Comic-Con 2019: All the Free Activations, From ‘The Good Place’ to ‘Batman’ to ‘The Expanse’ (Updating)

Downtown San Diego will have plenty for fans who can’t get into the convention hall — or just need a breather

Last Updated: July 16, 2019 @ 8:59 AM

If you’re headed to San Diego Comic-con 2019, you already know you’re in for a week of incredible costumes, huge panels, and (hopefully!) buying a lot of comics. But what if you couldn’t get a badge, are just on a budget, or need a break?

Luckily, there’ll be plenty to do all over San Diego during the 4-day nerdpocalypse — and we don’t just mean parties. During the day, studios will fill downtown with free events promoting fan-favorite shows and films, with plenty of activities, spectacles, and giveaways for badge holders and normies alike.

It can be hard to keep track of it all, but TheWrap has you covered. Read on for our handy guide to all the fun (and free) activations, from a re-creation of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” to a Stan Lee experience, to a huge Batman tribute, and even a chance to fly with the crew of the Roci from “The Expanse.”

We’ll be updating this post frequently, so check back often for the latest. And of course, TheWrap will be in San Diego for all of Comic-Con 2019. See our list of SDCC’s must-see panels, events and screenings here., and find out about the best and biggest parties here.

NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Experience
Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 at Gaslamp Square (between the Convention Center and Hard Rock Hotel in front of the Tin Fish Restaurant).

Comic-Con activations brooklyn nine nine 99

Visit a recreation of the 99th precinct for fun activities, exclusive content, giveaways, and photo opportunities. Nine-Nine! But bring water, because shade is pretty nonexistent at this corner of the Gaslamp.

NBC’s “Superstore” Cloud 9 Pop-Up
Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 inside the Hard Rock Hotel main lobby

The pop up for NBC’s “Superstore” offers exclusive content, a custom photo opportunity and a “customer service” desk to host exclusive “Superstore” giveaways. See the show’s official Twitter (@NBCSuperstore) for more during Comic-Con.

NBC’s “The Good Place” Diner – The Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes
Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 at Maryjane’s Diner at the Hard Rock Hotel

See the Hard Rock’s Maryjane’s Diner transformed into the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes from Season 3 of “The Good Place.” See the show’s official Twitter (@nbcthegoodplace) for more during SDCC.

Fox “Animation Domination” Fan Fair
Thursday July 18-Sunday July 21 at the Children’s Museum Park & Children’s Park, 200 W. Island Ave.

FOX Fan Fair

Fox is going all-out at Comic-Con with this literal pop up amusement park inspired by its Sunday night “Animation Domination” programming block. Centered by a 70-foot-tall Ferris wheel (no really), the fair features rides, carnival games and augmented reality content promoting “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and the upcoming “Bless the Harts.” There’ll also be food and prize giveaways for attendees, plus appearances by cast and producers from each of the shows (follow Fox on Twitter to find out when). It’s free, and open to the public.

The Fan Fair is open 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday July 19 and Saturday July 20, and 10:00 AM – 1:00 p.m. on Sunday July 21. Note that Thursday-Saturday, select activations will close at 6:00 p.m.

(And yes, we get the Fox Fan Fair/Fox fanfare pun, just in case anyone’s watching.)

FX Fearless Forum
Thursday July 18-Sunday July 21 at Hilton Bayfront Park immediately southeast of the San Diego Convention Center

american horror story 1984

Anchored by the “American Horror Story: 1984” – Face the Darkness activation, FX Fearless Forum will also feature the “What We Do in the Shadows” Lair, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Sunscreen Zone, and the “Archer” O2 Station. There’s also a nightly light show. Produced by FX Design in collaboration with BARTKRESA studio.

Fans can pre-register for a RFID badge, required to gain entry, on both in advance and on-site. Registration & badge collection is required to check into and participate in giveaways and other activities.

It goes down from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday July 18 through Saturday July 20, and from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Sunday July 21.

HBO’s “Watchmen”
The Gaslamp Quarter will be site of what HBO is calling “a surprise in-world opportunity to engage with” the upcoming comic adaptation. We don’t know what that means either, but we’ll all find out in two weeks.

The Amazon Prime Video Experience
Thursday, July 18-Sunday July 21 at the corner of MLK and 1st.

Amazon is treating fans to a huge immersive experience inspired by “The Boys,” “Carnival Row” and the upcoming fourth season of “The Expanse.” Located across from the San Diego Convention Center, the activation will feature a 40-foot tower covered in LED screens playing scenes from all three shows, plus some live, show-specific performances taking place onsite.

Attractions include a crime scene cover-up inspired by “The Boys,” a simulated humanitarian mission aboard the Rocinante from “The Expanse,” and exploring the “Carnival Row” Fantasy universe, including a neo-Victorian nightclub featuring a special performance.

Inside, attendees receive collectible gold and silver coins they can use to further explore the grounds. There’s also a Cosplay Photography Corner, where a lifestyle photographer will take professional portraits for digital takeaways.

The Batman Experience Powered by AT&T
Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park

Comic-con activations batman experience

In celebration of the 80th anniversary of Batman (holy time files), DC and AT&T have teamed up for a massive, interactive exhibition that includes the largest-ever collection of Batman-related props, costumes and vehicles. The whole thing will be free and open to the public — no SDCC badge required.

Featured elements include “The Dark Knight Dive,” a VR skydiving experience into Gotham City, “The Batcave gaming lounge,” featuring all generations of Batman video and arcade games, including “Batman: Arkham Knight” (PS4). And “WHAAM! KABOOM! POW! The Rogue Gallery Rumble,” an interactive punching bag experience.

Plus hundreds of rare pieces of DC comic book art and film and television props, including several from Tim Burton’s “Batman,” which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, along with other surprises.

Audible’s “Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light” experience
Thursday, July 18-Sunday, July 21 at 327 4th Ave. (K St. & 4th Ave in the Gaslamp Quarter)

Set up to promote “A Trick of Light,” the posthumously-published new superhero novel Lee co-wrote with Kat Rosenfield, this activation promises “reality-bending light and sound-driven experiences” inspired by key moments from the book, along with an introduction written and narrated by Stan the Man himself.

Open to the public with no Comic-Con badge required, Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light experienceis open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday July 18 and Friday July 19, from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday July 20, and from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday July 21.

And for those of you with badges, Audible will also be hosting a panel at Comic-Con on July 20 at 6:30 p.m. in room 7AB.

The “Pennyworth” Experience
Thursday July 18 – Saturday July 20 at the Oxford Social Club, 435 Fifth Ave.


Just a few blocks north of the convention center is this activation based on “Pennyworth,” the upcoming Epix series about the younger years of Batman’s butler. The event takes fans to a recreation of 1960s London, where they’ll figure out a secret password to gain entry to a seedy high society club, play black jack, take photos and enjoy live entertainment, and experience a mock up of the secret headquarters for the show’s shadowy Raven Society. Plus other “Pennyworth”-related scenes.

The “Pennnyworth” Experience is open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, and from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Friday July 19 and Saturday July 20.

“Vikings” Battle Axe Training
Saturday, July 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Throw It (339 7th Ave)

This one-day-only event gives fans of History channel’s “Vikings” the chance to test out a career in Viking-ness by learning the techniques required to throw a battle axe. Fun! There’ll also be a “Vikings” trivia game and the opportunity to get some temp tattoos. Vikings stars Katheryn Winnick and Alexander Ludwig will also make appearances: Ludwig from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. and Winnick from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. And PS: this one’s open to the public too.

Nat Geo’s Deep Blue Shark
Saturday, July 20 starting at 10:00 a.m. in the Gaslamp Quarter

Another one-day-only event, Nat Geo is marching a 20-foot long replica of Deep Blue, the largest great white shark ever filmed, through downtown San Diego on a route touching on some of the Gaslamp Quarter’s most well known attractions. It starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the day, ending as Nat Geo’s annual Nerd Nite party kicks off at 8:00 p.m. The activation promotes Nat Geo Wild’s upcoming simulcast special “World’s Biggest Great White?”, which premieres July 21.

FYI, the shark’s route will be bordered by Market Street along the west/north, Harbor drive to the south, and by 7th along the east. Nat Geo will be releasing a more exact route later in the week.