How to Survive San Diego Comic-Con 2019: An A-Z Guide

Look for Conan O-Brien, Kristen Bell and the cast of Game of Thrones. Live off tacos, Ralphs and the new Earl of Sandwich.

Welcome to Comic-Con 2019!
Why it’s importand to read “How To Survive San Diego Comic-Con 2019.”

Do you know how to survive San Diego Comic-Con 2019? It happens this year from July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center. More than 130,000 faithful fans will flock to Southern California to attend sci-fi screenings, lock in celebrity sightings and don incredible costumes. 

This survival guide on how to do Comic-Con is multi-functional. It highlights where and when you can find the casts of Game of Thrones and Westworld, or how to let loose Stranger Things-style in an Upside Down party…plus so many more opportunities to get tickets to events and find celebrities.

At the same time, you have to eat to live. So interspersed with tips on hanging with X-Men and Zombies are insights on where to find things like great tacos and super sandwiches. 

Newbies need to know that Ralphs grocery store is just two blocks from the convention center. And even if you already know how to survive–and thrive–at a San Diego Comic-Con, read on to find out about new hotels and updated rules regarding scooters.

There’s more than enough to do and see on the schedule. This A-Z Guide on How to Survive San Diego Comic-Con 2019 will open your eyes the possibilities, and who knows, may even save your life.

Amazon Prime Video Experience

Of late, the parking lot across the street from the convention center (bounded by First, Second, Island and J) has been the site for a huge immersion experience. This year, Amazon Prime will offer a crime scene inspired by The Boys, a simulated humanitarian mission a la The Expanse, and a Carnival Row fantasy universe.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Andy Samberg’s cop comedy that airs on NBC will take over Gaslamp Square (between the convention center and the Hard Rock Hotel, next to Tin Fish. A recreation of the show’s 99th Precinct will be available for photo ops and general tomfoolery.

Conan O’Brien

Conan at Comic-Con 2018 with the cast of Game of Thrones.

Team Coco returns to the Spreckels Theater on Broadway to tape a week’s worth of Conan panel shows that will air on TBS. The band will be back! If you can score a ticket to be in the audience, you’ll get to take home a Conan Funko Pop collectible.

Del Mar Opening Day

Yes, July 17, 2019, is Preview Night at Comic-Con. FYI to anybody who thinks the crowd at the convention center won’t be bougie enough: This is also Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack. It’s an event that draws a crowd (40,000) and also causes grownups to play dress-up.

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The new Earl of Sandwich.

Earl of Sandwich

What Con attendee doesn’t dig a good sandwich? The franchise that proudly serves a roast beefy Full Montagu just opened three blocks from the convention center (First Avenue and G Street, next to Ralph’s). Fun fact: The sandwich was invented in 1762 while John Montagu was playing poker. 

FX Fearless Forum

There’s always something physical going down in the Hilton Bayfront Park (behind the convention center). This year it’s anchored by American Horror Story: 1984. Be sun-safe and visit the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Sunscreen Zone.

Game of Thrones

The Westeros gang will get together one more time in Hall H. It’s a chance for one more tearful goodbye—and hopefully doesn’t turn into one big group gripe session about the Game of Thrones’ final season.

Harbor Drive

It worked out well in a trial run last year. So once again, Harbor Drive, the main road that runs in front of the convention center, will be closed to all vehicles. You’ll still have to watch for trolleys and trains, though.

Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes

IHOP from “The Good Place.”

Season 3 of The Good Place (starring the adorable Kristen Bell) introduced this eatery. The Hard Rock Hotel’s Maryjane Diner will be converted to an IHOP for the week.


Jim Lee, the chief creative officer at DC Comics, suggests that keeping a detailed journal is a better way than daily social media posts to memorialize San Diego Comic-Con 2019.


In celebration of the 80th anniversary of Batman, “The Batman Experience Powered by AT&T” will be free to the public at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. It will include the largest collection ever amassed of Batman props, costumes and vehicles. Pow!


Similar to a day in Disneyland, surviving Comic-Con means well-planned line management. Everybody’s got a phone in their back pocket. But whether you’re sleeping outside or standing near Hall H, bring something to do while you wait in a line.


They’re back! After taking a breather during Comic-Con 2018, Marvel returns. Expect a few Avengers sightings in Hall H, for either a Russo Brothers panel or an all-hands Marvel night shindig.

New Hotels

Luca restaurant at the new Guild Hotel.

There are never enough rooms to hold 130,000 Con-ers. But now downtown San Diego has three new hotels on tap: The fun-spirited Moxy San Diego on Sixth Avenue; the stately Guild Hotel on Broadway; and if the stars align in time, the brand-spanking new Carte Hotel in Little Italy.


You never know what surprises will pop up or drop in during the convention—on the trade show floor or out in the city. Be forewarned: HBO promises that the Gaslamp Quarter will be the site of “a surprise in-world opportunity” to engage with Watchmen characters…


You’re better off hoping to be dropped off by blimp or balloon than finding an inexpensive parking spot during Comic-Con. Focus on public transportation (the trolley pulls right up to the convention center).

Quench Your Thirst

There’s no dearth of bars and restaurants serving adult beverages in downtown San Diego. Here are a few spots that regularly serve Comic-Con-inspired cocktails: The Blind Burro (Deadpool’s Daiquiri), El Chignon (Iron Man Blast) and Meze Greek Fusion (Thanos Juice).


Ralphs, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions.

A supermarket? Yep. This 24/7 source of Coke and Doritos is wall-to-wall when the nerdpocalpyse hits town. The front door is on G Street, between First and Second avenues. Note: Per California law, plastic bags are ten cents each.


Dockless electric scooters are in extreme abundance. Most are now stored in marked “corrals.” They’re fun! But you have to use your super hero brain to avoid villains who ride recklessly. Don’t ride two to a scooter! Try to stay off sidewalks. Helmets are required for those 18-and-under.  


Welcome to San Diego, amigos! Have some tacos, it’s the law (okay, no, but it’d be criminal if you don’t try some). Some good spots near the convention center include: Funky Garcia’s on Market Street; Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan; and Puesto in the Headquarters.

Upside Down party

In honor of the return to Netflix of Stranger Things, The Nerdist is hosting the “Upside Down” party on July 18 at Fluxx nightclub. It’s 21-and-over—and not just because the Mind Flayer and the Demogorgon will be lurking about.

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars, the first go-round.

After 15 years, fans of Veronica Mars will be thrilled to know the witty P.I. show (partially filmed in San Diego) is coming back. A world premiere screening will happen on July 19 in Ballroom 20. We expect the busy (and still adorable) Kristen Bell to be on hand.


On July 20, Hall H will be populated with the real-life stars of HBO’s host/robot show Westworld. Ed Harris, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood ad Jeffrey Wright are scheduled to appear and hint at what’s next.

X-Men Be Educatin’

Never forget the Con’s comic book roots. On July 21, a panel will be held at downtown’s Central Library called “To Me, My X-Men: Superheroes, Comics and Academic Success.” 


Like, happy big 5-0, Scooby-Doo!

Jinkies! Zoinks! Can you believe that Scooby-Doo is turning 50? A Birthday Bash is scheduled for July 20 in the convention center’s Room 6A.


AMC’s The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead will be a noticeable presence this year via a new and improved DeadQuarters fan zone, along with Walker photo ops and gaming demo previews.  J&J