Top offsite events that don’t require a Comic-Con badge – KPBS | Candle Made Easy

Follow the category links below for our selection of pop culture, comics, music, arts, food, drink and fandom events to give you a taste of Comic-Con in San Diego without a badge – plus a few suggestions for pop culture offerings elsewhere in the region.


Cosplay and pop culture

The downtown San Diego library will celebrate its annual “Cosplay repair station,” a do-it-yourself lull when you need to fix some of your cosplay gear. You’ll find everything from 3D printers to a range of glues to needles and threads – all at the Central IDEA Lab on the 4th floor from 10-16 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 on Apple TV+.severance pay” interactive experience at the Hard Rock Hotel. On the show, employees agree to “separate” their work and personal lives and undergo an intrusive and mysterious procedure to ensure the most airtight work-life balance possible. The Registration is open for a limited time each day Slots at 6:00 p.m. beginning Thursday RSVP here Hard Rock Hotel, 207 Fifth Ave., downtown Free

Cosplay, silent disco and Bowling? That’s busy, but it’s par for the course at Comic-Con. tavern bowl host of the first annual “Silent” Bowl Cosplay Contest on Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with prizes, headphones and live DJs. Tavern Bowl East Village, 930 Market St., downtown. $20-35.

Either dress up as Captain America or come along to people watch Captain America’s army photo shoot, Sunday noon at the fountains in front of the Marriott. Free.

The closest comic store to the convention center, Now or never comics will be hosting a DC/HBO Harley Quinn takeover starting Wednesday, including free DC comics giveaways.

Courtesy of Now or Never Comics

Downtown San Diego’s “Now or Never” comics are seen in an undated photo.

Balboa Park is always worth a detour, and the newly opened “Spider-Man: Beyond the AmazingThe immersive exhibition can only be seen until January. The opening times are from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Comic-Con Museum, 2131 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park. $18-30.



That Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians is again in the neighboring inner city library from Wednesday to Sunday. It’s free to the public with a RSVP (but Comic-Con badge holders can skip the RSVP process). Each day is themed and explores the way literacy, comics and pop culture intersect in education, publishing, libraries and more, although curious comics fans are welcome and encouraged. Don’t miss the panels on banned and contested books: The publishers panel ‘Bans Off Our Books! Responding to Challenges” will take place on Friday, July 22 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Libraries and Schools Book Ban Panels Thursday 3-5pm Saturday at 4pm, “Intellectual Freedom for Educators” touches on the latest set of laws proposed to restrict subject matter in classrooms. San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., downtown. Free.

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

After Comic-Con, celebrate the late comic book writer and artist Mark Gruenwald’s induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame at this after party. Knowhere Games & Comics, 125 Vallecitos De Oro #J, San Marcos. Free.



That Rooftop Cinema Club at the Embarcadero has a triple title of comic book 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 Sunday at 4:15 p.m. celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the screening of “The Dark Night” at Comic-Con Day at 8:15 p.m. The full schedule is here. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (4th floor attic), 1 Market Place, downtown. $11.75 to $25.50.

On Thursday, Digital Gym will show the documentary from 2003, “afro punk“, with director James Spooner personally for a post-film talk with moderator dr Lawana Richmond. There will also be a pre-show panel at 7 p.m. in the Quartyard as part of the Afrofuturism Lounge. Digital Gym, 1100 Market St., downtown. $8-$12.


books and zines

Immerse yourself in giant sand sculptures and listen to free samples of Audible Originals The audible beach, directly across from the convention center. Open Thursday to Saturday from 8am to 8.30pm and Sunday from 8am to 6pm. First Avenue and the Martin Luther King Promenade. Free.


Beth Accomando

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

Independent bookstore Libelula books and SD Zine Fest present a Free Zine Exchange from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Libélula books, 950S. 26th Street, Barrio Logan. Free.


to eat and drink

The newly opened Lumpia gas lamp factory hosts a takeover from the movie “Lumpia with revenge“Events are a screening afterparty on Thursday at 10pm; a pop-up signing from Jayson Atienza from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; and a popup signature with Patrick Ballesteros from 8-9 p.m. on Saturday. Gaslamp Lumpia Factory, 423 F St., downtown. Free.

For more snacks see Petco Park Interactive Zonefor the “Hello Kitty Cafe Truck,” open from Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or the “Wrath of P’Khan Coolhaus ice cream truck‘ from 10am-6pm (while supplies last) on Saturdays. Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd., downtown.

So Cal Comics presents a Kick-off party at the Gesellschaftsbrauerei at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, introducing an exclusive Comic-Con beer, a Makers’ Market for local creators, free comics 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 the creation of characters like Bugs Bunny, Road Runner and many more. Sparks gallery in the Gaslamp will be a host Chuck Jones Pop Up during Comic-Con – including virtual selfies with augmented reality characters, additional pop art in the gallery and events. The opening hours of the gallery are Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an evening program. Sparks Gallery, 530 Sixth Ave., downtown. Free.

This year the Afrofuturism lounge opens Thursday and Friday at 2 p.m. in the Quartyard. It correlates with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Arts’ recently opened exhibit, The Buses Are Coming, which celebrates the Freedom Riders’ protests during the civil rights movement. In addition to the art, there will be music, yoga, meditation, performances and lots of discussions – like “Climate Change Through an Afrofuturist Lens” and a discussion on the business side of creativity. Quartyard, 1301 Market Street, Downtown/East Village. Free.

That SDCC art exhibition takes over the Manchester Grand Hyatt all weekend, with fan-submitted artwork alongside Eisner Award-nominated pieces. Open Thursday and Friday from 9am to 9pm, Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday from 9am to 7pm. Free.

South Parks Garbage Lamb Gallery opens an exhibition of prints (and more). Catherine Branock‘s upcoming graphic novel series “The Weikenings”. The exhibition is called “Four letter words: GIRL,” and opens with a reception from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday with an animation screening and artist talk at 8:00 p.m. Trash Lamb Gallery, 2365 30th St., South Park. For free.



Much of the Gaslamp’s after-hours music scene includes nightclubs and DJs, however House of the Blues has an 18+ option,”Stranger Things Night,” dedicated to the hit show’s soundtrack and musical era. 8:30 p.m. Thursday. House of Blues, 1055 5th Ave., Downtown. $18-$35.

On board the Star of India ship that “Sea Monster Salon,” includes mai tais, snacks and music by blues and rock group Fish & the Seaweeds. The Sea Monsters: Delving into the Deep Myth exhibition, which just opened at , will also be on display during the event. Saturday, 5-10 p.m. 21+ Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 North Harbor Dr., downtown, $40-50.

Too much sun and sunscreen for you? Detox with dark music by Mexicali’s post-punk act Quiet. Sharing the bill are genre-defying Planet B and theatrical doom metal performer D.Wrex In the Kasbah, Thursday at 9:30 p.m. $12. Kasbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Midtown.

Mexicali-based band Silent is pictured in an undated photo.  her new album, "modern hate" was released on April 23, 2021.

Becky DiGiglio

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


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

Check out the KPBS Comic-Con Events Calendar for other external events.

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