How to Attend SDCC: A Guide for Newbies
San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest pop culture convention in the United States. It attracts over 130,000 people per year and some of the biggest names in film, TV, comics, and gaming.
But as fun as it is, it can also be a bit intimidating. Badges sell out in less than an hour and the hotel lottery is mysterious and intimidating. Then once you get there, there’s so much going on that it’s hard to prioritize what’s important to you without fear that you’ll be missing out on something else. But this is a convention, isn’t it? It’s supposed to be fun!
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
We’ve compiled a list of the articles we’ve written that’ll give you advice about many important aspects of San Diego Comic-Con. Within those articles are links to other vital sources to help you get badges, get a hotel room, and see the stuff you want to see.
We’ve also included important links to official websites and some of our friend’s archives so you can see what other long time attendees have to say. Each personal source linked on this page are from knowledgeable long time attendees that we know and trust. They are the ones that helped us when we were SDCC newbies and we couldn’t be more thankful.
Let’s start with the basics…
How to Attend SDCC: Badges
San Diego Comic-Con Badge Sales: A Beginner’s Guide
There’s been a lot of changes with how SDCC badge registration works, so we’ve written up a new beginner’s guide to help navigate the highly competitive system.
This article is current as of 2018 as will be updated each year as things change. If a keen eyed reader notices an update that we’ve missed, please give us a shout out!
These tips are intended to give you the best chance at walking away with tickets to San Diego Comic-Con under the current system. It’s true that it’s a challenge to get badges for the event, but it’s not impossible. About 130,000 people attend the con every year and you can be one of them if you study how the system works and stay on top of things. That includes learning how the system works now, then catching up with the changes as they come.
How to Attend SDCC: Hotels
SDCC Hotel Tips/FAQ
Unlike badge sales, not much has changed since we wrote this Hotel Tips guide back in 2014. There has been minor tweaks to the system and we’ve updated the post accordingly (each change has been noted in the article itself with the date of the change).
You can use this resource to understand which hotels you’ll want to stay at and how to improve your chances of getting a good room.
If any major changes come out we’ll be sure to write a new article explaining those changes and note what year those changes went into effect.
Essentially the hotels can be narrowed down into a few categories. The “closest” hotels that are directly adjacent to the convention center (Hilton Bayfront, Hilton Gaslamp, Omni, Hard Rock Hotel, Marriot Marquis & Marina, Manchester Grand Hyatt), the Gaslamp District hotels that are usually within a mile of the convention center, the Mission Valley hotels that are about a 15-20 minute shuttle ride away and are the most popular “overflow” area, and then the more rare “overflow” areas (Old Town, Shelter Island, the Airport).
How to Attend SDCC: General Tips
You’ve got your badges. You’ve got your hotel. Awesome. Now what?
Check out our general guides about programming, events, and much much more. These are tips from first time attendees as well as returning SDCC convention goers. Hopefully they’ll help you make the most of your time while attending SDCC and you’ll walk away with an experience you’ll never forget.
Hall H Tips & Tricks
Hotels and badges aren’t the only competitive aspects of San Diego Comic-Con. Sometimes getting into a panel can be a challenge. But, like with all other things SDCC, it’s not impossible. With some time and understanding of how things work, you too can conquer Hall H, the biggest and most popular room at SDCC.
Check out our extensive article regarding what you can do to get into the most competitive programming room at SDCC:
SDCC On A Budget
So you want to go to San Diego Comic-Con but you don’t have a lot of cash. Don’t worry! It’s absolutely possible to enjoy the con with a small SDCC budget.
This section will grow. For now, please enjoy our first piece regarding transport ion:
First Time SDCC Attendee Reports
These articles were written by Geekiary staff members who attended SDCC for the first time and chose to share their experiences with us.
Are you a first time attendee? Are you curious what it’s going to be like jumping head first into the biggest geek convention in the United States? Check these stories out! You might learn something from seeing the convention through the eyes of another newbie.
- 10 Things I Learned During My First SDCC
- A First Timer and Cosplay Perspective
- SDCC New Attendee Webcast
Returning SDCC Attendee Reports & Tips
These articles were written by Geekiary staff members who were returning to SDCC, but sharing unique experiences that help others. They’re sharing they’re wisdom to help you, the new attendees, navigate the biggest pop culture convention in the United States just a little bit easier.
- My Adventure as a Panelist – Tips for people hosting a panel at SDCC
- Secrets of Comic-Con: Things Attendees WILL Tell You – General tips and facts about the con
- Exhibit Hall Adventures – An overview of the Exhibit Hall floor from 2014 to give you and idea what it’s like
- SDCC Nightlife Webcast – A special edition of FEELINGS… with The Geekiary, all about the con night life
- SDCC vs. DragonCon – Not sure which convention is right for you? Know all about DragonCon but need help learning about SDCC? We’ve got you covered.
Friend’s General Tips
The following guides are from friend’s whom we trust to give you the best general tips for the con. Check it out!
Now that you’ve learned what needs to be done to attend SDCC, consider checking out our extensive San Diego Comic-Con Masterpost to see what we’ve been up to since 2013. You can also view many of our press rooms on our YouTube channel and follow our San Diego Comic Con Pinterest Board! We’ve also started a brand new SDCC Tips Pinterest Board specifically geared towards newbies.
San Diego Comic-Con is an amazing experience and anyone who wants to put in the effort should have a chance to attend. We hope you’ll use these tips and enjoy the convention!
Note On Affiliates: All of our affiliate links are thoroughly vetted. They are friends of ours, mentors, and partners. We trust them with SDCC advice and you should trust them too!