So you’ve made it to the nerd mecca San Diego Comic-Con 2015, where all your geeky dreams can come true. What the hell do you do now?
The biggest convention of the year can be daunting, whether you’ve been there 100 times or this is your virgin visit. The lines are long, the celebrities are in hiding, and sometimes it seems like you need to “know someone” to get anywhere near anything worth doing.
Luckily, that’s not entirely the case. Here are 10 things you can do at San Diego Comic-Con this year no matter who you are (or who you know).
7. WAIT IN LINE FOR HALL H
One of the best things about San Diego Comic-Con is seeing the casts of your favorite shows and movies, past, present and future, assembled in one place for the con’s legendary panels. And one of the worst things is waiting in line for said panels.
The best panels—the ones for The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and many more—are in Hall H, which holds over 6,000 people. You might think that would mean that you’ll have no problem getting in, but think again. If you want to catch any of the biggest panels, you’re going to have to wait in line, usually overnight. Bring a sleeping bag!
Check out the convention’s extensive and exhaustive program schedule to see exactly which panels are where and when.
6. WANDER THE ARTISTS’ ALLEY
If you’re actually at San Diego Comic-Con to, you know, check out some comic books, you’re going to want to spend some time simply wandering around the Artists’ Alley on the convention center floor.
There’s a list of exhibitors here, but suffice to say if you’re at all into nerdy comics/book/art/basically anything else, you’re going to run into someone whose work you admire here—and it’s usually a snap to grab an autograph or a picture.
5. SEE SOME AWESOME COSPLAY
There’s plenty of amazing cosplay to see just walking around the convention—or really, anywhere even close to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter—but that’s not the only way to admire the hard work of the many talented cosplayers who attend the show.
Saturday night is the 41st annual official International Masquerade, presented by HBO. Luckily there’s no dancing involved, but there is a sort of cosplay fashion show in Ballroom 20, the second-largest event space at the convention. Thousands of people will be there to check out the most elaborate and insane outfits at the show. Just remember: cosplay is not consent!
Oh, and check out Playboy.com’s many galleries of sexy cosplayers in the meantime.
4. BUY THE NERDY MERCH OF YOUR DREAMS
One thing that’s definitely not difficult to do at San Diego Comic-Con is spend money. But you don’t have to waste it all on terrible convention food—there’s plenty of shopping to be done as well.
Nerdy retailers big and small have booths on the convention floor, and many of them are even selling rare-ish merch—from special edition comics to exclusive toys—that can only be bought at SDCC (or later, and for much more money, on eBay).
3. MEET SOME SUICIDE GIRLS
If alternative girls are your jam, there are a couple of ways to meet your favorite Suicide Girls at SDCC this year. As in past years, the modeling and art group is bringing its touring show, the Blackheart Burlesque, to the San Diego House of Blues.
That requires buying a ticket, which may well be worth it. On the other hand, you can simply stop by the SuicideGirls booth in the convention center armed with nothing more than your SDCC badge if you want to simply get some face time or an autograph or be a creep and snap some photos of the ladies up close (always ask permission!).
2. GET SOME AUTOGRAPHS
One of the main reasons to go to San Diego Comic-Con in the first place is to meet your favorite actors, authors, artists and more face to face. For some fans, that meeting also involves the person signing their name to something for some reason. Luckily for those fans, there’s a special area at SDCC dedicated entirely to that act.
The “Autograph Area,” as it’s appropriately called, is open Thursday through Saturday of the convention, and it’s where many panel members and others head to meet fans and earn hand cramps. And all you need to get in is a Comic-Con badge and the ability to say you’re “not going to just sell this on eBay,” you promise, with a straight face.
1. CATCH A GLIMPSE OF PLAYBOY’S GAMERS NEXT DOOR
Like any truly dedicated nerds, Playboy.com’s Gamers Next Door, playmates Amelia Talon and Pamela Horton, will be running around at San Diego Comic-Con frantically trying to see and do it all. You can watch for their exclusive coverage of the convention right here.