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9 Can’t Miss After Parties During Comic-Con 2023

Once the sun sets, hit up these 21+ late night events to keep the cosplay going
Courtesy of XLE Entertainment
Nostalgia Nightclub, SDCC 2023

Nostalgia Nightclub, SDCC 2023

Courtesy of XLE Entertainment

This year’s Comic-Con has faced its fair share of uncertainty, with the writer and actor strikes leading to few celebrities coming to promote their work, plus major studios pulling out of activations. But the convention is still at full attendance.And that means, very soon throngs of cosplay-clad superheroes and supervillains will descend on the streets of downtown, looking for afterparties to hit after the day’s convention events end. There are tons of both ticketed and free events and parties to choose from, with more being announced as the convention unfolds.Whether you have a badge or not, here are the best after parties to attend during Comic-Con 2023:

July 19

Ready Party One: 8 Bit Legacy

Ready Party One: 8 Bit Legacy is XLE’s kickoff party featuring a decked-out space meant to look like a video game and featuring a gaming lounge and themed drinks. Music from the ’80s will be performed by The Flux Capacitors, plus DJ Elliot and DJ Atomic Blonde. The party will be held at Parq Nightclub with tickets priced from $50-$300. | 615 Broadway, 92101

Comic Con Drag Bingo

This is not your grandma’s bingo night. Comic-Con Drag Bingo mixes larger-than-life personalities, lively rounds of bingo, exciting prizes and of course, entertaining drag performances. Hosted by American Junkie, bingo will take place from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. While the event itself is free, guests can purchase bottle service or opt for specials such as $3 White Claws and $3 “you call its” from 10 to 11 p.m. | 628 Fifth Avenue, 92101

July 20

Nostalgia Nightclub

For those who remember spending their evenings zoning out in front of Nick at Night, and for those who are maybe too young to remember but still think it sounds fun, this is the party for you. Nostalgia Nightclub from XLE Productions runs Thursday starts at 8 p.m. at Parq Nightclub and is a night of ’90s-themed nostalgia, with music from The Flux Capacitors, DJ Elliot and DJ Atomic Blonde. Cosplayer and actor Kal Smith will be hosting. General Admission tickets are $35, VIP for $100. | 615 Broadway

Sixth Annual Fandom Party

The sixth annual Fandom Party hosted by Paramount+, Z2 Comics, Pinfinity, and EA, is held at the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday from 7 to 11 p.m. You can explore activations from Paramount’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Yellowjackets. EA will also give previews of its summer video game release “Immortals of Aveum.” Z2 Comics will have comic activations, plus augmented reality collectible pins from Pinfinity. | Hard Rock Hotel, 207 Fifth Ave

Departing Dystopia: A Post-Apocalyptic Immersive Theatre/Nightclub Hybrid

You can’t really have Comic-Con without alternate reality. Basically, the whole convention is an alternate reality, but Departing Dystopia dives pulling into that experience. There are two shows, the first is Second Reality, with an “Interactive, Post-Apocalyptic, Cyberpunk, EDM, Live Musical reimagining of the classic tale of Romeo & Juliet.” How could you go wrong with that? After that you can stay for The Unification After Party. Partygoers get to join in the performance with the bartender as their guide. Tickets $20 – $95. | The Merrow, 1271 University Avenue

July 21

The Monsters Ball SDCC 2023 After Party

The Monsters Ball SDCC after party by Experience Level Entertainment (XLE) runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Parq Nightclub on Friday. It will be decorated as a haunted forest ballroom, with lots of people in costume, the Monster Glitter booth and a dance floor with Sam Feldt, D-SYFER-IT and DJ Elliot, plus the emo/pop-punk tribute band Not A Phase. Tickets are priced at $50 to $300. | 615 Broadway

July 22

Heroes & Villains Comic-Con Party

If you have always wanted to see an in-person battle between Superman and Batman, or Darth Vader and Luke, or any other hero and villain combination, check out the Heroes & Villains after party. Rich’s is hosting a costume party for the last night of Comic-Con. There’s no cover charge for those in any kind of costume or those with a badge. Dance your costumed-self off with music from K-Swift and Moody Rudy, plus take a moment to visit a 360-degree photo room to get your best shot of your costume. Tickets are priced at $14. | 1051 University Ave

Comic-Con Bar Crawl San Diego

It’s not quite the trek to Mordor, but it very likely could involve beer that comes in pints. A great way to close out the weekend, the annual Comic-Con bar crawl tradition takes you across the many watering holes in Gaslamp. On Saturday, gather at American Junkie as more than 300 guests gather for the Heroes & Villains Bar Crawl. Wear your cosplay and roam the streets of Gaslamp, hopping into more than 10 bars and clubs with one all-access pass. Tickets $15-$24. | 628 Fifth Ave

Senpai Squad Cosplay Rave

With fewer studios and live actors at this year’s convention, gaming and anime are one of the big focuses. The Senpai Squad cosplay rave will give you the chance to revel in all of that. Gather at The Music Box at 8 p.m. to party with anime and gaming brand Senpai Squad. The cosplay rave includes dancer and choreographer Matt Steffanina, DJ Sriracha Man, and DJ Findtherabbit. Tickets $25. | 1337 India StreetFollow accounts like @SD_Comic_Con and SideQuesting on Discord for updates on new events and party announcements during the weekend.

By Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser has been writing for San Diego Magazine for 10 years. She also is a reporter at KPBS and writes for The New York Times, National Geographic, Marie Claire, Elle and Runner's World.

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