What's free at Comic-Con

20 JULY 2014

If you pay attention to all of the events going on around the Con, it can sometimes seem like a rich nerd’s game. $80 to walk in the door of a party, $90 to hear a concert, $40 to sit down at a meetup - it adds up fast. And that doesn’t even include exclusives, which can sent you back $140 for a doll or $200 for an action figure.

These prices can feel a bit demoralizing when you’re of modest means and have already spent almost 2K on your badge, flight and hotel room (and still have to eat.) Luckily, you can have a good time at the Con without running up your credit card on spendy events. There are so many things to do that are free (or cheap), you won’t even remember the more expensive options.

Here's what's free at Comic Con.



uMTV is throwing that party Thursday night with the Fan Awards in Petco Park.

Also on Thursday night: Beer Bust at Comic-Con, which serves up 400 free beers.

FearFestEvil  party is on Friday night and free as long as you RSVP.

Incognito with Adam Savage on Friday night is also free, and first come first serve.

Nerd HQ may charge for panels but there’s a lot of free stuff to do there otherwise, including their Thursday night dance party.

Borderlands Prequel Laser Tag will be at the top of Petco Park. Free, but people with badges get priority over anyone else.

Godzilla Interactive will be behind Hall H. You’ll have a 24 foot Godzilla to admire and a graffiti wall to adorn with your personal Godzilla moments.
Homer's Dome invites you to take a 4-D journey into Homer's thoughts by the Hilton Bayfront.

ArtExpo is free and takes place at the Wonderbread Factory - 121 14th Street.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Interactive will be in the Petco parking lot. You can see the latest movie trailer, get a Turtle-style photo, eat free pizza and get a free foam disk.

Sin City Interactive is in the same place and will show clips/trailers, get a photo of themselves in the film, get t-shirts and see the 6 classic cars in the movie. The Suicide Girls should be there off and on too.

We don’t know exactly what will happen at the Game of Thrones Survive the Realm experience in the Omni Gallery but we know it will be awesome. A photo of you flying around on a dragon? Crushing the Red Viper’s head? Fighting a bear? Probably something we can't imagine. ETA: Per Andrew we know that it will have a virtual wall for people to climb and the first 2000 people a day will get swag.
Adult Swim’s Fun Houseand Meatwad Dome in the Petco parking lot are 18+ and free. The Fun House is kind of a bounce house/obstacle course; the Dome I'm not sure of.

The Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality Bridge Escape will be in that area. You can wear an Oculus Rift headset to experience the Headless Horseman yourself.

Gotham Zipline and Police Cars are free; the Police Cars will be driving around and you just need to flag them down. The Zipline you can find outside Hall H.

Night events at the Con have competitions, a mixer for gay comic book fans, trivia contests and countless film festivals and screenings - anime, Star Trek Episodes, Spike and Mike, the IFF. There is something for everyone after dinner.

So many gaming events. See here for a longer list but the Xbox Lounge at the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the Nintendo Lounge at the Marriott Marquis alone could keep you busy.

The Assassin's Creed Experience outside the Hilton Gaslamp will ask you to climb ropes, do a 25 foot “leap of faith” and generally scramble around an obstacle course for a free t-shirt.
History Channel's Viking Interactive is in the parking lot at 450 2nd Ave. You'll be made up into a rough-looking Viking and then be placed into 3 different scenes for a compiled video you can share on social.  

Not counting the cost of your get-up, the Saturday night Zombie Walk is free and fun.
Friday's Orphan Black meetup will have free food, drinks. 1 pm at Southpaw Social at 815 J Street.

The Strain Fan Event on Saturday night will screen 2 episodes and have food and drinks.

Adult Swim is hosting Tim and Eric's Jammy Party for the world premiere of their new live action show Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories. You have to wear pajamas to attend and RSVP .

Geek and Sundry is open to all at Jolt'n Joe's every day.


Once upon a time, even B-list panels gave out t-shirts. (The best one in my collection: a blue shirt with a hula girl and a “I Got Lei’d at Comic-Con” from the Hawaii 5-0 panel before the first Walking Dead panel ever.) Then the recession’s cold tentacles reached into Comic-Con and we all started getting cheap trinkets that broke within hours. But it looks like this year many panels are bringing good swag back to us.

The Penny Dreadful panel is handing out Tarot cards.

The Adult Swim Funhouse and Meatdome in the Petco Park parking lot are giving out t-shirts to anyone who completes them.
Simon& Schuster will give out Star Trek books, different ones every day of the Con.

If you donate blood at the Hyatt, you get a swag bag full of goodies, including a True Blood t-shirt. You also get entered into multiple drawings.

Creepy & Eerie’s Saturday panel will hand out Creepy swag.

While I can’t say for sure, the Game of Thrones experience gave out t-shirts last year and probably will this year too.

On Friday at 1 pm, the BoxTrolls food truck will hand out free “delicacies” from chef David George Gordon. Petco Parking lot.
The Temple of Art 11:00 Saturday panel will have t-shirts and giveaways.

Red Giant Entertainment is offering a Giant-Sized #0 comic 4-pack to anyone who comes to their Sunday panel: .

The Teen Wolf booth #3729 has "activations" where you can insert yourself into a custom character poster and create your own monster, as well as a free limited edition bestiary by artist Swann Smith that details the creatures of Beacon Hills.
Marvel is giving out something legendary at its Saturday 10:30 and 12:30 panels. It claims.

This is just a teeny portion of the prizes and shirts and free stuff that will be handed out; most panels don't announce it ahead of time. As for eating cheaply, see my post on eating at Comic-Con.

 If you know anything else that's free, post it in the comments.



  1. according to the SDCC app, the game of thrones event will have a virtual wall people can climb, and they're giving out some free swag to the first 2,000 people each day

  2. Do you know if the Game of Thrones Survive the Realm experience requires a SDCC badge for entry? I been searching and can only find conflicting reports. I was hoping to go Thursday, but don't want to waste any time in line only to find out you need a badge (Thursday is the only day I don't have a badge)!

    1. CCI's page says you need a badge for it: "Wear your Comic-Con 2014 Badge for access to these events, if space is available!" -: http://comic-con.org/toucan/17sdcc-2014-all-fun-outside-convention-center#sthash.VtSBlD37.dpuf


  3. Hi, I have a question
    But the ticket does it include?
    For example, it includes autographs with the players and the participation in the panel,
    or just a chance to get into the place?

    1. Your badge gets you entry into the whole show - panels, autograph sessions, official CCI-sponsored events - all of it. You don't have to pay extra for any of that.