Comic-Con After Dark: What to Do in San Diego Once the Panels Are Done
So, you’re in San Diego for the big International Comic-Con 2014. You’ve waited in line for an eternity to get inside the walls of Hall H to see the cast of your most anticipated movies and TV shows, or you’ve spent the day rummaging around the convention floor, checking out the coolest gear and toys. Now what? Sure, you can go to one of the many bars that no doubt have some geek-centric drink specials, but there’s another world of cool parties and nighttime fair.
There is so much going on in San Diego (especially during the day), which is why we’ve narrowed down your search to (A) what’s going on primarily at night, (B) the larger parties and events, and (C) what you’ll have the best chance of getting into. Of course, there’s always a low-key fan meet-up (like the ‘Ghostbusters’ fan party on Friday at the newly opened Werewolf bar) and cosplay gatherings going on, so keep an eye out when you’re on the ground. In the meantime, here are some of the coolest happenings that caught our eye.
[Editor's Note: We've done our best to include events available to the public, though due to limited space, some of these listings might have filled up after this post went to press. So act fast!]
Enchantment Under the SDCC
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Henry’s Pub, 618 5th Ave
Notes: VIP sold out; first come, first served
The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog throws its annual reader party, this year sponsored by BOOM! Studios and Udon Entertainment. There will be giveaway prizes from Symbiote Studios, Hasbro, Bandai, Loot Crate, Warner Archive and the Comic-Con subreddit community.
Pixel’s Electric Dreams Factory Arcade
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Hard Rock Hotel, 209 5th Avenue
Notes: Must be at least 13 years old; Comic-Con badge required
In the film starring Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, aliens misinterpret such arcade games as Space Invaders and Centipede as Earth’s declaration of war against them, and they retaliate in the same manner depicted in the games. This is ‘Pixels,’ and in honor of the movie, Columbia Pictures is setting up shop at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego with the “Electric Dream Factory Arcade.” Anyone 13 and older will be able to play original, ’80s-era arcade games, while simultaneously entering to win a walk-on role in the movie.
Commencing on Preview Night (Wednesday), the top-five scorers on the leaderboard by the end of each day on any of the eight participating games will be automatically entered to win both a PlayStation 4 and the grand prize — the chance to appear in a walk-on role in ‘Pixels.’ The Arcade is also open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Bestselling Authors Happy Hour Adventure
Mosaic Wine Bar, 3422 30th Street
Notes: Limited to 50 people; 21 and over; costs $35; Register HERE
Bestselling authors Christina and Lauren (known jointly as Christina Lauren), Alice Clayton, Kresley Cole and Renee Carlino are coming together to sign their new books at Comic-Con 2014, while offering a special “Happy Hour Adventure” at Mosaic Wine Bar in North Park for the fans. Those attending will receive perks that include one glass of wine, appetizers (flatbread, pizza, tapas), tax, gratuity, book discussion, Q&A and, of course, author signing.
‘Into the Storm’ Screening
Notes: Get your pass HERE
Remember that movie ‘Twister’? Well, ‘Into the Storm’ is like that, except there are multiple cyclones (one of which becomes a fire cyclone), found footage and the disastrous events all happen in the span of one day. Be sure to get your pass to this late-night screening of Warner Bros.’ upcoming natural disaster flick.
MTV Fan Fest & Fandom Awards With Linkin Park
Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Notes: Free; Comic-Con badge required
Earlier this year, MTV announced the first mtvU Fandom Awards and MTV Fan Fest, which will be headlined by Linkin Park. The event will “honor diehard fangirls and fanboys as well as their favorite shows and movies.” Winners are chosen via voting polls on MTV.com. Highlights from the show will be aired on Sunday, July 24, in a 60-minute TV special. Said MTV of the event:
The mtvU Fandom Awards will reinvent the traditional award show format. In addition to handing out trophies, we will recognize the achievements of fans and their favorite obsessions with special surprises and experiences. It’s the perfect event to reward the fans at Comic-Con, the epicenter of all fandoms.
Hip-hop artist G-Eazy was also announced to perform.
Super Video Game Land at Mission Brewery
6 p.m. – 11:55 p.m.
Mission Brewery, 1441 L St
PubQuest and Mission Brewery partnered to bring the Super Video Game Land to Comic-Con 2014. The event features paintings of local San Diego artist Anthony Blucao — more than 75 artworks available for purchase — celebrating history’s classic video games. There will also be music from the arcade days of the ’80s and early ’90s, classic video game consoles available to play, and craft beer from Mission Brewery. The art will be on display until Sunday.
The Walking Dead Escape
Thursday, 6 p.m. – Friday, 11:55 p.m.
Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd
Notes: Tickets range from $20-$70; Register HERE
Comic-Con 2014 will once again play host to The Walking Dead Escape, arguably the ultimate interactive ‘Walking Dead’ fan experience, which sees participates “climb, crawl, hide and slide [their] way through a series of gut-wrenching scenarios.” Navigate the course in a group or on your own, but you’ll emerge alive or as a member of the dead. But, hey, if you become a walker, professional ‘Walking Dead’ makeup will transform you into a zombie.
You can elect to be a Survivor ($50 Advance), Walker ($70 Advance) or Spectator ($20 Advance).
Her Universe Fashion Show
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Pl
Notes: First come, first served; doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Comic-Con badge required
Her Universe, by designer Ashley Eckstein, is the first fashion line created especially for fangirls, and you can see these designs sashay down the catwalk at Comic-Con 2014, thanks to Hot Topic and Nerdist Industries. The Her Universe Fashion Show will showcase 36 new designs from 36 different designers, while two of these designers will be chosen — one by a panel of judges and the other by the audience — to work with Eckstein on a Her Universe fashion line for Hot Topic.
w00tstock 6.0 A Night of Geeks and Music
7 p.m. – approximately 11 p.m.
Balboa Theatre, 868 4th Ave
Notes: Only balcony seating is left; Get tickets HERE
Wanna see Whil Wheaton, Adam Savage of ‘Mythbusters’ and the comedy duo Paul and Storm at, essentially, Woodstock for geeks? Head to the Balboa Theatre for w00tstock. It’s a night of music acts, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests and more, all in the name of letting your geek flag fly.
Hero Complex 2014 Spectacular
Jsix at Hotel Solamar, 435 6th Avenue
Notes: The event is full, but there’s a chance of getting in through the standby line after 6:30 p.m.; 21 and over; costumes welcome
Give yourself the celebrity treatment when you’re at Comic-Con. Lounge by the pool on a hotel rooftop, courtesy of Hero Complex, IMAX and the Hero Initiative. There’s music, free drinks, giveaways … and more free drinks! While the event is at capacity, a standby line will be implemented after 6:30 p.m. Head to the 6th Street entrance to JSix at the Hotel Solamar for location of the line.
Video Games Live: An Ashford University Summer Pops Special Concert
Embarcadero Marina Park South, 1 Marina Park Way
Notes: Purchase tickets HERE
If you enjoyed a professional orchestra performing the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme, you’ll love Video Games Live! The San Diego Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Emmanuel Fratianni, will perform the theme songs to popular video games, including Zelda, Sonic, Metal Gear Solid and BioShock. Plus, there’ll be synchronized lighting effects and onstage game play, with the SACRA/PROFANA choir as special guests.
Check out a preview before the event.
Elijah Wood DJing at Club Bang Bang
Bang Bang, 526 Market Street
Elijah Wood (yes, that same guy from ‘The Lord of the Rings‘ and ‘Wilfred‘) will be DJing at club Bang Bang, along with his cohort Zach Cowie, together known as Wooden Wisdom. Entrance is free (but not guaranteed) before 10:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased HERE to ensure entry.
Comic-Con Nerd-a-thon Burlesque
The Merrow, 1271 University Ave
Notes: 21 and over; $25 admission; Get tickets HERE
While we have to wait until Sunday to see the SuicideGirls in action, another geek-themed burlesque show is going down at The Merrow. Tiny Nightmare Productions will bring the Devil’s Playground troupe to the stage to perform sexy Star Girls Storm Trooper and Emperor’s Guard routines. There will also be an opening performance by Chamber Band, and musical performances by MC Frontalot, MC Lars, Schaffer the Dark Lord and Dr. Awkward.
@Midnight Live with Chris Hardwick
Balboa Theatre, 868 4th Ave
Notes: $30 entry; tickets available HERE
By day, comedian and geek personality Chris Hardwick will no doubt be moderating panels in Hall H, but he’ll be commencing with the comedy after hours. Hardwick will perform his late-night Comedy Central show @Midnight, which will feature three celebrity contestants in a battle to see who has the most hilarious take on the latest pop culture events.
Tim and Eric’s Jammy Party
11 p.m. – 11:55 p.m.
Note: RSVP is now closed. Entry may (keyword here is, “may”) be granted the day of.
Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric host an exclusive Jammy Party on Friday, July 25, from 11 p.m. – 12 a.m. at the Petco Park Interactive Zone. Attendees will have a first look at their new series ‘Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories.’
Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Embarcadero Marina Park North
Notes: $20-$55 admission; get tickets HERE
“Reveal your inner superhero while enjoying the best craft beer.” Translation: “get plastered and drunkenly zoom around the bar like Freakazoid (remember him?!).” More than 40 breweries and over 80 craft beers will be featured at the Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival, coming to San Diego Comic-Con for the second time. There will also be a costume contest, live music, booths with giveaways and a ton of local food vendors.
Children’s Park, Martin Luther King Promenade
Notes: Free; all ages
The Zombiewalk returns for its eighth year at Comic-Con. Interested walkers should show up at Children’s Park dressed in their best zombie getup, though don’t bring an extra blood special effects. Seriously, the organizers will ask you to leave if you get or leave blood on the meeting location. The event was supposed to culminate in A Night on Zombie Island, the zombie prom after party, but it was canceled presumably because of lack of funding.
The Strain “He Is Here”
7:30 p.m. (General Admission); 6:30 p.m. (VIP)
Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15, 701 5th Ave.
FX’s ‘The Strain,’ an adaptation of Guillermo del Toro‘s vampire novel series, premiered on July 13, and now fans attending Comic-Con 2014 can get a sneak peek into the first two episodes of the series, as well as some never-before-seen footage from the July 27 episode. Of course, there will also be food, drinks, giveaways and special appearances!
This event is open to the public, but if you want to get VIP access, you’ll have to jump through some hoops — pick up three wristbands from the FOX (#4229), Harper Collins (#1029) and Dark Horse (#2615) booths on Friday or Saturday between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., which will together act as your pass.
Digital LA Comic-Con Party
7 p.m. – 9p.m.
Notes: Free; RSVP HERE
Digital LA returns to San Diego with their sixth-annual Comic-Con happy hour event. They’ve partnered with HexLabs 3D printing company to do 3D body scans of attendees in their best superhero poses, and guests will receive a 3-inch 3D-printed action figure after the event. Pretty cool, huh? Once you RSVP (at the link above), you’ll receive an e-mail with the “secret location” of the party.
‘Star Trek’ 2009 Live in Concert
Embarcadero Marina Park South, 1 Marina Park Way
Notes: $28-$90 admission; Purchase tickets HERE
The San Diego Symphony is back! While they’ll be performing symphonic versions of video game theme songs earlier in the week, Saturday will see them return to perform the soundtrack to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 ‘Star Trek’ — live! Not only that, but they’ll be doing it as the film reboot screens for the audience.
In addition, a meet and greet with ‘Star Trek’ composer Michael Giacchino will take place post-concert in the Summer Pops VIP Area, though tickets are an additional $75.
House of Blues, 1055 5th Ave
Notes: $33 and up admission; 18 years and older with photo I.D.; Purchase tickets HERE
“With stripteases and performances poking fun at ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘The Big Lebowski,’ ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Star Wars,’ this will be unlike any burlesque show on the planet!” Of course, we’re referring to the SuicideGirls’ Blackheart Burlesque! The ladies who make cosplay and geekdom sexy as hell are back to spoof some of your favorite movies and TV shows.
Comic-Concert: The Comic-Con 2014 After Party
7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Whiskey Girl, 702 5th Ave
Notes: 21 and over; $5 donation requested at the door; No Comic-Con badge required
Congratulations! You’ve made it through Comic-Con 2014. Why not celebrate the last night of the convention with one epic blowout? The Comic-Concert After Party kicks off at Whiskey Girl for its sixth year, featuring performers Random Gibberish and Mega Ran, as well as Jon St. John (voice of Duke Nukem) as the celebrity MC!