Help, experienced travelers and San Diegans: where can I find lodgings during Comic Con?
July 6, 2011 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Help, experienced travelers and San Diegans: where can I find lodgings during Comic Con?

I'm going to Comic Con in San Diego, CA in a couple weeks -- I only got a ticket just now.

All the hotels within walking distance of the convention center are totally packed.

OK, so being near the convention center is out. Too bad. Looks like I'll be renting a car.

A friend told me, "Well if you go out to the boonies, you'll get a place."

Here's where your knowledge and experience come in. What is a nice SD neighborhood within about a 1/2 hour drive of the convention center where I can find a reasonably comfortable place to stay that isn't totally gross for under $200/night.

I actually have reserved a motel that appears, based on Google Maps, to be about twenty minutes from the center, but it may be a little too grungy for me. I'll deal if I have to but I'm hoping with a little help to come up with something better.


Where/how can I find a decent hotel, B&B, or even shared apartment during an extremely popular convention, optimizing for price and comfort since location is no longer optimizable.
posted by eeby to Travel & Transportation around San Diego, CA (13 answers total)
Here is a quick search from Airbnb in the region..

Disclaimer - used them for over a year and had nothing but positives!
posted by camerasforeyes at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2011

Last year (although I wasn't thrilled with how this whole situation played out, but that was another matter since I thought we'd already had a place to stay long before this), my traveling companion posted a "want" ad on Craigslist, saying what she needed, how many of us there were, how long we were going to stay and how much we'd pay. We ended up in the extra room of some woman's (she was, I believe, a law student or something -- so mid-20s) condo about a mile and a half from the convention center (sort of walkable -- I did it once -- but I wouldn't recommend it). It was actually a really nice place and she was friendly although there wasn't much more than wake up/go to the con/come back/crash/repeat.

Airbnb/etc. may work out better. If you don't mind renting a car, that will open up your options much more.

Good luck and have fun. (And don't lose your wallet at the con like I did.)
posted by darksong at 2:45 PM on July 6, 2011

I've been to SDCC many times. It took me the third time before I figured out the best way. The hotels downtown are pricey and have very small rooms (that's important because after being very close to 150,000 people, you kind of want to stretch out at night). Yes, walking is a benefit but foot traffic is heavy. When you leave San Diego, you will really appreciate personal space.

Since you are booking late, try the Hotel Circle area. There are hotels still available in the convention block but they are a little further and some are pricey. Try to stay somewhere along the trolley route or within a quick drive. Mission Valley isn't horrible. You DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT want to drive downtown during this event. It's a nightmare.

If you are flying into San Diego, don't rent a car at the airport. They price gouge. Rent off site, there is an Enterprise downtown with rates that are 50% or more off the airport price. Cab fare was under $15 from the airport to their location. Bonus - you can return the car to the airport thus saving the return cab fare.

Trolley - buy a 4 day pass and use the trolley. It has 2 stops in front of the convention center and it doesn't have to wait for cars and pedestrians. Last year, I took the trolley from Fashion Valley Mall and it was maybe a 15 minute ride versus a 45 minute car ride plus parking downtown ($20/day). It was $5/day for the unlimited pass. I saved money and I wasn't stressed when I got there.

Ok, that's more than you asked for but I hope it's helpful.

Good luck!
posted by bodgy at 2:54 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

Whatever you do, don't do the far away (Point Loma) hostel; the logistics are tortuous. You're probably too late to book the one in the Gaslamp district, but it's worth a shot checking - I got in in late June one year, though that was before the days of Hall H.

Be aware that late-night service isn't like it is in other big cities. I had to skip the Masquerade my first year because I had to catch an 8:30-is-the-last-of-the-day bus ride.

(Also, don't camp at the KOA. We - sleeping in our tent - were hit by a bicycle at 2am and ended up on a friend's hotel room floor for the rest of Comic-Con 2005.)
posted by SMPA at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2011

I'm a San Diegan and I go to SDCC every year, and bodgy's advice is spot-on. You don't want to drive anywhere near downtown during SDCC, and the trolley is BY FAR the easiest way to get to the convention center. The only thing I would add is if you are staying in Mission Valley/Hotel Circle, you will be pretty close to the airport and might not even need to rent a car. If you only need to go airport>hotel and hotel>airport, and won't be going anywhere else besides downtown for SDCC via trolley, skip the rental and just take a cab or a shuttle to your hotel.
posted by sbrollins at 3:58 PM on July 6, 2011

@sbrollins - the only problem with some of those places is location in relation to trolley stop. I stayed one year in Hotel Circle and the hotel advertised they were on the trolley line. They failed to mention it was over a mile walk on a busy street with no sidewalks. Use your resources is the moral of the story.

I also packed my lunch last year. I had a cooler bag and I used the bag check ($3) very day. I think I spent way under $40 for lunches Thurs thru Sun doing this. There were 2 of us so it was a huge savings. I did it originally so I could eat healthy food. But it turned out that I saved a ridiculous amount of money.
posted by bodgy at 6:56 PM on July 6, 2011

I stayed one year in Hotel Circle and the hotel advertised they were on the trolley line. They failed to mention it was over a mile walk on a busy street with no sidewalks.

Just wanted to reiterate this point; much of Hotel Circle is pedestrian-unfriendly so be careful when picking a hotel. Might want to pick a stop a few stops east just to ease the hassle (and have an easier time finding space).
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:29 AM on July 7, 2011

Thanks a lot for the help, everyone, and the extra info. Much appreciated.
posted by eeby at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2011

I don't know San Diego, but based on the trolley map it looks like I should try to find a place on the orange line instead of Hotel Circle, since it goes right to the convention center.

Is there some reason people prefer the blue line/Hotel Circle?
posted by eeby at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2011

1. The blue/green line goes through where the hotels are - that line was basically built to accommodate tourists and people going to sporting events or shopping. There aren't so many hotels along the orange line, especially close to downtown where it runs through areas that are not so nice. Maybe if you stay way out in La Mesa or something.

2. As mentioned by others, there are special event lines during the convention (and baseball games) that go from Qualcomm Stadium, down the green/blue lines right to the convention center, cutting out the whole loop around downtown and the transfer at Old Town. Even if you get off the normal blue line at One America Plaza or 12th and Imperial, it isn't a very long walk to the convention center.
posted by LionIndex at 6:17 PM on July 7, 2011

OK, great. It all makes sense now.

Thanks again for the help, everyone!
posted by eeby at 5:09 PM on July 8, 2011

I just wanted to say thanks again, guys.

I went and had a good time and met people and bought a bunch of stuff and all of your advice was really helpful to me.

I stayed out at the "Courtyard by Mariott" on Hotel Circle and it wasn't the greatest but options were limited obviously, and it worked out OK.
posted by eeby at 5:22 PM on August 5, 2011

« Older selling a dot com   |   Software development jobs in the Middle East Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.