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#06: Since You’ve Been Gone: A San Diego Recap

It’s hard to believe a year has passed and here we are again … getting ready for Comic-Con! In the past year, San Diego has changed a bit, so here are some “new” things that you might notice or want to visit while you’re attending Comic-Con 2015. (Click on the images to see them larger on your screen and in slideshow mode.)

Balboa Park

All photos by Gary Sassaman © 2015 SDCC

Balboa Park’s 100th Anniversary

Not much has changed in Balboa Park, and that’s a good thing … because 2015 marks the centennial of the Park’s birth as part of the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. The park, adjacent to the San Diego Zoo, has now reopened (for the first time since 1935!) its famous California Tower at the Museum of Man, which offers breathtaking views of both the park and San Diego. The walkway between the park and the Zoo has also been redone, and if you end up walking it, pay close attention to its baked earth look … all through the walk are impressions of plant and animal life, including leaves, hooves, paws, and more (kids seem to notice it first and really dig it, maybe because they’re closer to the ground!). Balboa Park has a number of plans for its centennial celebration; you can see some of them by visiting here:

San Diego's Embarcadero
The Embarcadero

If you drove in from the airport along Harbor Drive last year for Comic-Con, you noticed there was a lot of construction going on, particularly around Broadway. All of that is pretty much cleaned up this year with the Embarcadero north of Seaport Village and the USS Midway Museum once again clear for walking. Near Broadway, a number of kiosks have sprouted up … this is where you go to book a bay dining cruise or any other sea-faring adventure. A little farther up Harbor, on the opposite side of the street, is the City County Building with its water park for the kiddies. The park utilizes 80,000 gallons of continually recycled water and (as of this writing) is still running during the California drought, which brought mandatory water restrictions to San Diego.

DecoBike Stations in San Diego
DecoBike Stations

San Diego has joined the bike revolution with the addition of numerous DecoBike Stations throughout the city and improvements to bike lanes on many city streets (including 5th Avenue, north of Broadway). You can rent a bike from one of these stations for either a leisurely ride around San Diego or to get in some great exercise while you’re away from home. You can rent the bikes by the half-hour, hour, day, or week, and return them to any station (not just the one you rented it from). Complete info on their website at … and no, you can’t ride them inside the Convention Center. There are no bike lanes in the Exhibit Hall!

Quartyard in San Diego

Two words: Food trucks. This relatively new (since you were here last year) addition to downtown San Diego is located at 1102 Market St., between 11th Ave. and Park Blvd., in the East Village. It includes a permanent coffee place (Meshuggah Shack) and a sausage and meat vendor (S&M Sausage & Meat), plus a rotating line-up of food trucks each day, a craft beer garden, and a 5,000 square-foot dog park. Quartyard is also a music and event venue. While we have no idea what’s planned for Comic-Con week, you can check out their website by clicking here for more info, including a list of their daily food trucks.

Little Italy in San Diego
Little Italy

Our 2015 Restaurant Guide will debut soon on our website, and it covers the areas immediately adjacent to the Convention Center downtown, including the Gaslamp, East Village, and Seaport District (including Seaport Village and The Headquarters). One culinary destination definitely worth visiting is Little Italy, a little bit north of Broadway, down towards the bay. This area is so filled with restaurants that it merits its own separate guide! If you’re up for an additional bit of walking (after a long day of walking at Comic-Con in and around the Convention Center!), head to Kettner Blvd., which starts at the Hyatt, and walk up past the Santa Fe train depot. Kettner has an exciting blend of restaurants and shops and plenty of things to discover. After you’re done walking up Kettner, turn right and walk up one block to India Street and head  back south. India Street is the heart of Little Italy, a bustling neighborhood filled with restaurants and shops. The list of restaurants is far too long to include here, but there are plenty of amazing places to eat on India St., Kettner Blvd., and on the side streets that link them. If you have a little bit of energy left on a Comic-Con night, or if you’re staying a few extra days before or after the big event, Little Italy is worth a visit, especially if you’re hungry! More info:

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!