No money? No pass? No problem! Comic-Con, running July 24-27, offers plenty of events open to the public. Just because you’re outside of the Convention Center walls, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the freebies, the access to celebrities and the people watching that the ticket holders are boasting about during this epic week of geeky good times.
History Channel's ‘On the Set With Vikings’ Experience
What: History Channel’s “On the Set With Vikings: An Interactive experience that treats the fans like members of the cast of the History Channel TV show "Vikings." The experience includes a behind-the-scenes look at "Vikings" and a chance to have a starring role in your own custom video that can be shared on social media.
Where: Located across the street from the Convention Center at 450 Second Ave.
When: July 24-26, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Guests will create a character and choose a weapon of choice. Next, they will meet with hair and makeup artists to become transformed into a fierce "Viking" and be placed into three scenes complete with "Vikings" ships, battles, axes and villages. When fans have completed the experience they will have a :30 video to share via Twitter, Facebook or Vine.
Celebrity sightings: Cast members Travis Fimmel (Ragnar), Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Clive Standen (Rollo) and “The Hunger Games” alum Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) will make an appearance on Friday, July 25 from 1 – 2 p.m. at the site to sign autographs and take photos with fans.
Special Kids Day Activities: Skylanders Trap Team
What: For game lovers, Activision offers an opportunity to be among the first to play the upcoming Skylanders Trap Team.
Where (several locations): Located in the Interactive Zone at Petco Park’s Lexus Premier Lot; the Nintendo Gaming Lounge in the San Diego Ballroom at Marriott Marquis & Marina; and the Xbox Lounge in the Manchester Grand Hyatt at 1 Market Place (SDCC Badge required for Xbox Lounge—and there’s a chance to win a Skylanders-themeed Xbox One).
Details: Experience the game before anyone else at gameplay stations throughout the Gaslamp, along with special giveaways for kids who play the game (while supplies last)
When: Sunday, July 27
San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina ‘Perk Up’ lounge
What: Take a break from the madness in the Gaslamp and enjoy free amenities and photo opportunities from San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina’s “Perk Up” lounge. You do not need to be a guest of the hotel or a Comic-Con badge holder.
Where: San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, 333 W Harbor Dr, San Diego.
Details: You’ll have the chance to relax, charge electronics at charging stations, feast on complimentary snacks, create a souvenir “gif” at a gif photo booth and more. To participate in the lounge, you must download Marriott’s Mobile Guest Services app in your iPhone to receive the “LocalPerk,” which will allow you access to the lounge. If you have an Android phone, you need to sign up for Marriott Rewards if you’re not already a member. Click here to download the app: Marriott Guest Services
When: July 24-27 from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Courtyard Marriott Cosplay Contest
What: Courtyard Marriott is hosting a cosplay contest on July 26, where elite cosplayers will be judged by “The Walking Dead” star Norman Reedus. Also, throughout the convention dates, Comic-Con revelers can undergo free makeup treatments from Hollywood Special FX artists—with your choice of getting your own paint touched up or a complete transformation. You can choose from existing designs from the pros or create a customized original look.
Where: Courtyard Marriott’s Interactive Zone at Petco Park.
Details: Enjoy a cosplay contest, get your very own cosplay makeover by Hollywood special FX artists and meet the stars of “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones.”
When: July 24-26 from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Celebrity sightings: Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead”) on Saturday, 7/26; 12-2pm; Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) on Saturday, 7/26; 6-7pm; George R.R. Martin (author behind “Game of Thrones” series) on Sunday, 7/27; 2-4pm.
Nerdist Laser Tag, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
What: Nerdist takes over Petco Park for a game of grownup laser tag. Two teams of 25 players each go head to head in a real-life scenario inspired by the interstellar game Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Where: Petco Park (100 Park Blvd, San Diego).
Details: Enjoy a moon-ready oxygen bar and so much more.
When: July 24 – July 26, 11am-5pm
Celebrity sightings: Chris Hardwick will be playing along, and Nerdist’s Jessica Chobot will host.
Note: Priority access is given to Comic-Con badge holders, but the event is open to the public. Arrive early!
Nerd HQ Dance Party
What: Nerds unite for a free hangout during throughout the convention, including a “Conversations for a Cause” panel series, fan-focused interactions and exclusive gaming opportunities showcasing never-before-seen titles.
Where: Petco Park
Details: Expect free gaming and possible mingling opportunities with celebs, plus gameplay opportunities by SEGA. http://www.thenerdmachine.com/
When: July 24 – July 26
Celebrity sightings: Evangeline Lily, Jared Padalecki, and Adam Baldwin will sit on the panel. Jeff Bridges, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, Brenton Thwaites and with cast appearances by “The Walking Dead,” “The Giver,” and many more are also expected to join the panel, but note that tickets for panels are $22. The other events at NERDHQ are free.
Art to the Rescue!
What: The New Children's Museum is hosting an event for the little ones (ages 4 and under) in their art studio.
Where: The New Children's Museum, Main Level -– Art Studios; 200 West Island Ave. http://thinkplaycreate.org/
Details: Create a colorful, action-filled painting inspired by San Diego’s very own Comic-Con! When: July 25, 10:30am-noon
Note: This event is FREE for military families! Admission is $10 for adults and children 1 and over, and children under 1 are free.