SAN DIEGO — Comic-Con isn't just a daytime affair.

After the convention center closes for the night, the streets of downtown San Diego come alive with parties galore – dozens of events over the four-day fan festival.

"The Con is for the fans," said comic artist Eric J as he navigated between party destinations. "For the professionals and exhibitors, it's also for networking and making contacts, and that happens at the parties. Even though everyone's having a great time, more business gets done after hours. And it's not just business. There are friendships made at the convention and at the parties that last a lifetime."

The festivities began on the eve of Comic-Con with Wednesday's gathering for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," which drew crowds to the Hard Rock Hotel's rooftop bar. The next night, it hosted a party for "The Expendables 2," where Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 gathering, where guests previewed games like "Dance Central 3," "Deadlight" and "Halo 4."

Partygoers also played around at Ubisoft's soiree inside a sprawling suite overlooking Petco Park stadium. Celebrants such as "Hart of Dixie" and "Friday Night Lights" star Scott Porter tried out games like "Assassin's Creed III" and "ZombiU" as they nibbled on cheese puff-crusted fish sandwiches.

The stadium itself was home to a massive party Thursday: VH1's "Dawn of the Con," which was open to all Comic-Con pass holders and hosted by rocker Rob Zombie.

The Wired Cafe atop the Omni Hotel held a celebration for TV's "Dexter," where guests sipped "killer cosmos" and "dark defenders" while chowing down on pasta next to a wall-sized portrait of the lovable serial killer and his sister made entirely of different kinds of knives. Yvonne Strahovski, who is guest-starring in the upcoming sixth season, kept court in a corner booth with her former "Chuck" co-star Vik Sahay.

Friday brought another round of networking and partying opportunities, including Creative Arts Agency's joint event with Samsung at the Hard Rock Hotel, which inspired a spontaneous vampire gathering: Alexander Skarsgard and Deborah Ann Woll of "True Blood," and Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder of "The Vampire Diaries" were among the revelers.

The Hard Rock also held events Friday for Warner Bros. Television, "Halo 4" and Spike TV.

Maxim magazine, FX and Fox Home Entertainment took over the rooftop of the nearby Andaz Hotel, recreating Paddy's Pub from the comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Cast members snacked on hot dogs and sliders, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse was engrossed in conversation with a DJ spinning hip-hop.

Saturday's soirees include Entertainment Weekly's annual poolside party, and a Playboy and "True Blood" event that promises to recreate the restaurants and landmarks from the popular HBO show.

Comic-Con continues through Sunday.

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AP Entertainment Writers Derrik J. Lang and Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.

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  • DC Comics' Darkness & Light Art Exhibition

    <strong>When:</strong> Mon., July 9 to Sun., July 15 <strong>Where:</strong> Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts, 363 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101 <strong>Why:</strong> If you're a fan of superheroes and villains, you won't want to miss this one-of-a-kind art show, presented to raise awareness and funds for the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. The unique pairing of comic-inspired art with photography features a large-scale piece of original artwork by Jim Lee, the legendary artist and DC Entertainment co-publisher, featuring the profile of Batman in a color palette inspired by the hues of Africa. <a href="http://www.wecanbeheroes.org/darknessandlight" target="_hplink">More info here.</a>

  • Preview Night Pilot Screenings

    <strong>When:</strong> Wed., July 11 at 6 p.m <strong>Where:</strong> Ballroom 20 <strong>Why:</strong> Warner Bros. continue their annual Preview Night tradition with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of five of the most highly anticipated TV series of the 2012-13 television season: "666 Park Avenue," "Arrow," "The Following," "Revolution" and "Cult."

  • Nerd HQ

    <strong>When:</strong> Thurs., July 12 to Sun., July 15 <strong>Where:</strong> Block No. 16 Union & Spirits, 344 7th Avenue (7th and J), San Diego CA, 92101 <strong>Why:</strong> For the second year running, Zachary Levi's <a href="http://www.thenerdmachine.com" target="_hplink">Nerd Machine</a> presents Nerd HQ, a cornucopia of gaming, technology and nerdtastic "Conversations for a Cause" -- intimate Q&As with some of the industry's biggest stars to benefit <a href="www.operationsmile.org" target="_hplink">Operation Smile</a>. "Conversation" tickets cost $20 and guests include Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Damon Lindelof and the cast of "Psych." <a href="http://www.thenerdmachine.com/conversation-panel-preview/" target="_hplink">More info here.</a>

  • The "Extra" at Comic-Con Stage

    <strong>When:</strong> Thurs., July 12 to Sat., July 14 <strong>Where:</strong> Bayfront Park between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel. <strong>Why:</strong> Free entertainment and a festival atmosphere from noon 'til 10 p.m., including movie screenings of "The Goonies," "Beetlejuice" and the "Friday the 13th" remake; a showcase featuring all six Batmobiles; live performances from The Bacon Brothers, "The Voice's" Tony Lucca and Frenchie Davis; and on-stage interviews with Warner Bros. talent including stars from "The Big Bang Theory," "Childrens Hospital," "Fringe," "Nikita," "Person of Interest," "The Vampire Diaries" and more. <a href="http://comiccon.thewb.com/2012/wbsdccextrastagelineup/" target="_hplink">More info here.</a>

  • The Walking Dead Escape: Live The Apocalypse

    <strong>When:</strong> Thurs., July 12, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Fri., July 13, 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Sat., July 14, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; waves will run every 20 minutes. <strong>Where:</strong> Petco Park in downtown San Diego, CA. <strong>Why:</strong> Do you think you could survive a zombie apocalypse? Now's your chance to prove it as you navigate a ballpark infested with walkers and must climb, crawl, hide and slide your way to safety. "Survivor" tickets cost $75 and participants will receive an Exclusive Special Edition of the 100th Issue of "The Walking Dead." Less daring (but more bloodthirsty) fans can buy spectator tickets for $15. <a href="http://www.thewalkingdeadescape.com/" target="_hplink">More info here.</a>

  • "Nikita" Q&A and Exclusive Video Presentation

    <strong>When:</strong> Thurs., July 12 at 6 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Room 6BCF <strong>Why:</strong> Allow me to be self-serving for a moment, because yours truly is moderating this panel. But aside from representing HuffPost TV, the presentation also features the majority of the show's stellar ensemble cast, with Maggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca, Aaron Stanford and Melinda Clarke joining executive producer Craig Silverstein to spill a few secrets about Season 3.

  • "The Big Bang Theory" Screening and Q&A

    <strong>When:</strong> Fri., July 13 at 12:05 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Hall H <strong>Why:</strong> For the first time ever in Hall H, the mega-popular TV series returns to Comic-Con for a special screening and a lively discussion. Will Howard "Froot Loops" Wolowitz return from space? Where do things stand with Penny and Leonard? And will unscheduled handholding affect "The Relationship Agreement"?

  • "Firefly" 10th Anniversary Reunion Panel

    <strong>When:</strong> Fri., July 13 at 12:30 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Ballroom 20 <strong>Why:</strong> Calling all Browncoats! It's been 10 years since the crew of the Serenity first took flight in "Firefly" and for the first time ever, Science Channel will reunite Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew from the ship. Join Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and many more for a trip down memory lane, some special surprises, and exclusive Science Channel giveaways. SHINY.

  • "Game of Thrones" Panel and Q&A

    <strong>When:</strong> Fri., July 13 at 2:45 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Hall H <strong>Why:</strong> Last year's panel was one of the most buzzworthy of Com-Con and now that the series has graduated to Hall H, it's certain to be even bigger. Cast members attending include Alfie Allen, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden and Rose Leslie, with author George R. R. Martin moderating.

  • EW: "Powerful Women In Pop Culture" Panel

    <strong>When:</strong> Fri., July 13 at 4:15 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Ballroom 20 <strong>Why:</strong> Entertainment Weekly presents the "Powerful Women In Pop Culture" (a.k.a. Women Who Kick Ass!) Q&A. The panel features Kristin Bauer van Straten ("True Blood"), Sarah Wayne Callies ("The Walking Dead"), Kristin Kreuk ("Beauty and the Beast"), Nikki Reed ("Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2"), and Anna Torv ("Fringe"). The fan-favorite females will open up about the power and privilege of playing characters that have redefined the rules for women.

  • TV Guide Magazine: "Fan Favorites" Panel

    <strong>When:</strong> Sat., July 14 at 1 p.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront <strong>Why:</strong> "Fan Favorites" brings together stars from TV's hottest shows for a lively discussion filled with behind-the-scenes scoop. Panelists (subject to change) include Nathan Fillion ("Castle"), David Giuntoli ("Grimm"), Joel McHale ("Community"), Tyler Posey ("Teen Wolf"), Maggie Q ("Nikita"), Matt Smith ("Doctor Who") and more.

  • "Fringe" Panel and Q&A

    <strong>When:</strong> Sun., July 15 at 10 a.m. <strong>Where:</strong> Hall H <strong>Why:</strong> Fringe returns to Comic-Con for its farewell panel to celebrate its fifth and final season. Series stars Anna Torv, Josh Jackson, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole and John Noble, along with executive producer J. H. Wyman, offer a Q&A with fans and an exclusive video presentation. Following the panel is another cult hit, "Supernatural," featuring new showrunner Jeremy Carver, writer Ben Edlund, and cast-members Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver and Mark Sheppard.