Comic-Con: 9 Must-See TV Experiences Outside the Convention Center

A chance to visit 'Westworld' or train for space travel? Those are just two of the many experiences happening outside of San Diego Comic-Con.
Courtesy of Chris Hayner

While there's plenty to see on the exhibition floor at San Diego Comic-Con, all of the fun is not limited to what's going on inside the convention center. With each passing year, more events are set up outside of the pop culture confab to entertain attendees with and without badges.

Naturally, this year is no exception as there are plenty of different activations — all free! — for TV lovers to do without ever setting foot inside the the crowded convention center itself. Here are nine different experiences well worth your time and fandom.

Midnight, Texas

In anticipation of the debut of freshman genre drama Midnight, Texas, NBC has transformed a small piece of the Gaslamp Quarter, which surrounds the convention center, into the small Texas town featured on the series (which just happens to premiere Monday). Included in the attraction is a tattoo parlor and pawn shop — an odd sight in the middle of the massive fan gathering — but the experience also offers a 4D adventure complete with shareable motion graphics and live tarot card reading.


Just across from Midnight, Texas, Netflix has set up shop to promote their two biggest 2017 releases: season two of breakout hit Stranger Things and Marvel's The Defenders. While both shows have panels at SDCC, the Netflix activation offers fans the opportunity to visit a virtual Upside Down from Stranger Things and hit the streets of New York with the Defenders. The streaming giant's original film Bright also has an experience at the activation.

The Gifted

Taking the convention experience to an entirely new level, Fox's The Gifted — which is connected to Marvel's X-Men film franchise — is offering free genetic testing to attendees who want to find out if they carry the mutant "X-Gene." You'll find out on the spot if you carry the gene and find out six weeks later additional information about your genetic profile. It's a smart way for Fox to keep the conversation going about one of its biggest fall bets well after Comic-Con has ended and just before the Matt Nix drama launches on the network.

Ghosted and The Orville

It's not just mutants Fox is representing at SDCC, though. The network has also set up activations for two more freshman shows. The installation for Ghosted, a comedic spoof of The X-Files starring Adam Scott and Craig Robinson, is located behind the convention center and offers everyone the opportunity to play a free game of laser tag. Next to it, Seth MacFarlane dramedy The Orville has set up a space training center and the chance to win entry into the Cryopreservation program. That's right, one person will win the opportunity to be frozen at the end of their life and revived in 400 years.


Are you a white hat or a black hat? That's the question Westworld's activation aims to figure out. While HBO has kept a tight lid on what, exactly, Westworld: The Experience entails, THR got to visit the park first-hand for a personality profile, drinks at the Mariposa Saloon and so much more. It's definitely one of the most immersive experiences you'll find at Comic-Con. While the location is top secret, fans can visit the Delos appointment desk in the Hilton Bayfront to attempt to secure a spot.


With multiple shows at the convention, FX has brought back their annual FXhibition installation, which gives fans the chance to take part in a number of interactive possibilities — from a Legion virtual reality experience to a sneak peak at the upcoming season of American Horror Story. (Looking for AHS clues? You'll find beehive and Twisty the Clown images.) There's also some very practical services offered, including an Archer wet bar to keep you hydrated, a Snowfall station that will re-string your shoes with brand new laces and plenty of sunscreen care of The Strain.

Adult Swim

When you need a chance to relax, play some games and pick up some swag, Adult Swim is what you should be looking for. The network's carnival behind the convention center is back, with a 4D experience, tarot card reading, plenty of prizes and so much more.


With so much going on, everyone needs a little time to unwind. Thanks to Wrecked, that's easy to accomplish. The TBS comedy has set up a pop-up island tour behind the convention center, complete with a bar, a mechanical boar and coconut Skeeball. Sadly, this one isn't for the younger con attendees. You must be 21 to participate.


If you're wondering what to do with all of that swag you're burdened with carrying around, perhaps you should let a knight take care of it. History's upcoming Knightfall has built a castle and will guard over your swag with its Guardians of the Gear program located along the MLK Promenade. It's like coat check for all of your new toys.

Finally, even if they don't have activations outside, some of your favorite shows still have a presence, thanks to gigantic posters plastered all over San Diego, covering hotels and even Petco Park.


comments powered by Disqus