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My days at San Diego Comic Con 2011

This was my 4th San Diego Comic Con in a row, but the first time that I had purchased a 4-day pass. The last few times, I had just bought 2 single day tickets. Last year when I purchased my tickets at the initial (1st) SDCC attempt at selling tickets, I was pretty excited, but as the convention drew closer, I lost quite a bit of my excitement. 
I was able to see most everything and spend a lot of time in the comic bins and booths. I tried not to spend my time standing in lines, but it is inevitable at SDCC. 
The first day, I got real lucky and found Rob Liefeld talking to a few friends before the Image booth got up and going. I was able to get him to sign a couple of comics and, as always, he was really nice about it. My personal belief is that 2 or 3 comics is the limit to ask anyone to sign, so I only brought my X-Force #1 (original 1991 series) and a Image United #0 - I was hoping to get more Image founders to sign it, but only ended up with Rob's signature on it.
Continuing around I picked up a few more comics and shirts and was able to met and talk with Chris Roberson ( Starborn and others). There wasn't much of a line there, so we were able to chat a bit about sci-fi stuff as he signed my Starborn #1 issue. I told him how much I'm enjoying the Starborn book and was able to ask a few questions. I didn't know he had written a few sci-fi novels until I looked up his web site. He recommended a few sci-fi novels by Cordwainer Smith (Nostrilia) and Alfred Bester (The Demolished Man and The Stars, My Destination). I'm definitely going to check out those novels once I finish the stack of other sci-fi novels in my still to-read stack.
Later, I stopped by Avatar's booth to get an autograph by Brian Pulido (Lady Death) and then found Billy Tucci to get his autograph on a Lady Death/Shi book.  I also got Garth Ennis's autograph for my Punisher: Welcome Back Frank HC and was talked into buying the Stitched DVD - got that signed too.
This year, I came a bit more prepared as I brought some comics to get signed rather than buy them at the con, but I will make a note that next time I need to buy a silver/gray sharpie. All of the creators had black sharpies, which makes it hard to autograph darker books (like Punisher). Chris Roberson was the only guy that I met that came prepared with multiple colored sharpies - I don't know if IDW provided them for him or not, but I'll be bringing one to my next con.

Overall,  I felt that the comic con this year wasn't as fun or exciting as before. Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't feel "nerdy" or "geeky" enough for me. I even skipped one day and didn't attend, just because I was bored of the con. This will probably be my last time going to SDCC (due to moving, but I'd probably still take next year off). I'm hoping to hit up some east coast cons next year and hope the comic related booths and events out weight the games, movies, television, and models/actors.
Stuff I purchased:

  • Hero Comics 2011 - Hero Initiative
  • Liberty Annual 2010 - CBLDF
  • Sin City: Hard Goodbye TPB, autographed Frank Miller via CBLDF booth (didn't see Frank Miller)
  • Warhammer 40k: Damination Crusade TPB - 3$
  • Kirby Krackle's latest CD
  • Stitched - film written and directed by Garth Ennis (autographed)
  • Captain American print by Billy Tucci (autographed)
  • CBLDF t-shirt ("I read banned comics")
Free Stuff
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles SDCC Ashcan
  • (DF cover) Millar's Nemesis, issue 3 - for giving blood
  • Millar's Nemesis, issue 1 - for giving blood
  • A bunch of free "Physics Comics" ( Spectra)
  • Image's Firsts: Elephant Man
  • Novel - Genesis of Shannara (Terry Brooks) 
  • Novel - Earth Strike: Star Carrier (Ian Douglas)
  • Novel - Sandman Slim (Richard Kadrey)
  • Novel - Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast (Aaron Allston)
My Stuff Autographed
  • Image United #0, Rob Liefeld
  • X-Force #1, Rob Liefeld
  • Lady Death/Shi #0, Billy Tucci + Brian Pulido
  • Lady Death Premiere, Brian Pulido (free, 5000 ltd, 850 ltd)
  • Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank (HC) - Garth Ennis
  • Starborn #1, Chris Roberson
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Superhero anthology seeking writers and stories (no fanfic)

Deadline: OPEN UNTIL FILLED or 31st October 2010

Seeking original, previously unpublished stories of superheroes. This can be pure comic-book style heroes, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc but the central theme / characters in the story MUST involve superheroes.

Fan-fiction is not suitable so no stories set in Gotham or Metropolis, thank you. 

Submission Guidelines

No gratuitous violence or erotica/porn, please.  If swearing, violence or sex is a fundamental part of the story then that is fine and will be reviewed on its merits.

Word count between 2500 and 8000. If you have something longer then please query first (email: powers@imadethat.org).

Formats accepted: DOCX – Word 2007, DOC – Word 2003 or earlier, and RTF – Rich Text Format.

Submissions should be sent single spaced, indent paragraphs, no embedded text, no headers or footers.

Font should be Georgia size 12.

Please put your name, address and email at the top left of the first page.

Please put the title, byline (how you want your name to appear if accepted for publication) and word count at the top right of the first page.

Please include a bio of up to 150 words AFTER your story.

Simultaneous submissions are okay but please let us know – as soon as it happens – if your work has been accepted elsewhere.

Reprints are not accepted (pieces published on your personal blogs/journal do not count as ‘published’ but, if accepted for inclusion in the anthology will have to be removed from your site immediately).

No multiple submissions and please wait for a response from us before you submit again.

This is a ‘for exposure’ only anthology and, as such, there will be no payment made to contributors.



Notes: I'm in no way connected to this. I'm just spreading the word.


My days at San Diego Comic Con 2010

At Comic-Con (or even at grocery store), I have a habit of starting on one side of the building and walking through every aisle to make sure I don't miss anything. So that's kind of what I did at my first day here, until late in the afternoon when I was just zig-zagging around and walking back and forth.

One of my first stops was at the California Browncoats booth. I bought a Jayne knitted hat and Firefly t-shirt (Slim's spaceship shirt). I was invited to a Firefly flash mob on Saturday after the Chuck panel, but when Saturday came we found out that there was over 6,000 people in line in front of us and there was only 4,000 seats/places. So we gave up on that...  

As I was methodically making my way through the aisle, I stopped at DDS booth to look at some GI Joe displays and saw a tiny paper sign that said Larry Hama was a few booths down. To my surprise, I hurried there and found him sitting there without any crowds. After I got there, I realized it wasn't an IDW booth or comic shop booth, so I had to run back across a few aisles to IDW and pick up another copy of GI Joe: A Real American Hero #156 (I had just purchased one copy on Wednesday, see my review on it here). After finding the issue, I had forgotten where he was at and it took me a while to get back to that tiny booth in the middle of nowhere to find him. Once I found him for the second time, he autographed my issue and we talked a bit since there wasn't a huge line forming. Larry Hama was very nice and as a GI JOE:ARAH fan, I told him how glad I was that he and IDW were able to relaunch/continue this series that had been dormant for 15 1/2 years. This was an extra bonus to my "to do list" at Friday's show. I think that moment turned my day into a GI Joe day since I ended up finding a few other GI Joe:ARAH books on my "want list."  

About an hour later, I was through some more aisles and, I saw some guys heading down the main aisle wearing Comic Vine shirts. I had seen one guy (I think Riezner) when I was hurrying back to Larry Hama's booth, but this type there were 3 guys so they were easier to stop. It was kind of strange, but the first person that I spoke with was @Sora_the_key (CV "intern"), who we had just been talking on our blogs the other day. I think the other guys were actual staff members Ethan and ??? (sorry don't remember name). We chatted a bit, I picked up my Comic Vine shirt and headed back to my aisle walking. There's a lot of walking here...

As I was chasing down the CV guys, I saw Stan Sakai. I meet him last year at SDCC 2009 and picked up an autographed (Fantagraphics) Usagi Yojimbo #1. This year, I talked with him again and picked up and autographed (Dark Horse) Usagi Yojimbo #123 (nominated for Best Single Issue or One-Shot Eisner award, didn't win the award). He's a super cool guy. I'm starting to wonder if all of the comic book writers/artists are just really cool...
Then I found the Image booth and wandered through that booth. They had a big booth for Image United, but I didn't see any big names there that I recognized. I would have loved to have asked Todd what's taking so long with the next issue... I did find Jason Howard ( Astounding Wolfman) sitting next to an empty chair for Ryan Ottley ( Invincible). I picked up a copy of Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark #1 and got his autograph. Later, I returned when Ryan showed up and had him sign it also. Both guys were nice too. Ryan had a bunch of people wanting sketches that took forever to draw and halfway through a sketch, he stopped to autograph my issue. Both of these guys were also really cool to chat with.

As I was walking through floor, I had wanted to get Brian Michael Bendi s autograph, but the Marvel autograph lines were a bit large. I showed up about 30 minutes early for Bendis' session and found him walking around the booth. Only a couple people recognized him, so I stopped him and chatted with him for a bit. He's another overly friendly guy. I don't know how these guys put up with all of the fans like me (us). As a new forum member of Bendis' web site, I knew that he was secretly giving out free Scarlet #1 variants, so I asked for one and he pulled it out of his bag. This was great, because I had wanted the first issue, but my LCS had sold out before I got mine (I forgot to add it to my pull list there). Now I have something to read and a story about how I got the book.

Later in the afternoon, I stopped by Action Figure Xpress and picked up the SDCC 2010 exclusive X-Force minimates ( Cable, Domino, Deadpool, and Feral - Rob's characters). There I got into line to wait and meet Rob Liefeld. Of course, there were lots of Deadpool fans in the line and Deadpool himself showed up (there were like a dozen or more Deadpools at the SDCC, but only one guy had the fake muscles which made it look okay). I meet with Rob and he autographed my X-Force minimates box (it only thing he was signing that day). He was also really cool and talked with me a bit as another fan fumbled with my camera to take a photo of us. I know Rob is a polarizing figure, but honestly his New Mutants and X-Force run were some of the first comics I ever bought and they were the first comics that I had actually subscribed to the series. The other comics that just happen to pick up were more random titles, since we didn't have a LCS in my town when I was a kid (I had to shop for comics at Walmart, the pharmacy, and swap meets).
As I was walking around, I saw a copy of Mass Effect: Retribution - that didn't come out for another week or so at a book (novel) shop booth. I asked about it and they said they were allowed to sell it at SDCC and that Drew Karpyshyn was going to be there signing it later today. Drew is the lead writer for Mass Effect, wrote 3 ME novels, lead writer for SW:KotOR game, and a few Star Wars novels. I picked up ME: Retribution and World War Z (Max Brooks was signing on Saturday, but I missed that). About an hour later at the autograph session, they gave me free copy of Mass Effect: Revelation while waiting in line. I got to talk with Drew and he personalized autographed both copies. He was also very friendly and very nice.
Later that day, I attended my first panel which was the Marvel Avengers. Matt Fraction, Brian Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, and Joe Quesada. They talked about the Avengers, Secret Avengers, Avengers Academy, Cosmic Avengers, and New Avengers for about 15 minutes and then answered questions for the remaining 45 minutes or so. This is where they revealed Red Hulk was going to be a new member of the Avengers.

It was getting late by now and I had already missed the beginning of the Comic Vine meet-up, but I figured that I should stop by and say hi and thanks to them. I ended up getting there and finding the group, but nearly everyone was already finished eating and the table was full. So I just said hi and thanks to Tony (@G-Man) and headed on home to rest.

The only thing that I had wanted and didn't get was to get Bendis to autograph my Scarlet variant, but he's a busy guy and the lines were huge to get his autograph and at the panels.

As far as shopping, I'll leave out the non-comic purchases - like my new Jayne knitted hat. Oooo shiny :)  
I've already uploaded all of the cover scans and book info where data was missing. I don't think I missed any.

Comic list (SDCC 2010 Exclusives)

Purchase Comics with Autograph

Other Comics

Freebies (or 1$)

Most of the Freebies, I didn't even know what they were until I got home. The booths were just passing them out. Of all of these books, I have only read 2 of them (GI JOE #156 and Steve Rogers:Super Soldier #1), so I have a ton of reading to do now and review writing :) Also with 2 new novels to read, hopefully, I'll be able to finish them sometime this year.
This is my 3rd SDCC in a row and I'm very fortunate to live in San Diego, so I just need to buy the tickets and not worry about lodging and travel. Overall, I think this was my best year so far. I went for 2 days, my first day was my geekfest and my second day I spent with my girlfriend/fiancee. One the first day, I met most of the guys that I wanted to meet and bought most of the comics I wanted to buy. I found a few on my "want list" in stock in the numerous comic shop booths, but the price was a bit higher than I wanted to pay. If I had more energy, then I would have went through more bins and more shops there, but that really needs an entire day devoted to back issue shopping since there's so many shops there and so little time.... The second day was a little bit more relaxed and just mostly wandering around looking at stuff. We picked up some freebies and got to meet SyFy Eurkea's Colin Ferguson in person (found him walking the aisles). We chatted with him for a little bit and had some photos. I saw some other TV guys walking on the floor and for the most part, nobody was bothering them until a few people recognized them and started taking pictures then a crowd would form and they would need to get out of the way. Tried to get in line for Adam Baldwin autograph/photo op, but that line was just amazing long.

G.I. Joe: A Real America Hero (Larry Hama returns) #156 this week

The '80s live on in this all-new series that spins out of the FCBD issue 155-1/2 and hearkens back to the beloved JOE comics from your childhood! Larry Hama returns to script Real American Hero even as COBRA wins the bid to provide internal security for a terrorist-beleaguered USA. First order of business: put out a secret assassination order on the disbanded G.I. Joes. SNAKE EYES isn't taking it lying down and overreacts maybe just a tiny bit...

The continuation of the original Marvel's 80s G. I. Joe title kicks off with #156 this Wednesday. This follows the Free Comic Book Day #155 1/2 issue (FCBD 2010) and restarts (not reboots) the original series. The "Classic G.I. Joe" story line and characters are back!

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10 things to do in San Diego, other than Comic-Con

Here's a list of things you can visit and do while in San Diego for Comic-Con. I'm not going to include the obvious and most popular tourist destinations, such as the "World Famous" San Diego Zoo, museums in Balboa Park,. Instead, I'll provide a list of cool things to do and see that may not be listed in your tour guide.
1. Kansas City BBQ
The coolest thing by far (well, I think so)... is something that very, very few San Diego locals even know about and it's only 5-10 mins walk from SDCC. For about the same distance of walking and same price, you can eat somewhere that's a part of history. DO YOU FEEL THE NEED - THE NEED FOR SPEED?
If you know the famous movie where that quote is from, then you'll remember the bar scene where Maverick (Tom Cruise) is singing and Goose is playing the piano. The piano and bar is just across the street from the convention center. There's virtually no parking there, so it's much easier to just walk there for lunch or dinner from the convention.  The actual Top Gun school has moved out of the area (about a decade or so ago to much further north in northern Nevada), but most of the places shot for the movie is still around town.
2. Coronado Ferry ride
Coronado Island ferries leave about every hour from the San Diego Harbor/Embarkadero. It's about a 30 minute ride across the bay to the City of Coronado - that's the "island" that you can see from the back of the SDCC where the big arching bridge goes to. It's about $7 for a round trip ticket. Once you've landed in the Coronado side, there's a few restaurants and sights to see. If you need a break from downtown and want to have dinner close by, then you can enjoy the view and take a ride out to Coronado and back. The ferry landing is just north of Sea Port Village and walking distance ( about 15-20 minutes) from San Diego Convention Center.
3. USS Midway
If  you've walked to the Harbor area (north of Seaport Village), then you can't miss the USS Midway. It's a large US Navy aircraft carrier where you can take a tour. The hours are 10-5 (last tour starts at 4pm). It's a nice tour, but a bit costly - about $20 per adult. It's also walking distance ( about 15 mins) from SDCC.
4. San Diego Maritime Museum (Russian B-39 Submarine, Star of India)
You can take a tour of an Russian B-39 submarine, an US Sub, the Star of India (built in 1863), and another sailing ship. There's also an historic bay cruise. Even if you don't want to pay to see the insides of the ship, you can walk right next to them at the harbor. It's about a 25 minute walk from SDCC. 
5. Seaport Village 
This is the small section of shops directly behind the convention center and hotels. It's much closer and easier to get to (and there's trees/shade there) compared to Gas Lamp district where everyone at the convention will be eating lunch at. Seaport Village has a few restaurants, a "food court" area, and lots of shops. It's 0.5 miles from the SDCC, about 5 mins walking and you get to walk along the coastline without dealing with cross streets and traffic.
below items need car or other means of transportation (such as trolley)
6. Hotel Del Coronado and beach (need a car or take multiple transportation means)
The hotel is one of the oldest in San Diego (if not the oldest). It was featured in movies with Marilyn Monroe (free Marilyn Monroe exhibit) and the likes. There's a bar, coffee shop, grill on the outside deck, and a very expensive restaurant within the hotel (along with some shops). I believe the real gem is the beach behind the hotel. I believe this is one of the better beaches in downtown San Diego area. It's not too crowded and not as touristy as Mission Beach. To get there, you can drive over the Coronado Bridge (it's the big arching one, and the one where the dog got thrown off in Anchor Man movie) or you can take the Ferry (see above) and a pedi-cab ( or walk about 1.5 miles from ferry landing). Rumors suggest that Orange Ave (the main road going through Coronado) inspired the "Yellow Brick Road" and Hotel Del was used as inspiration for Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz (writer wrote some of the original books there).
7. Old Town San Diego
You can take the trolley and a short 5 minute walk from the Old Town trolley stop, a taxi, bus, or even hop on a tour trolley car (pay them) (the non-public transportation trolley cars that look like the ones from San Francisco, commercially operated for city tours). While there, walk down San Diego Avenue for a bunch of decent/good Mexican restaurants and margaritas. There's a famous haunted house and a few cemeteries along the way. There are also some shows (of old Spanish/Mexican dancing and such), lots of shops, and lots of city tours offered from there.
8. Mission San Diego (popular tourist site, need a car or taxi)
I've never been here, but it has a great view of Mission Valley - be sure to go before the sun completely sets.
9. La Jolla, Children's Pool and La Jolla Cove  (requires car or taxi)
This is about 30 minutes away from downtown. You can park and walk towards the Children's Pool to see live/real seals. This is the controversial beach that was owned by someone and was a "seal beach" until they died and gave it to the city. Now local residents want it to be used for children and to drive/keep away the seals - which many locals want the seals to continue using it. It's been in the court system for decades now. The area where the seals are located is roped off, so don't get too close - they will attack you (the seals and maybe locals if you try to cross the rope :) ). 
There's a nice park  there and you can walk down along the other shorelines. At the cove, you can kayak, swim, and snorkel. If you're heading to the convention and your family wants a day adventure without out... then they can easily spend a day here for free (excluding parking and whatever they purchase). There's also a hidden sea tunnel that goes out to the ocean found beneath an old store ( La Jolla Cave Store). It's easy to drive past the Cave Store, so look it up via online maps. It costs a few dollars to walk down there and the steps are slippery, but the view is pretty good (check out photos online).
P.S. it's pronounced "La Hoya" (it's Spanish, don't pronounce it like it's spelled). The "ll" make a "y" sound and the "J" makes a "H" sound.

10. Tijuana, Mexico (can drive and park car on his side of border or take trolley or taxi, don't recommend driving into Mexico - most rental agreements forbid it)
If you're adventurous, you can head down to Tijuana (or "TJ" as we call it). You can head in and have a drink at the Hard Rock Cafe and return to check off Mexico from your to do list - be sure to bring your passport. This would probably be a half-day to full day adventure, so plan accordingly. TJ is about 20 miles south of San Diego. 


New Mass Effect series announced: Origin of Illusive Man

From IGN's article
In January 2011, Dark Horse will release a new four-issue mini-series that will be a prequel to the Mass Effect game and novels. The name of the series will be Mass Effect: Evolution.
Mac Walters, John Jackson Miller, and Omar Francia will return to collaborate on another ME comic series (same team as before). 
 "Evolution is a story from the early days of the Mass Effect universe, not long after the discovery of the Mass Relays connecting our solar system to the galaxy," Miller revealed to IGN. "It shows us one of those important moments when humanity realized just how dangerous that galaxy was. Yes, there's wonderful opportunity out there, but there are also perils; as our story opens, we're in the middle of the First Contact War with the alien turians. We don't know much about the enemy, and they don't know much about us — and, as we'll find out, there's a lot more at risk than losing a starship or a colony."  
The First Contact War has always been a chapter of the ME universe that I've wanted to read more about. All of the novels and games pick up much later after the end of that war and where humanity are allies with the Turians.
Here's some cover artwork from the upcoming series.
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Getting around at San Diego Comic Con 2010

This was inspired by sora_thekey's post Survival Guide to SD Comic-Con 2010.
San Diego  isn't as big as New York City, but we don't have as nice of a subway system as NYC. Here's some tips on how to get around town during the convention.



There's two main areas of town where the hotels are at: Downtown and Mission Valley (Hotel Circle). 
From Hotel Circle, you need to drive/get to Fashion Valley to get onto the Trolley - that's about a mile away. Some hotels might have shuttles going downtown.
From downtown hotels, if you're close enough to the San Diego Convention Center, then you can walk. Otherwise, a short Trolley ride might be needed, if you're close to a Trolley stop. 
If you're stay farther away and taking a (rental) car, then see below for car/parking info.

Bed & Breakfasts

There's a handful of B&Bs around town. I'm sure the owners there will be able to help get you to wherever you need to go.
If you don't have a room yet, check out Air Bed & Breakfast (Air B&B) web site to reserve a room at someone's house and maybe save some money from a hotel.



The streets in San Diego are numbered going east to west (north/south bound). So 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, etc. run north to south. 6th Ave is going to be east of 3rd Ave. This works well, except for a handful of the eastern most streets. If you are staying near the Convention Center, then you'll just see numbered streets going east/west (north/south bound).
The streets are alphabetical going north to south (east/west bound). Starting with A Street, then B, etc. So J Street is south of G Street. If you're heading north of A Street, then it starts over with Ash Street, Beech St, Cedar St - alphabetical named after trees going ascending order.
If you're walking, just look at the map understanding this logic and you'll figure out what I'm trying to say :)
There's a few exceptions like Market St and Broadway Ave to the naming, but for the most part it's accurate enough to judge general directions and distances. Also, for some reason the blocks here aren't square. Walking North/South is sometimes twice as far as walking east/west on the same block.


A Pedi-cab are the bicycles that pull a cart behind it.  These are an annoyance to many of the locals because of the loose (virtually none) limits placed on getting a license. Last year, a Pedi-cab driver was going so fast a passenger fell out of the back and died (she was old and hit her head). Read about it here. That upset a lot of locals and the city council have tried to start getting tougher on them. You should be warned that it could be dangerous depending on the driver and not all driver's know their way around town that well. As a automobile driver, I can state that these guys drive all over the road and sidewalks. So be careful if you choose this method of transportation. 
Also, please don't load up 3 "big" guys in the back of a cart and have a 110 lb girl peddle you through downtown. Although, it's very common and you might think it's funny, it just looks ridiculous.


I've only used taxis here to get to/from the airport. In general, these guys know how to get around town pretty well, but they drive like NYC taxi drivers so be warned and be careful. 


There's a good amount of buses that traverse the city. You need to check out either Google maps (bus routes) or use the San Diego Metro Transit System Trip-Finder web site.


The Trolley is offering special discounted day passes for Comic-Con. Remember to purchase tickets before boarding! You can't buy the ticket once you step on board.

Day Pass Rates:

  • 1-Day = $5
  • 2-Days = $9
  • 3-Days = $12
  • 4-Days = $15
Comic Con Trolley Schedule  


I have parked my car at the SDCC parking before and it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. However, if you want to avoid that headache, then you can park at one of the following places and take the Trolley. Qualcomm Stadium parking is the easiest to find a spot at. You can park at the smaller stops, but the parking lots there might be full. Qualcomm has a huge parking lot. All of the parking areas are listed here.

San Diego Districts/Neighborhoods

Downtown - This is used to describe several areas, but mostly the Center City area. This is where Horton's Plaza and the County and Federal Courthouse are at. American Plaza and Santa Fe Train Depot are here (both are Trolley stops).
Little Italy - This area has lots of Italy restaurants and coffee shops. It is a couple of blocks north of "downtown." There is a couple of trolley stops here. If you're looking for good Italian food, then I recommend Filippi's Pizza Grotto. If you're looking for some unique food (or you're a foodie), try Indigo Grill - it's one of the three places operated by one of our local chefs. Almost every shop/restaurant are on India St, so if you exit Trolley just head a block or so east until you get to India St.  If you're really into desserts, then you'll have to stop by Extraordinary Deserts (there's another one near Hillcrest, which has a much different feel. The Lit Italy shop is much more urban/concrete. The original one in Hilcrest is much more comfy. If you have a car, drive to the one in Hillcrest, the food is same but atmosphere is better.)
Gas Lamp - This is the area to the east of the Convention Center. There's lots of bars and clubs and some restaurants. This area is normally the area where drunken college age people hang out at night. This will be the most crowded area during your visit due to it's normal traffic + proximity to convention center. If you're going to eat out here, then I'd recommend The Field (Irish restaurant). The Field has local music, Guinness, and Shepard's Pie - what else do you need?!? Another is Royal India. For others (not really my thing), there's a Hooters and Dick's Last Resort where the waiters/waitresses yell insults at you the entire time. Dick's Last Resort is very touristy and popular for some reason. There's trolley stops here. 

Seaport Village - Not a district, but distinct enough. This area is just north of the SD Convention Center. There's lots of shops and a few restaurants here. A bit further away is the Fish Market restaurant next to the USS Midway and a giant WW2 statue.

East Village - This is where the San Diego Padre's stadium is at. It's an upcoming area that used to be not all that great, but there's been a lot of new development and hi-rises built over the last few years there. I think there's some trolley stops here, if not, it's just a few blocks east of Gas Lamp.
Balboa Park - Not really a district, but big enough for it's own entry. This is like the Central Park (NYC) for San Diego. The SD Zoo is here and many, many museums. There's one pricey restaurant (The Prado) and a few smaller places to eat there. There's an IMAX theatre there at the Fleet Science Museum. Unfortunately, there's no trolley stops here. It's our biggest attraction in town and you have to drive or take a bus there. The park is north east of downtown. It's probably about 2-3 miles from SDCC.
Hillcrest - This area is just north of Balboa Park. There's lots of decently priced restaurants here. This is where many of the locals go to "eat out." There's no trolley stops here and parking is very hard to find. There's too many restaurants to recommend for Hillcrest, but here's a few: Amarin Thai, Kemo Sabe Extraordinary Desserts, Taste of Thai, Bombay Cuisine of India.
Old Town - This "historic" district is the original downtown of San Diego. There's a big transportation hub here (buses, trolley). There's lots of Mexican food and Margaritas. There's an "old town" area with buildings and shops focusing on the founding time of San Diego. If you're looking for good Mexican food, then this is the easiest and probably best option (instead of taking you chance elsewhere). There's lots of other good Mexican places to eat, but for non-locals, this might be the easiest and most convenient. If you take the trolley, just exit and head north/east towards the "old town" buildings. If you take a right out of the Trolley offload area, go down the street, and then take a left, you'll eventually end up on San Diego Ave. 
Mission Bay - This is the popular tourist destination for beaches and bars, etc. It's a short drive north of downtown.
As always, consult a map or your phone maps for exact directions :)


If you have any questions about food or transportation, just ask and I'll try to track down the information.