Major Offsite Events That Don’t Require a Comic-Con Badge

Follow the category links below to check out our picks for pop culture, comics, music, art, food, drink, and fandom events so you can get a taste of Comic-Con. from San Diego. without a badge – plus some suggestions for pop culture offerings elsewhere in the area.


Cosplay and pop culture

The Downtown San Diego Library will host its “cosplay repair station“, a respite for DIYers if you need to repair some of your cosplay gear. You’ll find everything from 3D printers to a range of glues, needles and thread – all on the Central IDEA Lab’s 4th floor. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily during Comic-Con The library is located at the San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Free.

Sign up for a Lumon employee orientation in Apple TV+’s “Breakup” interactive experience at the Hard Rock Hotel. In the show, employees agree to “separate” their professional and personal lives, submitting to an intrusive and mysterious procedure to ensure the tightest work-life balance possible. Every day , registration is open for a limited time slots at 6 a.m., starting Thursday. RSVP here. Hard Rock Hotel, 207 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Free

cosplay, silent disco and bowling? There’s a lot going on, but that’s par for the course at Comic-Con. tavern bowl will host the first annual edition “Silent” Bowl Cosplay Contest from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays, with prizes, headphones and live DJ. Tavern Bowl East Village, 930 Market St., downtown. $20-35.

Dress up as Captain America or come people-watch at the Captain Americas Army Photoshoot, Sunday noon at the fountains in front of the Marriott. Free.

The comic book store closest to the Palais des Congrès, Now or never cartoon will host a DC/HBO Harley Quinn takeover starting Wednesday, including free DC comic book giveaways.

Courtesy of Now or Never Comic Books

Downtown San Diego’s Now or Never comics are shown in an undated photo.

Somewhere else:
Balboa Park is always worth a visit, and the new “Spider-Man: Beyond AmazingThe immersive exhibit is only on view through January. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Comic-Con Museum, 2131 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park. $18-30.



The BD Conference for Educators and Librarians is back at the nearby downtown library, Wednesday through Sunday. It’s free to the public with a RSVP (but Comic-Con badge holders can skip the RSVP process). Each day is themed, covering how literacy, comics and pop culture intersect in pedagogy, publishing, libraries and more, though curious comic book fans are welcome and encouraged. Don’t miss the panels on banned and challenged books: The publishing panel, “Bans Off Our Books! Responding to Challenges,” takes place from 4-5 p.m. on Friday, July 22. The Library and School Centered Book Ban Panels Thursday 3:00-5:00 p.m. Saturday 4:00 p.m. “Intellectual Freedom for Educators” discusses the recent set of proposed laws to restrict topics in classrooms. San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Free.

For budding scientists, catch the IF/THEM Comic-Con Takeover STEAM Fair at the Comic-Con Museum. Highlights include daily coding workshops with Girls Who Code at 11:15 a.m., Thursday through Sunday; and panel discussion “The Science of Spider-Man and the Multiverse” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Admission to the compulsory museum. Comic-Con Museum, 2131 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park. $18-30.

Somewhere else:
After Comic-Con Ends, Celebrate the Late Comic Book Writer and Artist Induction of Mark Gruenwald into the Eisner Hall of Fame at this after party. Knowhere Games & Comics, 125 Vallecitos De Oro #J, San Marcos. Free.



The Rooftop Cinema Club at the Embarcadero has a triple-header of comic book-themed movies on Thursday: “Guardians of the Galaxy” at 4 p.m., “Spider-Man: No Way Home” at 7:45 p.m. and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” at 11 p.m. Plus, “Pulp Fiction” at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday; and on Sundays at 4:15 p.m., celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday with “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and the Comic-Con Day screening of “The Dark Night” at 8:15 p.m. The full schedule is here. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (4th Floor Rooftop), 1 Market Place, City Center. $11.75 – $25.50.

Thursday, digital gym will screen the 2003 documentary, “Afro Punk“, with the director James Spooner in person for a post-film discussion with the moderator Dr. LaWana Richmond. A pre-show panel will also take place at 7 p.m. at the Quartyard as part of the Afrofuturism Lounge. Digital Gym, 1100 Market St., downtown. $8 to $12.


Books and zines

Immerse yourself in giant sand sculptures and listen to free samples of Audible originals on The audible range, just opposite the convention center. Open from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. First Avenue and Martin Luther King Parkway. Free.


Beth Accomando

People build sand sculptures as part of Audible’s Comic-Con offsite activation, “The Audible Beach,” shown in a photo from July 18, 2022.

Independent bookstore Libélula Books and SD Zine Fest present a free zine swap noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Libelula Books, 950S. 26th Street, Barrio Logan. Free.


Food and drink

The newly opened Gaslamp Factory in Lumpia is home to a revival of the film, “Lumpia with a vengeance. Events include a screening afterparty at 10 p.m. Thursday; a pop-up signature from Jayson Atienza from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; and a pop-up signature with Patrick Ballesteros from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Gaslamp Lumpia Factory, 423 F St., downtown. Free.

For other snacks, see the Petco Park Interactive Zonefor the “Hello Kitty Coffee Truck,” open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, or “Wrath of P’Khan Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck10 p.m. to 6 p.m. (while supplies last) Saturdays. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., Downtown.

Somewhere else:
So Cal BD presents a launch party at the Society Brewery at 4 p.m. Wednesday, featuring the launch of an exclusive Comic-Con-themed beer, a Creator’s Market for local creators, free comic books from So Cal Comics and more. 8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Clairemont. Free.



Chuck Jones / Sparks Gallery

An undated sketch of Bugs Bunny by Chuck Jones.

visual art

chuck joneswho died in 2002, was a longtime animator, best known for Looney Tunes and creating characters like Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and more. Sparks Gallery in the Gaslamp will host a Pop up Chuck Jones during Comic-Con – including virtual selfies with augmented reality characters, additional pop art in the gallery, and events. Gallery hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, with evening programming. Sparks Gallery, 530 Sixth Ave., downtown. Free.

This year the Afrofuturism Fair opens at 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Quartyard. It correlates with the Museum of African American Fine Arts San Diego’s recently opened exhibit, “The Buses Are Coming,” which celebrates the Freedom Riders protests during the Civil Rights Movement. In addition to art, there’s music, yoga, meditation, screenings, and plenty of talk – like “Climate Change Through an Afrofuturist Lens” and a discussion of the business side of creativity. Quartyard, 1301 Market Street, Downtown/East Village. Free.

The CCSD Art Exhibition takes over the Manchester Grand Hyatt all weekend, with fan-submitted artwork alongside Eisner Award-nominated pieces. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Somewhere else:
South Park Trash Lamb Gallery will open an exhibition of prints (and more) by Catherine BrannockThe next series of graphic novels, “The Weikenings”. The exhibition is called “Four letter words: GIRL“, and opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday with an animation screening and an artist talk at 8 p.m. Trash Lamb Gallery, 2365 30th St., South Park. Free.



Much of Gaslamp’s nighttime music scene involves nightclubs and DJs, but House of Blues has an 18+ option,”night of stranger things“, dedicated to the soundtrack and musical era of the hit show. 8:30 p.m. Thursday. House of Blues, 1055 5th Ave., downtown. $18-$35.

On board of star of india ship, the “sea ​​monster show“, involves mai tais, snacks and music from blues and rock band Fish & the Seaweeds. event. 5-10 p.m., Sat. 21+. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 North Harbor Dr., downtown. $40-$50.

Somewhere else:
Too much sun and sunscreen for you? Detox with dark music from Mexicali post-punk act Quiet. Splitting the bill defies gender Planet B and theatrical performer of doom metal D.Wrex to Kasbah, Thursday at 9:30 p.m. $12. Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., downtown.

Mexicali-based band Silent is pictured in an undated photo.  Their new album,

Becky Di Giglio

Mexicali-based band Silent is pictured in an undated photo. Their new album, “Modern Hate”, was released on April 23, 2021.


Note: Some off-site events follow Comic-Con’s COVID-19 policy and may require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, as well as masks.

For more offsite events, visit the KPBS Comic-Con Events Calendar.

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