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One guide to rule them all: Where to eat, hang, and party around Emerald City Comic Con 2024

caption: The Raygun Lounge in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is a board game pub and pinball hub.
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The Raygun Lounge in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is a board game pub and pinball hub.
Courtesy of Raygun Lounge

While Emerald City Comic Con takes over the Seattle Convention Center each year, there are even more festivities to be found in the surrounding area, outside the con.

Convention organizers are anticipating 85,000 attendees will flood into downtown Seattle for the 2024 event. That's a lot of fans. From food to transportation, afterparties, and more, here are a few ideas for navigating Seattle during Emerald City Comic Con 2024.

Emerald City Comic Con afterparties

Emerald City Comic Con has two of its own afterparties, including a big band concert and an "Under the Stars Prom." Outside of the con ...

Sonic Boom Box at Spin (1511 6th Avenue): Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sonic Boom Box specializes in comicon afterparties. $25 at the door, but cheaper tickets online. Expect cosplay, a live DJ, dancing, and ping pong since this is at Spin after all. 21+

Tokyo Tonight at Q Nightclub (1426 Broadway): Sunday, March 3, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $20. Japanese DJ's playing J-pop and anime. 21+

The Rolling Bones party at The Whisky Bar (2122 2nd Avenue): Saturday, March 2, 6 p.m. until late. $10. Rolling Bones is a local club for gamers and geeks. They're hosting this party with DJs, comic-themed cocktails, and more. Club membership not required. 21+ (Warning: Organizers say they've already reached capacity based on RSVPs. Expect a line outdoors if you want to try this spot)

Anime Rave at WAMU: Black Tiger Sex Machine's anime rave. March 1-2, 7 p.m. Tickets start at around $50. All ages, with 21+ areas. Here's what to expect.

Where to hang around Emerald City Comic Con

Just because Emerald City Comicon closes for the night, doesn't mean the festivities end. There are a few spots con goers can easily get to from the convention center, and a few events happening outside the con.

Raygun Lounge (501 East Pine Street)

caption: Raygun Lounge is in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. It's all ages and dog friendly. Lots of pinball machines, and tables for board games.
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Raygun Lounge is in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. It's all ages and dog friendly. Lots of pinball machines, and tables for board games.
Courtesy of Raygun Lounge

It's all about games here — board, arcade, and pinball. They serve beer, cider, sandwiches, and hot dogs. This spot is about a 10 minute walk up Pine Street from the con. Show your comicon badge during ECCC and get $1 off your first drink and a free game of pinball. Raygun is hosting a comicon board game meetup Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m., and a "Groo" demo by Steve Jackson games on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. All ages and dog friendly.

Time Warp (1420 10th Ave)

caption: Pop culture and nightlife collide at the Time Warp arcade bar in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. With art, cyberpunk lighting, and a ramen bar, Time Warp is themed after sci-fi classics (mainly "Blade Runner").
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Pop culture and nightlife collide at the Time Warp arcade bar in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. With art, cyberpunk lighting, and a ramen bar, Time Warp is themed after sci-fi classics (mainly "Blade Runner").
Courtesy of Time Warp

Part "Blade Runner," and part ... well, it's actually a whole lot of "Blade Runner," all wrapped around arcade games and pinball machines. PLUS, an entire wall of ramen and instant noodles, so feel free to dress up like Deckard. This a cozy Capitol Hill bar is about 0.7 miles up Pike Street from the con. 21+

GameWorks (1511 7th Avenue): GameWorks is close to the con, and it is a large space with a bar. So there's more room to get around, drinks, and some food. The downside is that GameWorks requires you to use those little game cards and purchase credits to play any arcade games (boo!). All ages, except for the bar.

Belltown Pincrawl: There are more than 70 pinball machines spread between Belltown's Shorty's, Jupiter, Just the Tap, Black Cat Bar, and Belltown Pizza. This neighborhood is located roughly a mile from the convention center, but if you can get there, it's a good spot for drinks, food, and games. Parade your cosplay from bar to bar. Mostly 21+.

Where to eat near Emerald City Comic Con

Already been to the Cheesecake Factory the last five times you went to Emerald City Comic Con? A good plan is to wander up Pine Street toward Capitol Hill and see what looks enticing. Otherwise, here are a few options near the convention center.

Dough Zone (815 Pine Street): Right around the corner from the convention center. Come for the soup dumplings, then try the bao, then take a nap, then try more. There's a lot of tasty dumplings going on here. (It's really good.)

Kizuki Ramen (320 E Pine Street): I'd say this ramen is worth the walk, but it's actually located just a few minutes walk up Pine Street. Still, the ramen is great and hits the spot.

Lil Woodys (1211 Pine Street): If you don't want to walk all the way to Dick's on Capitol Hill, there is another local burger option much closer to the convention. This is one out of four locations for this local chain (plus one in Tokyo). The burgers aren't as cheap, but they're certainly unique.

Daawat Indian Grill (820 Pike Street): Just a block away from the center, this Indian restaurant has limited seating (when compared to con crowds), but it also offers take out which is very convenient. Order some vindaloo and start quoting Dave Lister.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery (1124 Pike St, Seattle)

caption: Seattle Roastery | Starbucks Reserve
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Seattle Roastery | Starbucks Reserve

I know, it's Starbucks and it's Seattle — it's so obvious. But this roastery is not your typical Starbucks. This is where Starbucks gets fancy. There are only six Reserve Roasteries in the world (Seattle, Chicago, Milano, New York, Shanghai, and Tokyo), and this one happens to be a few blocks away from the con. Expect exclusive coffee roasts, some bites, and fancy cocktails.

Slices USA (809 Olive Way): Around the corner from the convention center, you can quickly grab a slice of pizza at Slices USA, boasting pizza pans made in Rome, and ovens made in Venice.

The Carlile Room (820 Pine Street): You can't get any closer to the convention than this restaurant right across the street (it's named after award-winning singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile). This place is a bit upscale, and it isn't as huge as the convention, so plan ahead and make reservations.

Pacific Place food court (600 Pine Street): A couple blocks from the con is a mall with a handful of restaurants offering both sit-down and take-out — retro burgers and shakes, Thai food, hot pot, chowder, and Din Tai Fung which has been said to be among the best restaurant chains in the world.

Want more food recommendations? Emerald City Comic Con fans had a few ideas of their own on Facebook.

Where to explore elsewhere in Seattle

Seattle is a nerdy city. If you have time outside of the convention to explore beyond downtown, there are a few notable spots to geek out.

Archie McPhee in Wallingford (1300 North 45th Street): Need squirrel underpants? Tiny hands that fit on your fingers? A creepy horsehead? Does visiting a small rubber chicken museum sound fun? Head over to Archie McPhee and find everything you never knew you needed in your life.

Dave Ryan Pop Art at Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is worth visiting alone. Inside this historic market is artist Dave Ryan's pop art featuring nostalgia and pop culture references via paintings, stencil art, T-shirts, postcards and more. You're certain to find a unique treasure here.

Golden Age Collectibles at Pike Place Market: This comic shop claims to be the oldest in the world, so it's worth going just to say you've been there. From comics to collectibles and novelties, there is a lot to lost in here.

MoPop (325 5th Avenue North): The celebration of pop culture is a year-round event at the Museum of Pop Culture. Relics from fantasy, sci-fi, horror and more are on display.

Fantagraphics (1201 S Vale St, Seattle)

caption: Fantagraphics Books in Georgetown, Seattle.
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Fantagraphics Books in Georgetown, Seattle.
Flickr Photo/yelahneb

This is the original indie comics hub in Seattle. No DC or Marvel here. It's all unique (and some of it is pretty adult oriented).

How to get to Emerald City Comic Con

KUOW Reporter Joshua McNichols, who covers transportation, offers this advice: "I love taking light rail or a RapidRide bus into downtown whenever I can. That way, when I'm there I don't have to worry about paying a fortune for parking in a garage, or worry about when my street parking will expire (often 2 hours which is not enough time for comic con!). If you have to drive partway, look for a park and ride, which also helps you avoid the downtown parking headaches."

Tip: Avoid traveling by car. If you can find parking near the convention, it will eat into your con budget. Plus, traffic is a nightmare during the event. A rideshare will also eat into your con budget, but comes without the parking problem.

Light rail to Westlake Center: From the Westlake Center stop, it's a third of a mile up Pine Street to the Convention Center entrance (7-ish minute walk ... 10 minutes if you're in heavy cosplay).

Bus (make sure you check if and when these bus lines are operating. In other words, don't get stuck in downtown Seattle because a bus stops running at 10 p.m.):

  • The 10, 11, and 49 King County Metro bus routes have stops on Pine Street near the convention center.
  • Sound Transit's 545 line starting from Redmond can get you to Westlake Center from the Eastside.
  • Sound Transit's 550 line starting from Bellevue can drop you off at Pike Street and 9th Avenue, about a block away from the con.

Park and ride

  • There are multiple parking lots near the Northgate light rail station. That's probably your best option for quick access to Westlake Center, the closest stop to the convention.
  • Park and rides can be located as far south as the Angle Lake light rail station, near Sea-Tac Airport. Again, this will take you to Westlake Center.
  • What about the Sounder? I don't recommend using the Sounder train to get to ECCC. The Sounder train, which is different than the light rail line, can get you into Seattle from as far south as Lakewood, and as far north as Everett on weekdays. It will drop you off at King Street Station, so you'll still have more than a mile to travel to get to the con. Also, this last train out of Seattle is at 6:30 p.m. so that doesn't leave much time in the evening to enjoy Seattle.

This train generally does not operate on the weekends, unless there is a sports event. I know, I know ... far more people attend Emerald City Comic Con than any Seahawks, Sounders, or Mariners game. But according to Sound Transit's weekend info, it usually extends weekend hours for sports and concerts.

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