Comic-Con 2019: 16 things to do outside Comic-Con without a badge


If you weren’t sitting in front of your computer hitting enter over-and-over to snag a Comic-Con badge this year, there’s no need to fear, Underdog is ... oh, wait a minute ... we lost our train of thought for a second ... because there’s still plenty to see and do in downtown San Diego outside the convention center walls without that coveted pass.

Some events are right behind or beside the San Diego Convention Center while others can be found in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter and beyond.

Here are 16 ways you and your family can celebrate your Comic-Con fandom sans the iconic Comic-Con badge.

Comic-Con International 2019 Art Show

Comic-Con International’s annual exhibition will feature hundreds of drawings, paintings, sculptures and other art pieces, created by both amateur and professional artists, on the lobby level of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday;0 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Grand Hall, 1 Market Place, San Diego. Free.

FOX’s Animation Domination Fan Fair 2019

FOX network launches big with its inaugural Fox Fan Fair, an interactive experience featuring carnival rides, including a 70-foot-tall Ferris wheel, giant lawn games, free treats, giveaways, and exclusive sneak-peek screenings of Sunday night returning favorites, “The Simpsons,” “Bob’s Burgers, “Family Guy,” and an all-new series “Bless the Harts.” Noon to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Across from the New Children’s Museum, West Island Avenue and Front Street, San Diego. Free.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Car Lot

How many times have you said, “I don’t believe it!” Whether you do or don’t, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Car Lot features some of the strangest and oddest items money can buy. From the littlest street-legal car to a Landspeeder and Hummer made out of lottery tickets, this interactive outdoor car lot has it all. For some wacky fun, check out the inflatable tube men, human car washes, or test your skills at the pinball arcade. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Lexus Lot at the Petco Park Interactive Zone, 100 Park Blvd., downtown San Diego. Free.

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will be parked for three days at the Interactive Zone at Petco Park with its standard goodies and collectibles, including an exclusive five-character macaron set of Hello Kitty, My Melody, Chococat, Keroppi and Tuxedo Sam, available in limited quantities. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., downtown San Diego.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu Pop-Up

From video games to the silver screen, the world of Pokémon will be seen like never before thanks to the Detective Pikachu fan activation. In this “immersive walkthrough,” participants will tour a redesign of Ryme City, a neon cityscape, where humans and Pokemon live peaceably. Hang out at the marketplace, win prizes, gaze at film prop displays, and take pictures with wandering Pokemon characters, including super-sleuth Detective Pikachu. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Outside the Omni Hotel, 100 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. Free.

Shazam! Chilladelphia Winter Carnival

Winter comes to sunny San Diego with this interactive amusement created from the blockbuster film, “Shazam!” Stay warm with games like shooting hoops, ring toss, bean bag toss, or test your strength at the high striker. Exclusive prizes will be given, and there will be plenty of opportunities to capture some Instagrammable photos to post on your social media page. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Outside the Omni Hotel, 100 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. Free.

Lightsaber Battle

Jedi knights, otherwise known as the Underground Lightsaber Fighters, will be one with the Force as they wield their lightsabers in competitive tournament play. Choreographed performances from other lightsaber clubs entertain the audience. 8 to 11 p.m. Friday. Bea Evenson Fountain at the Plaza de Balboa, Balboa Park. Free.

AMC’s “Walking Dead” DEAD X Walker Horde Event

Come to Petco Park’s outfield in your best “The Walking Dead” walker wear and be a part of the biggest walker horde around. Once the outfield is crawling with enough walkers (ages 18 and up), an exclusive photo will be snapped and used to make a TWD limited-edition poster to celebrate the upcoming 10th season of the show. 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., downtown San Diego. Free. Details and registration:

Impractical Jokers: Jokers Island

Joe, Murr, Sal and Q, better known as The Tenderloins from truTV’s “Impractical Jokers,” return to Comic-Con with a tropical-themed block party at Petco Park. Hosted by NSYNC’s Joey Fatone, the daylong bash includes Tru-TV screenings, DJ G Money, autograph signing, a Staten Island Ferry photo experience, contests, giveaways, free food and a whole lot more. 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. (doors open at noon) Saturday. The Park at Petco Park, 840 K St., downtown San Diego. Free.

Back on the Block with DJ Lance Rock

Close out your Comic-Con adventures with DJ Lance Rock and Friends from Nickelodeon’s Yo Gabba Gabba! Kids of all ages can sing and dance to an all-new musical review. 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., first floor courtyard, San Diego. Limited capacity. (619) 236-5800.

Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime Video is celebrating Comic-Con in a big way with a 60,000-square-foot, immersive fan experience showcasing three series: “The Boys,” “The Expanse” and “Carnival Row.” Located at the corner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade and First Avenue, the massive site will be hosting parties and screenings. Attendees will also receive gold and silver coins they can use to explore several pop-up experiences pulled from the shows. Thursday through Sunday. Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade and First Avenue. Look for the 40-foot tower with LED screens playing scenes from their spotlight series.

Hop-Con 7.0

The folks at Stone Brewing have been self-professed beer geeks since 1996, so it’s no surprise they celebrate Comic-Con every year with a sudsy event. The event isn’t free — it’ll cost $75 for drinkers and $35 for designated drivers — but you don’t need a convention badge, and each ticket comes with a long list of goodies. Each attendee will get 15 3-ounce tasters, access to a silent disco and lawn games, commemorative glassware and more. Stone’s nerdiest beer, W00tstout, will appropriately be on hand. The Imperial Stout was a 2013 collaboration between Greg Koch, the co-founder of Stone Brewing, Drew Curtis, the creator of, and Wil Wheaton, famous for his role as Wesley Crusher in “StarTrek: The Next Generation.” 7 p.m. Thursday. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, Point Loma.


Comic-Con is offering more off-site, badge-free programming than ever this year, including at a new location in Barrio Logan. The Artists’ Loft at BarrioHaus on National Avenue will host eight panels focusing on the contributions and impact of Latinx culture on comics and other forms of pop culture. Noon and 1 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. 1600 National Ave., San Diego.

Petco Park’s Interactive Zone

The Interactive Zone at Petco Park has long been a favorite, badge-free destination during Comic-Con, and it’s back this year with tons of fun, free offerings. Enter another dimension at The Twilight Zone experience in the Lexus Premier Lot. The event is free, and although pre-registered tickets are sold out, there will be a general admission line. If line’s aren’t your style, check out the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not exhibit, also in the Lexus lot, instead. The walk-through will wow attendees with wacky, inflatable tube men, pinball machines, the world’s smallest car and a Humvee made completely out of lotto tickets. The zone will also be home to Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty, the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck and a Shark Week exhibit where visitors can check out Sharkzilla, a 40-foot shark. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., San Diego.

Star Trek’s “Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty” Exhibit

Star Trek is beaming into Comic-Con with panels and meet-and-greets, but you don’t have to have a badge to get your slice of the final frontier. CBS is taking over the Michael J Wolf Fine Arts gallery for the “Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty” exhibit. The showcase will celebrate Patrick Stewart’s return to his iconic role in the highly anticipated “Star Trek: Picard,” expected to debut later this year. Display items will include Picard’s cherished Ressikan flute, his family album, his Starfleet uniforms and the remains of the Borg Queen. The gallery will also offer attendees a first look at costumes and other items from the upcoming show and exclusive giveaways. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Michael J Wolf Fine Arts gallery, 363 Fifth Ave., San Diego.

Adult Swim on the Green

The Adult Swim carnival is back with tons of wacky, exciting activities — and it’s all badge-free. Get transported into the world of Rick and Morty with a visit to the Rickflector, or take a ride on a mechanical hot dog. The Adult Swim gift shop — set up in the Rickmobile — is sure to be stocked with limited-release merch, and meet-and-greets and panels are being offered day and night. If you can’t wait to hear more about Genndy Tartakovsky’s new cartoon, Primal, and hear about upcoming seasons of fan favorites, Rick and Morty and Robot Chicken, then the green is the place to be. Behind the convention center at Convention Way and the Fifth Avenue pier. Open to adults only (many evening events require tickets).