For four days every year, San Diego changes gears as a beachfront paradise to a destination for some of the biggest fan boys (and girls) in fantasy, comic books, gaming, and film. You simply know the event as Comic-Con, but for the more than 100,000 annual guests, it’s the must-attend event of the year that completely transforms the city for the better.

The Superheroes are here to save the day!
In recent months it was unclear if Comic-Con would remain in San Diego, but last week organizers announced that following extensive bargaining with downtown hoteliers regarding rates, the celebrated convention will continue through 2018. “The hotel community really believes it has pricing power when there’s demand, and that’s not unusual,” Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi told NBC 7 San Diego. “But they’ve been really good at recognizing the customer of Comic-Con, and that’s what Comic-Con’s concern was – ‘We don’t want to price ourselves out of that market’.”

Comic-Con’s impact on the city…
Comic-Con San Diego is a prime example of the synergy a major event can create with a host city. Comic-Con is so coveted by the city that the Unified Port of San Diego recently announced plans to upgrade and expand facilities at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina to improve the thriving waterfront, with Comic-Con serving as the catalyst for change. With a $200 million price tag, the project includes a new Marina Walk, a 25,000 square foot outdoor event venue, and Marriott Hall ballroom expansion. Convention Center board member Gil Cabrera tells the news source that as Comic-Con continues to grow, so too should the number of hotels in the downtown area. Such a change would attract additional new events to San Diego, yielding more opportunities for companies, brands, and event planners, alike.

…and don’t forget about local businesses!
Comic-Con also has an unmatched impact on local businesses, while giving major brands, film studios, and TV shows the opportunity to showcase upcoming releases at more than 75 off-site events. One of the most unique events is The Her Universe Fashion Show, which offers designers a chance to showcase their work in an annual contest. Held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, two grand prizewinners will design a future line for Her Universe. Last year’s winners are in the process of releasing an Avengers-themed product line for Hot Topic. Meanwhile, for those looking for something a little more active, The Walking Dead Escape is a fully immersive obstacle course where attendees get to run from hordes of zombies through multiple floors of the Padre’s Petco Park. With more than 100,000 attendees set loose on downtown San Diego, experts anticipate Comic-Con will bring in tens of millions of dollars to the local economy.

You can check out a full list of off-site activities here! Or follow all the action on the SDCC unofficial blog here!