No ticket? So what!

Posted: July 15th, 2016 | Arts & Entertainment, Feature, Featured | No Comments

Get the most out of Comic-Con, even without a coveted pass

By Alex Owens

The hottest ticket this month is definitely a four-day pass to Comic-Con, which officially starts July 20. But if you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, you’re out of luck.

All the available tickets for Comic-Con have been sold, and new security measures using RFID codes will keep people from sharing passes the way they have in previous years.

Even though you need a ticket to get into the San Diego Convention Center, there are still ways to get into the Comic-Con spirit without a ticket — and some don’t cost a cent.

Conan O’Brien will tape four shows at Spreckels Theatre during Comic-Con. (Courtesy TBS)

Conan O’Brien will tape four shows at Spreckels Theatre during Comic-Con. (Courtesy TBS)

For instance, just by walking down Fifth Avenue, especially on the Friday and Saturday Comic-Con days, there will be lots of photo ops of people in costumes, or galleries with comic-centric window displays.

In addition, there are always lots of people handing out cool swag of all shapes and sizes. For instance, last year, a three-block stroll yielded some free stickers, a poster or two, a special Comic-Con edition of the Hollywood Reporter, ice cream and a Sharknado hat.

Oh, and sometimes you can get passes for free movie screenings. This year, there are rumored screenings for Paramount’s world premiere of “Star Trek Beyond” and also “Sausage Party,” a R-rated animated comedy written by and starring Seth Rogen.

The hottest free ticket for an event outside of Comic-Con may be for talk show host Conan O’Brien, who is taping Comic-Con shows for the second year in a row. This year, he will be taping shows on Wednesday, Thursday and two on Saturday, at the Spreckels Theatre, located at 121 Broadway, Suite 600, Downtown.

Other shows worth checking out include the Aquabats, a rock-ska band that pretends to be a team of crime-fighting superheroes. They will be playing House of Blues (1055 Fifth Ave.) on Saturday night.

Cult filmmaker Kevin Smith will be at the American Comedy Club (818 Sixth Ave.) on Thursday and Saturday nights discussing his films, other films and any damn thing he feels like.

As you might expect, local businesses are getting into the Comic-Con spirit with a wide variety of promotions.

The Hard Rock Cafe is holding a “True Hero” comic book drive to send to U.S. Marine Corps serving overseas. Starting July 18, the Monday of Comic-Con week, the restaurant will offer a special lanyard to the first 400 people who drop off comic books to the restaurant (801 Fourth Ave.) Besides being a limited edition collectible, the lanyard gives the wearer 20 percent off all retail, food, and non-alcoholic drink purchases at the Hard Rock Café during Comic-Con week.

Restaurants are also using Comic-Con to get creative with the menu.

Puesto at the Headquarters (789 W. Harbor Drive) has created a Comic-Con inspired taco duo. On one hand, The El Heroé taco mixes Maine lobster, filet mignon, crispy melted cheese, avocado, crispy onions and chipotle heroé sauce. Its counterpart, El Villain (the evil villain) has duck carnitas, black bean purée, whipped avocado and habanero pickled onion.

“Naruto Ramen,” to be offered during Comic-Con (Courtesy Tajima Ramen)

“Naruto Ramen,” to be offered during Comic-Con (Courtesy Tajima Ramen)

Tajima Ramen (901 E St.) is celebrating the Con with a Naruto Ramen, which is based on a popular Japanese anime character named Naruto who is always eating miso ramen.

The Blind Burro (639 J. St.) is doing a “Game of Thrones”-themed hot dog, called Wun Wun’s Giant Dog, that is made with a half-pound hot dog, candied bacon, pinto bean puree among other ingredients.

Bake Sale (815 F St.) has two “Star Wars”-inspired goodies: Wookiee Cookies, which are chewy coconut macaroons, and Dagobah soup, a white bean and summer vegetable soup inspired by Yoda’s swampy home planet.

There will be a big “brew-haha” on July 23, at Waterfront Park (1600 Pacific Highway) thanks to the Heroes Brew Fest, a beer event with nearly 40 breweries and lots of people dressed in superhero costumes. For complete details, check out

For more information, visit for Con-related info and for offsite events.

—Alex Owens is a San Diego-based freelance writer. He can be reached at

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