south side. Much less crowded but you’ll have to walk back around.” — luckyybreak via Reddit


“If you are handicapped be sure to get a sticker for your badge. The badge cuts down on time spent standing. Your companion also gets one.” — Rita Clinton

“If you need to nurse or pump milk: the con is friendly! You'll be able to pump in privacy and even store the milk and the pump safely.” — Alena

What to see

“I’ve been to comic con every year for a decade and let me tell ya you have to wake up SUPER DUPER EARLY for Hall H. Not 2 hours early, (because) it’s still super packed. It also depends on the line up.” — BigMission3004 via Reddit

“I would say my biggest tip is to skip the line at Hall H. It's a five hour wait in line for trailers that are released the next day on YouTube. It may be cool to be in the same room as a star, but you miss the whole atmosphere and vibe (of) Comic-Con then. Plus if you're lucky, you can encounter plenty of celebrities on the floor if you're lucky.” — Alexander Stanescu

“Go to Quick Draw and Cartoon Voices. Hysterically funny EVERY YEAR.” — BrontosaurusTheory via Reddit

“Don’t sleep on Masquerade Ball especially if you’re going with a group, it’s always been a fun time and that’s coming from an introvert who doesn’t like crowds much.” — bigdamnshinyhero via Reddit


“Pack water and snacks, food is expensive.” — Michael Pogrebinsky

“If you buy food seriously just wander into a restaurant downtown do not buy food in the convention center unless it’s an emergency and even then just get the cookies or pretzels.” — Tuitey via Reddit

Ralph’s a couple blocks away has pizza and sandwiches that are much better than most food at the Con.” - KomplexKaiju via Reddit


“Arrive early for collectibles.” — foreveryoneseyesonly via Instagram

“Want to save on books? Buy on Sunday — with discounts.” — Alena

“Pre-purchasing some Comic-Con merch can save a lot of time and potentially out of stock items.” — BasketNo4817 via Reddit

Taking a break

“The pinball arcade at the Marriott Marquis is great fun and a nice way to get away from the exhibit floor.” —BasketNo4817 via Reddit

“There is an outside patio behind the convention center where you can take a break from the noise and crowd and enjoy the ocean breeze.” — rwmwaffle via Reddit

“The mezzanine is a great place to take a breather. They typically have tabletop games going in the mezzanine so there's still stuff to see and do, but without the absolute insanity of the exhibit hall. The only problem is that the mezzanine level is kind of hard to find, but it's probably why it's so relatively quiet.” — bigtcm via Reddit

“Honestly, the Hall H and Ballroom 20 playback sessions are great for a recharge. Typically not crowded, can bring food, and a good meeting spot with friends. Plus you can see the panels you didn’t make it into.” — GhostDrax via Reddit

No ticket?

“As a daily volunteer, you volunteer for three hours and then get the entire rest of the day for free. You're guaranteed a volunteer slot every year as long as you volunteer for at least one day each year, so you never have to go online for tickets. I am now a department volunteer (requires an interview) and volunteer for three or more days each year and get into the entire con for free. I'm 65 years old, (and) love doing the con this way!” — Marlene Garstang

“Years ago I volunteered at a booth and was able to enjoy the con the rest of the day. So if you’re on a budget but want to go there’s potential opportunities for a ‘free’ ticket with volunteering!” — asmugsourlemon via Reddit

“The people watching and the events downtown are just as much a part of the experience as the conference itself. Even if you don't have a ticket, go to a restaurant and sit outside. You'll have a great time.” — lipiti via Reddit