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San Diago Comic Con

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Good morning E-Hellions!

Dh has decided that he wants to attend the San Diago Comic Con in 2015. We are going to combine this with a 3 week tour of the Western USA. The start point is San Diago and we will be flying out of Las Vegas with 3 weeks in between.

We are aussies, and neither of us have been to the US before. I was trying to navigate through the tourist websites, but then remembered I had this awesome resource - E Hell!!

I have a few questions to start with (I am sure there will be more to come as we think them up)

1) We haven't been to a Comic Con before (they are not a big thing in Australia). Is there anything in particular I should know?

2) Looking at possibly hiring a small RV so we can  cruise around under our own steam. Has anyone done this? Best place to look? Will we have trouble parking/getting into places in a large vehicle? We are looking at one of the vans for 2 people, not a massive motor home or anything.

3) We don't mind driving (a bit nervous about the whole drive on the right thing!) What is a total 'Must see'? Thinking the Grand Canyon at the very least.

4) It looks like it will be in July, which I know is your summer. How hot is it likely to get? Will we be ok in a camper, or is a hotel the way to go?

5) Any eHellions live in that part of the country who might be interested in meeting up/showing us around/going for dinner/etc?

I'm not a vacation expert, but...

Driving in the city with a camper is going to be a bit tricky. But if you think you can manage a large vehicle, go for it! It sounds fun. :) It will be hot in July, BTW. Scorchingly so. But if you make sure to get a van with air conditioning, you should be OK.

The Grand Canyon is nice. So is Hoover Dam if you can find the time to drive up there. And possibly San Diego Zoo.

Thanks Blue. I didn't even think of Hoover Dam or the Zoo.

I am not too worried about the size of the car, DH has a truck licence in Australia - more that you all drive on the wrong side of the road!

I'll second that it'll be really hot in places like Vegas and parts of Arizona, but it just doesn't get that hot in SD, especially since you'll be near the ocean.  I'm not even sure how hot it'll get at the Grand Canyon since that's Northern Arizona (I just remember going out there Memorial Day Weekend several years ago and found myself quite underdressed in summery clothes -- a lightweight short dress and sandals).

I have to say that I wasn't very impressed with the Grand Canyon (it's huge but, color-wise, not very interesting).  If you're interested in beautifully-colored rock, Bryce Canyon in Utah is amazing (and not very far from Vegas).

It's hard to make a recommendation without really knowing what you're interested in seeing, outside of Vegas and the SD Comic-Con.  I just looked up the Wikipedia entry for the Comic-Con and read how it has really blown up in the past ten years (makes me sad that I never got around to attending before it got so huge...and before I moved away).  The entry states that only advance ticket sales are done nowadays, and they always sell out.

If you're into museums and theatre, then you'd want to make sure to visit Balboa Park while you're in SD.

If you're into historic old hotels, the Hotel del Coronado is also pretty amazing.  They also have a fabulous (but quite expensive) brunch buffet.

If you are into Disney at all, you might want to attend a showing at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood (if you visit LA at all).  A lot of my fellow theatre classmates also would've been the sort to attend a Comic-Con (oddly, I don't recall there being any in LA in the 90s); many of them were not only big theatre and movie fans, but also loved Disney and Sci-Fi.

If you're into theatre, three hours northeast of Vegas is the annual Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City.  It starts previews in June, opens in July and lasts all summer until about two weeks before Labor Day (then it has a short season in the fall also).  It's wonderfully done, and the plays are performed in repertory (I'd always been fascinated with how the actors could juggle playing simultaneous multiple roles).

In Vegas, they have a 24-hour (I think it's 24 hours) pass called the "Buffet of Buffets."  I think you pay a single price and are able to attend nine buffets in that single pass in a 24-hour period.  I couldn't imagine doing more than three buffets in a 24-hour period (late breakfast, dinner then early breakfast the next day), but DH's nice BFF and wife love to do it (well, his wife does, and she's one of the skinniest individuals I've ever met -- blessed with a really fast metabolism).

Part of me would love to attend Comic-Con sometime, because I think I would really be interested in the content. However, in recent years it has become a HUGE deal, with massive crowds, lots of waiting in line, overheated buildings, etc. (at least this is what I've heard from several sources). I just don't think I could handle that type of environment. So take that into account. Book everything possible as far in advance as you can--hotel, tickets to various Comic-Con events, etc.. And when you get there, be flexible with your schedule and the crowds. It would probably be much more enjoyable if you were content to just wander around, rather than if you were going because you specifically wanted to see THIS thing and THAT celebrity and so forth.

San Diego is a nice city. I go there every year for a work conference. I'm not sure where Comic-Con is held but I always stay in a hotel on a street called Hotel Circle, which has... lots of hotels on it. My dad didn't like the freeways with all the complicated exits, but if you study a map in advance and use a GPS while there you'll probably be fine. Some of my colleagues rent cars and drive around it quite happily when we attend the conference, even though they're not in San Diego any other time.

I think people tend to forget about San Diego, but it has lots of nice things to see. The zoo is great--huge, lots of walking. Balboa Park is not just plants but also museums and restaurants. I didn't really find Old Town to be that exciting; it was kind of touristy. I've never been to Coronado Island but people rave about it. There's also Sea World and historical stuff like the USS Midway, which is a museum ship now. It really depends on how much time you want to spend in San Diego away from Comic-Con. They have a pretty good public transportation system, with buses, train things, and trolleys. You can get a trolley pass that lets you hop on and off all day with no additional fee--it's a good way to get a tour of the city. I always go there in January and it tends to be cooler than people think--around 70 degrees, with a breeze. I don't know if that changes much in the summer or not.


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