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#05/SDCC 2014: Since You’ve Been Gone ...

A lot can happen in a year, and since we last saw you at Comic-Con International 2013, a few substantial additions have happened downtown, all within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center, and all worth checking out during your SDCC visit!

San Diego Central Library

All photos by Gary Sassaman © 2014 SDCC

The New San Diego Central Library

Downtown San Diego has a new library and it’s AMAZING! Located in the East Village, east of Petco Park (the San Diego Padres’ ballpark), the new San Diego Central Library building is the domed structure you can see from all over the downtown area. Located at Park Boulevard and 11th Avenue, the library rises 9 stories into the sky and looks like something from the future has been plopped down into the city. Two floors of the library are given over to a high school, but the rest is one of the most technologically advanced libraries you’ll ever find. While there are no official Comic-Con events going on this year at the library (it is, however, one of the homes for the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Club, which meets once a month there), this new building is worth a look, just for the stunning architecture, amazing views from the upper floors, and the ability to see what the library of the future looks like today. If you’re taking a break during Comic-Con, or visiting the city before or after the show, we recommend you take a walk over to see this wonderful new addition to downtown San Diego (the library closes at 5:30 PM most weeknights). For more info, visit

The Headquarters at Seaport District
The Headquarters at Seaport District

San Diego has a new dining and shopping area and it’s located right next to the Manchester Grand Hyatt!

Many San Diego residents and visitors will remember this area, at the north end of Seaport Village and also opposite the Embassy Suites San Diego Bay Hotel, as the old police headquarters. Built in 1939 and closed in 1985, this iconic downtown landmark sat vacant for more than 25 years. Now it’s been restored and made into The Headquarters at Seaport District, a dining and shopping destination that is in easy walking distance of the Convention Center and the surrounding hotels. There are 5 restaurants at The Headquarters: The Cheesecake Factory, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Pizzeria Mozza, Puesta Mexican Street Food, and Seasons 52. The complex also has a large Starbucks (on the Seaport Village side), and a number of shops. It also features a small museum that focuses on the building’s police history, including jail cells! And on Sunday, it features a Farmers' Market filled with locally-sourced goodies from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. If you’re looking for a new place to eat during Comic-Con, The Headquarters is a great addition to the downtown scene. For more info visit

County Administration Center Waterfront Park
The County Administration Center Waterfront Park

Remember those two large parking lots on either side of the San Diego County Building between Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive? Well, you can’t park there anymore! The CAC Waterfront Park is now open on both the north and south sides of the landmark County Administration building. Located on Pacific Highway, between Ash and Grape Streets, it’s a little bit of a walk from the Convention Center, but worth it if you’re looking for a place for the kiddies to play. The new parks feature a playground, wide-open green spaces, and interactive water areas that are no more than 1” deep and features jets of water, perfect for the little ones to splash around in. The easiest way to get there is to walk up Pacific Highway to Ash Street, or go out the back of the Convention Center and up through Seaport Village (although please note that there is a lot of construction on Harbor Drive, north of the USS Midway Museum. It’s a great place to take the kids for a break from Exhibit Hall shopping or panel-going. The park is open each day from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. For more info, visit

County Administration Center Waterfront Park
"The Kiss" Statue
The Kiss Statue (Unconditional Surrender) Is Back to Stay

This monumental statue was on temporary loan to San Diego in the past few years, but due to the generosity of local residents, a permanent version is now installed opposite the USS Midway Museum on Harbor Drive. The original statue, “Unconditional Surrender,” harkens back to an iconic VJ-Day photograph from Life magazine by Alfred Eisenstadt (but is supposedly really based on another photo by Victor Jorgensen of the same kissing couple), captured in Times Square on August 14, 1945. The original statue was sculpted by J. Seward Johnson. This more durable copy is also known as “The Kiss Statue.” Not everyone is in love with this new addition to the waterfront, but you have to see it to believe it, and it does make an amazing photo opportunity. The statue is located in what is known as Tuna Harbor, right beside The Fish Market restaurant and on the north end of Seaport Village. There is also a number of other military statues and tributes in that area, including one to Bob Hope and his visits to bases over his career.

Downtown San Diego is constantly changing. Be sure to visit the Gaslamp, Seaport Village, and the East Village and explore these vibrant areas filled with dining and shopping opportunities. Look for our 2014 Restaurant Guide, coming soon here on the website and as part of our SDCC Quick Guide publication.

Remember your first, best, and most accurate source for information—including our daily Toucan Tip—is right here on the Comic-Con website and Toucan, the only OFFICIAL SDCC blog. Bookmark Toucan and the Comic-Con Front Page for the latest updates for the big show!