Comic-Con Museum

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2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
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Open:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Thurs - Tues)
Closed Wed
San Diego’s new Comic-Con Museum located in Balboa Park allows you to enjoy the magic of the annual international Comic-Con convention all year round.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
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Year-Round Magic at the Comic-Con Museum

Spiderman at the Comic Con MuseumOutside the Comic Con Museum

The Comic-Con Museum is a brand new San Diego museum that opened in Balboa Park, late in 2021.

Even before its opening, the museum was already generating plenty of hype among Comic-Con fans. The annual Comic-Con International typically brings hundreds of thousands of people to San Diego each year for the Comic Con San Diego convention held at the San Diego Convention Center. This museum will capture the magic of the annual event with art, science, pop culture, technology, and more.

Featuring both rotating and permanent Comic-Con exhibits, the museum will has interactive classes, movie screenings, and fun group activities for people of all ages. They are even planning on hosting online events, which will allow people from all over the world to enjoy the magic of Comic-Con from the comfort of their home.

The city of San Diego has been working to make the Comic-Con Museum a reality for several years now. The museum is housed in the converted Federal Building, which was initially constructed in 1935. This building has hosted a wide range of exhibitions and events over the years, and is being converted to make way for this new museum.

Balboa Park is home to many of San Diego’s most exciting museums and attractions. It brings in thousands of people from around the world each year, and this museum is sure to do the same!

Take a tour of The Prado, a popular restaurant in Balboa Park serving all flavors of San Diego dishes. The Prado has maintained its reputation of excellence for years, making it an iconic locale.

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What to Expect When You Visit

Since its opening in late 2021, the Comic-Con Museum has been a haven for all things nerdy! Each exhibit aims to increase appreciation for comics and other popular art forms like movies, shows, and games featuring comic characters.

When you visit, you can expect to see a wide range of exhibits that span many different aspects of pop culture. The museum appeals to people of all ages, and it’s an excellent attraction for families and large groups.

Whether you’re a fan of comics, movies, or pop-culture icons, and whether you’re a new or old fan, the museum organizers have worked hard to ensure there’s a little something for everyone.

The museum also hosts a wide range of community programming and events. Before visiting, be sure to check to see what’s on the schedule for the specific day of your visit. You’ll find plenty of educational programming, but the museum is also a place to socialize and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

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Exhibits and Attractions at Comic-Con Museum

Exhibits at the Comic-Con Museum rotate on a regular basis, but subjects like pop culture, technology, community events, art, and education are on display year-round.

Pop Culture Exhibits

Pop culture is the centerpiece of this incredible museum. Since Comic-Con has been held annually since 1970, the organization has plenty of exciting pop culture history to pull from.

The organization initially focused on comics as well as other forms of science fiction and fantasy, so these are ongoing themes throughout the museum, even as exhibits rotate in and out. Exhibits also span other popular forms of entertainment, including movies, TV shows, books, video games, and more.

Exhibits include a focus on the classics alongside popular new IPs. For younger visitors, this is a great way to explore some of the world’s most iconic characters and stories from eras past while still enjoying the latest comic and action heroes of today. For older visitors, it’s a great way to look back on the many years these characters have existed in the public consciousness and shaped the world around them.

POPnology

Pop culture meets real-world technology in one of the museum's newest exhibits, POPnology!

The exhibit is designed to explore what science fiction may be a reality in the near future. Robots, drones and brand new technologies are featured in a series of interactive displays. Highlights include ‘How We Play’ with toys and games, ‘How We Live and Work’ focusing on daily life and interactive robots and ‘How We Move’, featuring the world’s first 3D printed car, a Back to the Future DMC DeLorean!

POPNology is scheduled from October 4, 2023 – August 21, 2024.

Museum Character Hall of Fame

The Museum Character Hall of Fame is the highest of honors for notable pop culture characters that have been recognized by the museum for their impact on the world. The 2019 inductee, Batman, was the first of many characters to receive this commendation, followed by PAC-MAN in 2020, Wonder Woman in 2021, and Spider-Man in 2022.

Be sure to also check out Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing – The Exhibition, which curates the most important moments from the web slinger’s history, plus intriguing stories from the creators that have helped expand the Spider-Man mythos, into one incredible exhibit.

Similarly, PAC-MAN has his own exhibit in the form of PAC-MAN Arcade, which celebrates one of the earliest and best-known characters in gaming. Learn about the character’s history and how people all across the world have been brought together by games, TV shows, and more.

Technology Exhibits

There are many different kinds of technology working behind the scenes to bring our favorite movies and TV shows to life. At the Comic-Con Museum, you’ll find exhibits that celebrate these amazing forms of technology and take an inside look at how they work.

From movies to TV to games and more, tech goes hand in hand with many of comics’ most famous characters. Learn how these heroes went from page to screen and how technology helped their meteoric rise to popularity.

Artwork

The Comic-Con Museum is an important part of the San Diego community! One of the ways they stay connected to the community is by featuring local artists. Artistic legends from around the world that designed and created comics, fantasy, entertainment and more are also prominently featured at the Comic-Con Museum.

These exhibits rotate regularly to showcase as many artists as possible, so visitors will be able to come back multiple times and have different experiences with each trip to the museum.

Colleen Doran Illustrates Neil Gaiman

In addition to celebrating local artists, the Comic-Con Museum also currently includes works from renowned artist Colleen Doran. The exhibit named ‘Colleen Doran Illustrates Neil Gaiman’ features original illustrations of the award-winning artist including The Sandman, Troll Bridge and Good Omens to name a few!

The jewel of the display is 20 hand-painted pages from Doran’s original Chivalry (Dark Horse Books). Colleen has drawn for Wonder Woman and the Amazing Spider-Man as well as her one of a kind stories. The cartoonist and illustrator has an incredibly storied career you can learn so much more about with your visit to the museum.

2022 Eisner Awards judge Kim A. Munson is the curator. After a successful run at the Society of Illustrators in New York, the exhibit arrived at the Comic-Con museum October 4, 2023 and will be on display until April 30, 2024.

The Evolution of Color in Comics

Take a fascinating journey with Inkpot Award recipient Steve Oliff and his company Olyoptics from the beginnings of comic book big dot colors to the digital generated colors of the comics of today.

Featured works include pieces from Batman, Spawn, Maxx and the award-winning work on the Japanese manga Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo.

Celebrate the Legend: Stan Lee

Stan Lee has appeared at numerous Comic-Con conventions to the delight of fans over his storied 78-year career. ‘Excelsior! The Life and Legacy of Stan Lee’ celebrates his work through rare art, paintings, comic books and much more.

Auction houses and private collectors such as DC Comics and Heritage Auctions have contributed new pieces that will be unveiled to the public for the very first time!

Opened July 18, 2023, the exhibit is scheduled to be on display until March 1, 2024.

Cowboy BeBop 25th Anniversary Art Exhibition

If you’re a fan of Anime, then the exhibit featuring Cowboy Bebop is for you!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic anime series, the Comic-Con Museum gathered a collection of art aimed at capturing the essence of the series. Art on display is said to pay homage to the appreciation for Cowboy Bebop through a wide range of artist interpretations.

The exhibit opened to acclaim July 18, 2023 and will be on display until March 1, 2024.

My Hero Academia Installation

The Comic-Con Museum celebrates art of all kinds from digital graphics and classic illustrations to artifacts and sculptures.

The ‘Historical Battle in Kamino’ from My Hero Academia Season 3 Episode 48 was perfectly captured in the statue on display of the fight between All Might and All For One. Fans can relive the exciting moment in the series when they visit this incredible piece of art.

The statue is on display from July 18, 2023 until January 30, 2024.

Education

Another important component of this museum is educational opportunities.

The museum hosts a number of interactive and hands-on educational programs to teach about comics, entertainment, art, and more.

Some of the topics covered in museum exhibits include virtual reality, robotics, performing arts and visual art. The museum also promotes literacy by using comics and graphic novels as a teaching tool.

While many of these programs will be geared towards children, there are also programs designed for adults. These include programs to help up-and-coming artists connect with more experienced professionals in the entertainment industry.

Learning takes place all over the museum as well as in two dedicated spaces known as ‘makerspaces’.

The Cox Innovation Lab

The Cox Innovation lab is all about creating through technology!

Complete with a 3D printer, digital displays, and state of the art computers for animation, graphic design and even gaming, the lab provides the canvas for students of any age to tinker, learn and create. The goal of the space is for each individual to learn and have an experience driven through technology.

The Conrad Prebys Foundation Art Studio

The second makerspace is dedicated to the creativity hidden inside all of us!

The Conrad Prebys Foundation Art Studio explores a wide range of mediums through art classes, cosplay, designing games and one of our personal favorites, creative writing! The lab is a space for you to learn, be artistic and dig deep into your creative potential.

Live Screenings

Live entertainment and events are a regular part of the experience at the Comic-Con Museum!

One popular type of event you’ll find here are live screenings. These include showings of television, movies, music, and other forms of entertainment. Check out popular titles, or come see rare titles you might not be able to find publicly available elsewhere!

Comic-Con events are also known for their live panels and Q&A sessions with notable people in the entertainment industry. Similar programs occur at a smaller scale throughout the year at the museum as well.

Make sure to check the museum’s calendar to see what’s happening and what celebrity might be present during your trip.

Social Events

The Comic-Con organization is well known for hosting huge social events every year. This social aspect is also an important part of the new museum.

Each event creates community and brings people together, a hallmark of Comic Con. Whether you live in San Diego or are just enjoying a vacation, this is an excellent way to meet people with similar interests.

These events include live music, games, classes, and much more. Food and drinks are often offered as well.

Online Events

The museum posts digital live streams of museum programming as well as offering exclusive online-only events. These events celebrate some of the world’s most beloved pop culture characters, and there are plenty more to come in the near future!

Educational Programs for Kids

Education is an important component of the Comic-Con Museum. We love the museum as a fantastic place for families as it offers numerous activities for kids! The focus of such activities is on technology, art, and literacy, all through the lens of pop culture.

Educational programs are interactive and hands-on, and will really immerse kids in some of the most fascinating parts of pop culture and entertainment. The education center was one of the first parts of the museum to open to the public, and the programs rotate each month.

The Comic-Con museum is a place where the young, and young at heart, are encouraged to be creative using high-tech and low-tech tools to develop something new! The Makerspaces at the museum are onsite classrooms of sorts where activities are hosted to encourage guests to experiment, design, build and more!

Featured hands-on activities include making a closed circuit art piece that lights up when completed, building a scribble bot that draws by itself and crafting superhero gear like shields and swords!

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Know Before You Go and Tips

Here’s what to keep in mind before visiting the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego. This Balboa Park museum is surely one of the most exciting attractions in the San Diego area! Follow these tips to ensure your visit goes smoothly!

Getting to the Comic-Con Museum

Since the Comic-Con Museum is located in Balboa Park, it is very easy to get there from Downtown San Diego or other San Diego neighborhoods.

If you’re driving, there are parking lots in the park, most of the parking is free. If you’d prefer not to drive, it’s easy to order a San Diego rideshare like Lyft or Uber, or even take one of San Diego’s public buses which will drop a short walk from the museum’s entrance.

Visit Multiple Museums or Attractions in a Day

This Comic-Con Museum is located very close to some of San Diego’s other top museums and attractions, like the Air and Space Museum and Museum of Us. Balboa Park alone is home to more than a dozen museums plus the world famous San Diego Zoo!

With an early start, it’s very possible to go to the Comic-Con Museums and a few other attractions or San Diego museums in one day. If you’re feeling good, we’d recommend this approach along with a visit to one of the dozens of incredible beaches just a short distance from the museum.

Where to Stay Near the Comic-Con Museum

There are many exceptional hotels near the Comic-Con Museum.

See our lists of the Best Hotels in San Diego and Best Family-Friendly Hotels in San Diego, or stay at any of these incredible choices.

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Soothe your mind and body at a tropical resort, San Diego style, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina in the Embarcadero. This idyllic bayfront hotel feels like a getaway of its own, making it the perfect choice for staycations, or for vacationers seeking a little extra luxury.

Located just over 2 miles from the Comic-Con Museum and less than a 15 minute rideshare door to door, rooms at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina offer incredible views of the city and San Diego Bay. As a guest of the hotel, you can expect modern finishes, a spacious welcoming lobby and warm swimming pool open year round!

Hilton San Diego Bayfront

Located a short distance south of the San Diego Convention Center also in the Embarcadero, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront offers guests stunning harborside views from classy rooms, plus a stay complete with all the amenities you need to relax and enjoy your trip.

Take advantage of the hotel’s incredibly large pool and in our opinion one of the best pools in San Diego. Drink and dine at one of six onsite venues, and let your worries melt away at the eforea Spa.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Located just a few blocks away from Balboa Park in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego knows how to show its guests a rocking good time.

Visit the Comic-Con Museum, then return to your room to fully immerse yourself in the world of pop culture through a celebration of all things musical.

The charm of the Hard Rock Hotel is evident in each guest room and common area, with themed decor and plenty of family-friendly ways to have fun without even leaving the property. Lounge in the large outdoor pool, enjoy a drink on the private terrace, enjoy on-site dining, and host a dance party right in your room.

Save on Admission

Consider picking up a Go City San Diego pass before your trip!

While the Comic-Con museum isn’t currently part of the current deal, many other museums in Balboa Park are part of the pass.

The pass allows you to bundle many of San Diego’s top attractions, museums, tours, and equipment rentals to save money, including many located within walking distance from the Comic-Con Museum like the San Diego Zoo!

You can save even more when you use our exclusive discount code (GVSD5OFF)!

Dress in Costume

Dressing up as your favorite characters is always encouraged at the Comic-Con events, so feel free to dress up at the museum as well! This is a great way to celebrate and enjoy all of your favorite characters.

Plan a Field Trip

Field trips can be arranged year-round for interested school groups and community groups alike. The Comic-Con Museum has a staff of professionals ready to assist.

There are three current offerings focusing on the California Common Core State Standards in STEAM, Literacy, and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) but custom trips can also be arranged upon request.

Know that trips often focus on comic culture, films, digital media, comic books and more!

Phased Exhibits

New additions to the Comic-Con Museum are announced at each San Diego Comic-Con, so there’s something new to see every year! Keep in mind that some areas may be under construction if you visit shortly after a new exhibit is unveiled.

Hours of Operation & Ticket Prices

The Comic-Con Museum is open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 am - 5 pm with the final entrance at 4:30 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays except for Memorial Day, the Monday after Comic-Con and Labor Day.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult (18+): $25
  • Teens (13 -17): $18
  • Kids (6-12): $12
  • Kids Under 6: Free
  • Senior, Student, or Military (Active or Veteran) : $18
  • Group Bundle (minimum of 10 people): $21.50 per person

These hours and prices are subject to change at any time, so be sure to check back directly with them for the latest information.

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