Every year, San Diego Comic-Con draws thousands of the world's top fans of comic books, superhero movies, movie memorabilia, action figures, anime, science fiction, A-List celebrities, and all things pop culture. 2011 Comic-Con arrives in San Diego July 21 – 24.
Even if you don’t have a ticket, you can still dress up and partake in the outlandish fun and excitement. Some of the best things about the year’s biggest comic gathering can be found outside the confines of the Convention Center…you just have to know where to look. This year’s hot Comic-Con after parties include Samurais and School Girls at 10th Avenue Theatre, The Munky King Black Ball at BASIC, SyFy & E! Entertainment Party at Hotel Solamar, Marked Men Party at Maritime Museum, Zombie Walk in the Gaslamp Quarter and more.
Discover the best 2011 Comic-Con parties and special events.
Thursday, July 21: Samurais and School Girls V2.0 at 10th Avenue Theatre Rooftop
Known to bring the badass to Comic-Con weekend, the annual Samurais and School Girls party is back, featuring models dressed like manga characters, anime, local art, and entertainment by DJ Robin Roth and Hell on Heels Burlesque Revue. Best of all, a portion of proceeds will benefit ArtReach, a not-for-profit organization that takes professional artists into K-6 classrooms in San Diego. This Comic-Con party begins at 8:30pm, and pre-sale tickets start at $20 online, including a drink ticket. Learn more at silkroadproductions.us.
Thursday, July 21: Munky King Presents “The Black Ball” at BASIC
The Munky King is a trendy designer toy store in Los Angeles known to showcase anime artwork from local independent artists, including prints, apparel and books. Once again The Munky King is heading to San Diego to kick off Comic-Con weekend in style with the fourth annual Munky King event at BASIC in East Village. The coolest part of the event is the “1st Annual Designer Toy Awards” created by Clutter Magazine, which celebrate the industry’s top artists, customizers and manufacturers. Also at BASIC will be a live painting of Luke Chueh’s new 1000% Possessed, featuring Chueh and more renowned artists, as well as beats by DJ Coli. 1 and DJ R-Rated. This free Comic-Con party is from 9pm to 2am, and the first 50 guests get a free swag bag. Learn more at barbasic.com.
Friday, July 22: Marked Men Party III at San Diego Maritime Museum
The final voyage of this pirate-themed Comic-Con par-tay takes place along San Diego Harbor on not one, but two ships including HMS Providence, the same ship you see in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and the Star of India. Hosted by Brandon Hillock as Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew of Pirates of the Caribbean look-a-likes, the last Marked Men Party will feature music, drinks, zombies, sea creatures, mermaids, contests, giveaways and more. This epic Comic-Con event is from 8pm to 1am, and general admission tickets start at $50. Learn more at markedmenparty.com.
Saturday, July 23: SyFy & E! Entertainment Party at Hotel Solamar
If you’re searching for the glamorous side of Comic-Con, head to Hotel Solamar for the official SyFy & E! Entertainment Party. This celeb-studded event will extend out onto the street, where there will be a massive red carpet consuming the entire block of J Street, between 7th and 6th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter. This annual Comic-Con after party is typically hosted by Entertainment Weekly, but the ever-popular E! Entertainment crew will host the big bash along with SyFy this year, and we are thrilled. E! Entertainment is the ultimate destination for live celebrity coverage, putting an international spotlight on the San Diego scene. The red carpet opens at 8:30pm, and the event starts at 9pm. But sorry kiddos, this soiree is not open to the public.
Saturday, July 23: X-Sanguin – Last Call at Spin Nightclub
Imagine the party scene: The end of days has come, the dead walk the earth and the living are barricading themselves from the dead. Overrun by the Zombie Horde, the last remaining humans make their final, futile stand. X-Sanguin and The Zombie Defense Network invite you to dress up and go down in a blaze of glory at Spin, a near-downtown club with three levels, featuring 5+ DJ acts. X-Sanguin’s finale Comic-Con event rages on from 10pm to 4am. General admission tickets start at $10, and VIP tickets are $75. Learn more at x-sanguin.com.
Saturday, July 23: DJhere Presents The Body Poets at Ivy Nightclub
DJhere Productions is hosting a galactic-themed Comic-Con party at Ivy Nightclub at the Andaz Hotel, featuring a special performance by The Body Poets from “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, as well as beats by DJ Cobra, Este Angle, and Till. Dress in futuristic “Star Trek”-inspired duds, and celebrate Comic-Con with DJhere at the Andaz Hotel. RSVP for the complimentary guest list 9-11pm by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at djhere.com.
Snoop Dogg at FLUXX – July 23
In honor of Comic-Con weekend, the one and only Snoop Dogg will host Saturday night at FLUXX. Prepare to drop it like it’s hot all night long. The Godfather of Rap music loves to get his party on at FLUXX – view photos here.
Saturday, July 23: 37th Annual Masquerade Costume Show at Convention Center
The lavish Masquerade brings wonder and awe in an interactive garb competition. As fans know, costumes play a vital role in all the popular arts of comics, from movies, TV, comic books, fantasy arts and computer games. The Masquerade costume show has earned a reputation of impressive and clever costumes showcasing true devotion, and is aimed for attendees to showcase their own amazing talents and creativity. But perhaps the best spectacle is the 4,000+ audience that's lined up many hours in advance take their seats. Learn more at comic-con.org.
Saturday, July 23: San Diego Zombie Walk in Gaslamp Quarter
This free Comic-Con event is open to all ages and features zombie themed face painting ending in everyone in attendance walking around the Gaslamp Quarter dressed for the afterlife. Even if you don’t want to get dressed up and cruise the streets with your zombie friends, the Zombie Walk provides some of the best people watching opportunities of all time, as well as giveaways and entertainment. New this year is the Zombie Walk Anniversary Party. Learn more at sdzombiewalk.com.
Saturday, July 23: TechKaraoke Party at Horton Plaza Mall
Comic-Con is full of incredible spectacles to admire from afar, but if you want to partake in the action, head to Horton Plaza and sing your heart out at the TechKaraoke Party, presented by Twonky. This interactive Comic-Con event is free to the public, but you must RSVP to reserve your spot. Learn more at techkaraokeccsd.eventbrite.com.
Insider Tip: If parties aren’t your thing, head to the iconic San Diego Haunted Hotel. Come October, all our favorite horror movies come to life at the Haunted Hotel, located at the corner of 4th Avenue and Market Street in the Gaslamp Quarter. But this year we’re shaking things up a bit; the Haunted Hotel will open its doors for two days during Comic-Con weekend, Friday, July 22 & Saturday, July 23, from 7 to 11pm. Tickets are $16.99 per person. Call 866.419.4592 or visit hauntedhotel.com. Get details here!
See for Yourself: View our San Diego Comic-Con Photos.
Discover more in our 2011 San Diego Comic-Con Entertainment Guide.
Pictured: 2010 Comic-Con After Party at Voyeur by Danny Dilworth - view all Comic-Con party photos.