San Diego Convention Center

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111 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
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As the location of annual events like Comic-Con and various trade shows, the San Diego Convention Center is a hub for exciting gatherings of all kinds.
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Explore Some of the Biggest Events at the San Diego Convention Center

The San Diego Convention Center hosts thousands of guests at dozens of events each year. As a perfect location for business engagements and pop culture conventions alike, the building offers a truly spacious interior and many outdoor courtyards for various gatherings that attract national attention. It is one of the most popular destinations in San Diego for tourists and business travelers alike.

The center is usually busiest during the summer months, especially in mid-July, when people travel from all across the country to attend Comic-Con San Diego. The convention-goers tend to spill out onto the street and into nearby restaurants and other businesses, completely transforming the whole area for the weekend. Of course, things are far from dull throughout the rest of the year, as different gatherings run year-round.

The convention center is located along the Embarcadero and mere steps away from the Gaslamp District and Downtown San Diego, meaning it is conveniently located near many popular attractions in San Diego.

It’s easy to plan a fun-filled day packed with things to do and places to see, all without straying too far away from the convention center itself. It is even easier to do so when you take advantage of discounted admission costs and other benefits of the Go Pass program.

Buying Tickets for Events and Nearby Attractions

You’ll want to pack your trip itinerary full of fun things to do both inside and outside the convention center, but you don’t want to spend more money on tickets or admission than you need to.

Tickets for most events must be purchased ahead of time through the group or company hosting the convention.

Other Attractions Near the San Diego Convention Center

As for attractions in the Embarcadero and surrounding neighborhoods, there’s no shortage of things to do!

No visit is complete without touring some of the nearby areas, whether you’re in town for business or pleasure. Make sure to stop by Seaport Village for some shopping and dining near the waterfront, take a tour of Petco Park, and learn about local history in one of the many popular museums like the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Local Tips
Building Amenities
San Diego Convention Center offers a wide range of amenities to make your experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. As part of health protocols, Starbucks, Mrs. Fields, Café Express and retail bars are 100% cashless; all transactions must be completed using credit/debit cards.

The best way to ensure you can explore San Diego as much as possible is by pre-purchasing a Go San Diego Pass. This pass allows you to bundle together admission for various attractions, such as the ever-popular San Diego Zoo or any of those mentioned above.

By purchasing a Go Pass through our discount code, you can stack additional savings on top of the already discounted prices. This means you can spend less time worrying about money and more time enjoying yourself in the city.

Best Hotels Near the San Diego Convention Center

Many people travel from quite a ways for different conventions, which means it’s important to book your stay early if you want to have a stress-free stay at one of the best hotels near the convention center. Luckily, there are plenty of great picks, and you’re sure to find something that suits your needs in our hand-picked list.

The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina hotel is an excellent choice for families. Its location on the marina means it isn’t far from the convention center or other attractions like Petco Park, and it features a great view of the city as well as free WiFi service in the lobby and suites. Another great family-friendly hotel is the Omni San Diego Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, which has its own fitness center and classes.

If you want to stay along the bay, try the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, which offers guests discounts on equipment rentals, meals and drinks at local restaurants, spa services, and various stores in Seaport Village. You can also check out the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego which boasts luxury amenities such as a lounge and a rooftop pool.

No matter where you stay, you’re sure to enjoy your trip!

Facilities and Services at the San Diego Convention Center

The San Diego Convention Center is a popular choice for expos and trade shows alike in part because of its many facilities and excellent array of convenient services.

There are seven different exhibit halls, over 70 meeting rooms, and two large ballrooms. On top of this, the convention center also includes the sails pavilion, a glass-enclosed space with sweeping views, and waterfront outdoor courtyards.

Venue Services

The convention center features an impressive team of supportive staff for all events. Guest Services can help you navigate events, cleaning services keep the space tidy, and an in-house security team ensures events are as safe as possible.

Notable Events Held at the San Diego Convention Center

The convention center hosts dozens of events each year. If you’re planning to visit San Diego, consider checking out the upcoming conventions and other events before you go so you can plan your itinerary around them.

Comic-Con

Comic-Con is one of the most notable conventions nationwide, so it’s no surprise that it’s also a point of interest for the convention center. With thousands of attendees every year, Comic-Con is the largest annual gathering hosted by the San Diego Convention Center, and it’s an experience that can’t be missed for lovers of all things pop culture.

Despite its name, Comic-Con is about much more than comics. It also includes panels and guest appearances from popular actors, plenty of TV and movie news, and official and fan-made merchandise of all manner of pop culture properties for sale.

Many attendees choose to dress up in cosplay for the occasion, so it’s not unusual to see people striking poses and taking pictures around the convention center in addition to the more structured panels.

Other Conventions and Expos

Comic-Con is far from the only fun convention to be held in San Diego. Many other conventions from industry giants as well as more niche groups have hosted their events at the convention center, and crowds are drawn to the space throughout the year.

The San Diego Convention Center has hosted everything from American Kennel Club consumer shows to the video game and streamer-centric TwitchCon. These events range from informative to entertaining and everything in between.

Trade Shows

While many conventions are primarily about ensuring attendees have a good time, the convention center also hosts multiple industry trade shows throughout the year. These shows are just as varied as other events held in the building, and they often have thousands of attendees looking to learn more about their niche and to network with professionals.

Some trade shows are private events, with admission only offered to those in a certain company or other group. Others are open to the public, though there may still be an admission fee.

Nearby Attractions for Kids

If you’re looking for a way to entertain young kids around the convention center, rest assured that there are plenty of options to keep children busy in the nearby Gaslamp Quarter and Embarcadero.

The New Children’s Museum

The Gaslamp Quarter is known for its excellent museums, and the New Children’s Museum is no exception. Here, kids can interact with various displays meant to help them engage with contemporary art through climbing, learning, and playing.

USS Midway Museum

Another excellent educational and entertaining museum for kids is the USS Midway Museum, housed inside a real naval aircraft carrier. Kids can have hands-on experiences stepping into the cockpits of real decommissioned aircrafts while learning about the city’s extensive military history. This is a great museum for younger and older attendees alike.

History of the San Diego Convention Center

The convention center has come a long way since its initial construction back in 1989.

The first few events were smaller in scale than those held today, but they helped to drum up tourism to the city. In addition to hosting political conventions and even a few tapings of the game show Wheel of Fortune, the center’s popularity continued to expand, which was reflected in the growing scale of the property.

Its size doubled with the expansion in 2001, with an additional smaller expansion in 2008. This enabled the convention center to host even larger events with more attendees, which helped to contribute to its massive success with modern conventions.

Local Tips
Building Amenities
San Diego Convention Center offers a wide range of amenities to make your experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. As part of health protocols, Starbucks, Mrs. Fields, Café Express and retail bars are 100% cashless; all transactions must be completed using credit/debit cards.

Best Ways to Get to the San Diego Convention Center

The convention center is located at 111 W Harbor Drive.

It’s a short walk to the San Diego Convention Center from other neighborhoods in the downtown area, so if you’re planning on staying nearby, you don’t have to worry about driving. Still, if you want to give your feet a rest, you can make use of San Diego’s excellent public transport options such as the trolley or bus. There is a trolley stop just across the street as well as a few bus stops next to the convention center.

If you’re headed to the convention center from the San Diego International Airport, you may be able to take a shuttle to and from your hotel. You won’t have to wait long until you get there, as the center is just three miles to the southeast from the airport, making it about a 10 minute drive.

Planning on driving to the convention center? There’s a parking garage underground with space to house nearly 2,000 vehicles. You can access the parking garage from Harbor Drive, or park off-site in the large lot near the Hilton Bayfront.

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Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

Combine Go Visit San Diego's exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego pass' already great deals and save big! No code needed - simply follow our link above to purchase your pass and begin savin

Tips and Other Information for Your Visit to the Convention Center

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Street Parking
Street Parking

Size of the San Diego Convention Center

The convention center is massive, boasting over 2.6 million square feet of indoor space and plenty of outdoor areas as well. It’s easy to get turned around, so check the official site for a building map, or enlist the help of Guest Services to find your destination.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to stop by the convention center will depend on what kind of events you’re interested in. Most of the bigger events are hosted in the summer and early fall months, which is an excellent time to visit San Diego if you want to take advantage of the many beaches and parks in the city and throughout San Diego.

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Tours & Adventures
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
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New Children's Museum
New Children's Museum
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