13 Things To Do At San Diego Comic Con If You Don’t Have A Badge

13 Things To Do At San Diego Comic Con If You Don't Have A Badge

If you didn’t get tickets to Comic-Con International: San Diego, then you might be in luck. For those of you who are going to be in the San Diego area during Comic Con, there are plenty of things to do without a badge.
Kim from Outside Comic Con was nice enough to help me put the following list together. It includes 13 awesome events you can get into without an SDCC pass.

“Conan” Tapings

Conan O’Brien will be taping his late night show “Conan” in San Diego Wednesday through Saturday during Comic Con. UPDATE: Tickets are sold out. 🙁

Nerd HQ

The Nerd Machine’s Nerd HQ is returning to the New Children’s Museum and is free to attend. There will be TV and Movie panels and “Conversations for a Cause”, which require tickets, available for $22. Hours:

  • Thursday, July 21: 9 AM2 AM
  • Friday, July 22: 9 AM7 PM
  • Saturday, July 23: 9 AM2 AM
  • Sunday, July 24: 9 AM4 PM

Camp Conival

Camp Conival - Con JunkiesCamp Conival, from Nerdist, Legendary, and Geek & Sundry, sends you back in time to relive your favorite memories from summer camp. Best of all, it’s free and doesn’t require a con badge. Full schedule is available at Nerdist.

“Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey”

The “Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey” exhibit features the latest in Virtual Reality. “The John Wick VR Experience” and “NASA’s Journey to Mars” are two of the many exhibits featured at this event.
You can visit the NDT exhibit at the following times at The Spa at the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel:

  • Wednesday, July 20: Media & VIP Preview 3:00–6:00 PM; Open Preview: 6:00–9:00 PM
  • Thursday, July 21 & Friday, July 22: 9:00 AM–8:00 PM
  • Saturday, July 23: 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Sunday, July 24: 9:00 AM–5:00 PM

Nintendo Gaming Lounge

Head on over to the Marriott Marquis Hotel & Marina for Nintendo’s annual Gaming Lounge, where they will be featuring their Play Nintendo Tour. This event provides you with the opportunity to pay some of Nintendo’s 3DS games and win some awesome prizes.
Registration is free at Eventbrite. Nintendo Lounge hours:

  • July 21 through July 23: 9:30 AM – 7 PM
  • July 24: 9:30 AM – 5 PM


Gamercon - Con JunkiesGAM3RCON features a Hall of Gamers, a video game arena, a retrocade, a board game arena and so much more. They also have lounges, panels and workshops so that all types of gamers can find something to do. Ticket prices start at $10 for kids and $20 for adults.

“Aliens” Screening

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “Aliens”, the Balboa Theatre is screening the sci-fi film classic on Wednesday, July 20, at 7 PM. Tickets are $11 and available through Ticketmaster.

“Star Trek” Art Exhibit

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Star Trek”, the Michael J. Wolff Fine Arts Gallery is hosting a “Star Trek” themed art exhibit featuring original 2D and 3D artwork. The exhibit will be open Thursday through Sunday during SDCC.

“Suicide Squad” at The Hard Rock

Suicide Squad - Con Junkies“Suicide Squad” will be taking over the Hard Rock Hotel, which will feature a 6,000 square foot recreation of the Belle Reve penitentiary. There will be a live-action virtual reality simulation where you can fight alongside Suicide Squad members in a scene from the film, Harley Quinn’s tattoo parlor where you can get skull “ink” and photo ops in a jail cell. This event will be open Thursday through Sunday, 10 AM to 7 PM.

M-A-C “Star Trek” Makeup Collection Release

M·A·C Cosmetics will be showcasing their “Star Trek inspired makeup collection, which is scheduled for release this Fall. There will be photo ops and immersive experiences available and you’ll be able to shop the M·A·C Star Trek color collection six weeks early. Hours:

  • Thursday, July 21 through Sunday, July 24: 10:00 AM–7:00 PM

“Supernatural” Fan event

There will be a “Supernatural” fan event at Analog Bar on Thursday July 21 at 7:30 PM. The event is hosted by Supernatural Wiki, with ticket prices ranging from $50 to $150.

CBLDF Welcome Party

CBLDF Welcome Party - Con JunkiesThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is hosting a Welcome Party sponsored by Image Comics and comiXology. The party starts on Thursday July 21 at 8 PM and will feature a gallery from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. To attend, you must RSVP and make a donation at Eventbrite.

“Ghostbusters” Mass Hysteria

“Ghostbusters” fans will be excited to hear that there will be an all-day Mass Hysteria party at the Werewolf Bar in the Gaslamp on Friday 7/22. The event is free and is open to all ages until 9:00 PM, when it becomes a 21+ only event. Entry is first come, first served. Here is the full schedule of events:

  • 8 AM-1 PM: Ghostbusters Brunch
  • 2 PM-4 PM: Jr. Ghostbusters and Buster families.  The family that busts together, stays together. Ghostbuster Grab Bag for the first 40 Kids, Photo ops with On Duty Ghostbusters in full gear. Also enjoy good food and cool beverages.
  • 4 PM-6 PM: Ghostbuster Happy Hour, Ghostbusters in full gear, (flight suit also acceptable) get special drink prices for all the hard busting that you do “It’s Miller Time”.
  • 6 PM- till close: “Mass Hysteria” Licensing partners Q and A throughout the night, Giveaways from Ghostbuster licensing partners, 80’s Music, Ghostbuster themed food and beverages, and some other surprises.


There are a ton of great things to do in San Diego without a Comic Con badge. If you couldn’t find something for you in this list, check out Outside Comic Con for the full list of events.

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