15 Free Off-site Events at Comic-Con 2014

These are some of the best FREE activities taking place outside of the San Diego Comic Con convention center in 2014.

San Diego Comic Con Convention Center - Screen Rant

Every year over 100,000 people from all over the world descend upon San Diego like geeky locusts to attend Comic-Con. Over the course of four jam-packed days, attendees are (over)exposed to all manner of TV, movie and comic goodness - at least, that's what those fortunate enough to actually acquire tickets to the mega-event will experience.

Over the years, SDCC has grown so large that many events have overflowed to Petco Park and the surrounding areas. Most of these events are free and don't require an attendee badge to participate in, making them perfect for the broke and/or badge-less comic/TV/movie enthusiast.

With dozens of events happening daily, and most often simultaneously, it can be tough to filter through which ones are worth waiting in line to experience. We've compiled a list of the events we think will be the most fun, and I'm personally going to visit and experience them all (hopefully on camera).

Let's get started...


Nerd HQ

Nerd HQ at Petco Park

Where: Outside Petco Park

When: 7/23 - 7/27

This might be the biggest and greatest off-site event available to everyone at Comic Con. The Nerd Machine (who sponsors Nerd HQ) was founded by actor Zachery Levi (Chuck) - along with prop masters David and Courtney Coleman - as a way for nerds all over the world to gather and share in all things nerdy.

In addition to having free areas inside the HQ - which are sponsored by Sega, Intel and Catan Anywhere - anyone can purchase a ticket for $22 to attend the various panels that happen at the HQ throughout the Con. All the proceeds go to Operation Smile (a worthy cause indeed). The informal panels give fans a chance to personally interact with some of their favorite celebrities in a way not even available to them during the often limited time constraints inside the Con.

Here are just a few of the big names attending the panels this year: Jeff Bridges, Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln and various cast members from The Walking Dead, The Giver and other popular TV shows.

And if that wasn't enough, Nerd HQ is holding a free dance party outside of Petco Park Thursday night the 24th - so put on your dancing shoes and join the fun, because no one puts Baby in the corner!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Interactive

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Michelangleo

Where: Petco Park Interactive Zone

When: 7/23 - 7/27

While Paramount Studios will almost certainly be holding a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel this year, it won't be the only display of Turtle Power at the Con. Just cross over the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge and visit the interactive zone staged in the parking lot outside of Petco Park.

Once there, visitors can hang out in the Turtle Lair, watch the latest movie trailer, receive a "Turtle-style" photo souvenir of themselves or play an interactive game sponsored by Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut will also be giving away free pizza and there will be a pizza launcher flinging foam discs up to 20 feet away for people to catch and keep. Cowabunga, dude!


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Interactive

Sin City A Dame to Kill For - Josh Brolin

Where: Petco Park Interactive Zone

When: 7/23-7/27 (Unofficial)

Other than a trailer and some images, promotional material for director Robert Rodriguez's highly anticipated sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has been oddly scarce. However, Aldamisa Entertainment isn't leaving fans of the Frank Miller comic series with nothing to wet their whistle at the Con this year.

At the exhibit, visitors can listen to DJs spin music from the Sin City soundtrack while watching the trailer and clips from the movie. They can go one step further by photographing themselves directly into a scene from the film. The standard giveaways of branded t-shirts and other promotional material will be present, but the two coolest things to see here should be the wall around the exhibit featuring graffiti from local street artists and the group of six classic cars driven in the movie.


The Boxtrolls Food Truck

The Boxtrolls

Where: Petco Park Interactive Zone 

When: 7/25 @ 1 PM

Anyone who has ever endured the food inside the Con knows that sometimes there's nothing better than chowing down on a good banana, granola bar or ... deep fried tarantula?

Focus Features has partnered with the world famous Bug Chef David George Gordon (author of The Eat-A-Bug Cook Book) to bring his edible insect delicacies to the starving Comic-Con masses, all in an effort to promote their upcoming stop-motion animated film, The Boxtrolls.

The food truck should be there throughout the Con, but Chef Gordon will be on hand at 1 PM Friday to give a live demonstration of his famous bug cooking skills. If you're brave enough to munch down on a skewered grasshopper, then come hungry and possibly bring some ketchup - everything tastes better with ketchup.


Pixels Electric Dreams Factory Arcade

Pixels - Donkey Kong with Barrel

Where: Hard Rock Hotel

When: 7/24 - 7/27

When 1980s-era video game baddies come to life and attack New York City, the government turns to a group of video game experts to save them - because who else are they gonna call, Wreck-It Ralph? He's busy making a sequel. Such is the plot to Adam Sandler and Kevin James' new comedy, Pixels, due out in May 2015.

To help promote the film, Columbus Pictures will set up a free arcade in the Hard Rock Hotel chock full of classic '80s arcade games (no word on which ones yet). Players aren't just having fun, though. The ones with the top five high scores across all eight games will be entered into both a daily drawing to win a Playstation 4 and the Grand Prize of a walk-on role in the Pixels movie.

Limber up your wrist, stretch out your jump button finger and practice blasting aliens because one day YOU might have to save the world with Mario's hammer.


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