The scene is set. Downtown San Diego is dressed and ready to entertain the masses for the 2017 rendition of Comic-Con International. No less elaborate than in previous years - street banners, massive building wraps, and ubiquitous transit ads showcasing all the latest pop culture phenomena demand every onlooker's undivided attention.

While San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) gets underway Wednesday evening, July 19, 2017 (preview night) and runs through Sunday, July 23 - a plethora of activities outside the convention center will be going on as well; a satisfying alternative for those unable to attend Comic-Con.

On the other hand, with such an abundance of outside events, the sheer spectacle can easily sidetrack Comic-Con badge holders, hindering their opportunity to see what's happening inside the convention. Be careful of this. Never underestimate how long it will take to get into your favorite panels.

Assuming you'll squeeze in some fun outside of Comic-Con, here is a selection of some activities worth your while.

Events outside of Comic-Con: No SDCC badge required

  • The Petco Interactive Zone - Ride the Ferris Wheel, explore the local food truck scene, and partake in family friendly activities. Wednesday evening, July 19 through Sunday, July 23. Outside Petco Park across from the Convention Center.
  • Zombie Walk / George A. Romero Remembrance Vigil - The candlelight vigil will honor the late filmmaker of zombie horror George A. Romero and will be followed by the annual zombie walk/parade with participants in character, costume, and makeup. Saturday, July 22 at 8pm. Horton Plaza Park.
  • AMC's Dead Quarters - Enter the official fan zone of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. Test your swing at the Negan Batting Cages and meet cast members. Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. Located across from the Convention Center.
  • Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Legendary present Kong: Skull Island - Free and open to all ages. Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. Located behind the Omni Hotel.
  • The Netflix Experience - Step into the "upside down" from Stranger Things, catch a glimpse of upcoming Netflix originals, and enter to win exclusive giveaways. Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, July 23. Located at the Hilton Gaslamp Hotel.
  • Comic-Con Nostalgia at the Grant - Experience where Comic-Con International originated in 1970 as the U.S. Grant Hotel celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Visit the Grant Grill Lounge and try the Game of Thrones inspired Tohrren Square Cocktail comprised of Scotch, Sweet Vermouth, Cynar, Essence of Oak, and Pastis. On Thursday, July 20 - a team of haiku poets will create personalized haiku poems (for those who inquire) during breakfast, lunch, and cocktail hours. Your haiku will be printed as a personalized keepsake. Live music will also be offered Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22. Located inside the Grant Hotel on Broadway.
  • Garage Kitchen and Bar - One of a handful of downtown restaurants serving late and offering a fun Comic-Con dinner menu. Stand out dishes include Wolverine's Wild Meatballs, the Magneto Truffle Lobster Mac, Deadpool Duck Confit, and the She-Hulk Short Rib Bourguignon. Also featuring live music on Thursday, July 20 and Saturday, July 22. Located on Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp.
  • Rave of Thrones - Club music and dancing with guest DJ Kristian Nairn (aka Hodor from Game of Thrones) perform Thursday, July 20 at 9:30 pm. Located at the Omnia Nightclub on 6th Avenue in the Gaslamp.
  • Syfy Fan Party - Features photo booths, hourly surprises, giveaways, and music performances by the Spazmatics on Thursday, July 20 and a guest DJ on Saturday, July 22. Free. 9pm-2am. Located at the New Children's Museum on Island Avenue.

SDCC badge holders events

  • Free drinks! Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film and Boom! Studios - How to partake: Pick up a free party invitation/drink ticket from the Boom! Studios booth (#2229) or the Fox booth (#4229) inside the Comic-Con Exhibit Hall and present at the Odysea Lounge. One per person. Thursday, July 20 starting at 9 pm. Located at the Odysea Bar inside the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.
  • MTV Fandom Fest - Features food, drink, games, free rides, activities, giveaways, live music, and more. This year's band TBA. Last year's band was Linkin Park. Friday, July 21 from 7pm-11pm. Located inside Petco Park.
  • The Red Wedding After Party - Presented by Hero Within. It's a nice day for a red wedding featuring plenty of food, drink, nerd dancing, and music by DJ Dre. Located at the House of Blues on Fifth Avenue.
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