Within the Marriott
Need something to eat (or drink) without leaving the hotel? The lobby level has a Starbucks, casual restaurant (Latitude 33), sports bar & grill (Champions Sports Bar), and steakhouse (JW’s Steakhouse). Expect long lines during meal times, and long lines for Starbucks… all the time. (The lobby Starbucks is not open in the evenings.) If you’re in the mood for an expensive steak, you can make a reservation (online or call 310-641-5700).
For lunches on Friday and Saturday, the Nethersphere Cafe (the snack bar, formerly Cafe Trenzalore) serves sandwiches, salads, and snacks on the lower level, across from the Dealer’s Room.
For some free snacks & drinks, hit up the con suite aka hospitality suite (first floor, poolside: from the lower/convention level, take the elevator up one floor). Yes, free! (Although there’s a spot for donations if you’re so inclined.)
Outside the Marriott
Century Blvd. has a fair number of fast food joints, including Subway, Carl’s Jr, McDonald’s, and Denny’s. Head north on Airport Blvd. to find Burger King. Denny’s is about the closest you’ll get to a full-service restaurant in the area (outside of a neighboring hotel); you’re right on top of the airport, so there isn’t much to pick from. If you’ve got a car, you can drive to Venice or Manhattan Beach for better selection.
Many attendees also pop over to nearby hotels and make use of their restaurants or quick-service cafes.
A whole bunch of really good local restaurants opened up satellite locations in the recently renovated international terminal at LAX – but they’re past the TSA checkpoint. Cue the sad trombone.
Encounter, the alien-themed restaurant on LAX grounds, closed in January 2014. (The observation deck is still open from 8am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays.)
Many nearby grocery stores have salad bars, pre-packaged sushi, and hot sandwiches & other meals at the deli. Unfortunately, even the closest supermarkets are over a mile away – see if you can bum a ride, or try hitting up Uber or Lyft.
- Ralphs (closest thing to walking distance): 8824 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
- Vons: 6571 W. 80Th St., Los Angeles, CA 90045
- Whole Foods: 760 South Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo, California 90245
Gally was party central in 2015, and no good host would dare throw a dry party!
Since technically the con doesn’t sell any alcohol (the hotel handles alcohol sales), evening events at Gally aren’t restricted to 21+ guests. There are several cash bars available on both main levels of the hotel.
One event held on Friday night – the cocktail party hosted by the Torchwood Four Cabal in their first floor poolside suite – has a donation based bar, but it is also open to attendees under 21. This party is free and open to everyone, but everyone still needs to bring ID! (In the past, they’ve offered some nice glass-bottled sodas for the teetotalers and underage folks in the crowd.)
Yes, there is water available outside the programming rooms and in the con suite. Cups are provided, but it’s just easier if you bring a water bottle to refill.
On the lower level is the Cosplay and Photo Hallway, which is both a place to display your cosplay and place to get yourself together. There are backdrops available for photos and, if volunteers are available, a legit photo studio (free; sign up in advance and bring a USB flash drive). One of the Cosplay Hall’s best feature are the volunteers who can help you repair your busted button or ripped hem. Of course, it’s also a great place to watch for some amazing costumes.
2014 introduced a second cosplay photo area dubbed the Red Carpet Zone, located at the entrance to the Program C/D/E hallway.
Badge ribbons at Gally are a big deal! There’s a page on the official site explaining the basics, but know that they’re neither required nor necessary.
If you’ve never been to a con with badge ribbons, they attach to the bottom of your badge (and then to the top of other ribbons) with a strip of adhesive at the top and are printed with various phrases or art. Of course, most people end up with more than one – some people collect or trade enough to make a whole skirt or scarf. (Editor’s note: I didn’t have any to trade or hand out in 2013 and ended up with about 10 or so on my badge.) Occasionally the con prints up a ribbon for attendees, but generally they are printed by the attendees themselves and then given away for free or traded with other attendees for different ribbons.
There is some unofficial ribbon etiquette – more details are on the Gally site at the link above, but the basic idea is:
1. It’s rude to ask someone out of the blue for a ribbon.
2. It’s definitely rude to sell your ribbon(s), and could potentially get you kicked out.
3. It’s okay to ask someone to trade ribbons, or to deny someone one of your ribbons.
What to do when you start collecting a large number of ribbons? The simplest route is to create one long chain, although if it gets too long you will have to pick it up (or roll it up) to be able to walk. You can wear it like a scarf or connect it end-to-end and wear it as a sash. Some create several layers of ribbons. Others bring extra name badge to hang additional ribbons on. And occasionally you see someone clever make their collection into a skirt. You can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it’s not a safety hazard.
Whatever you choose, remember that the adhesive on the ribbons isn’t designed to hold the weight of a 30 foot ribbon chain. Many people bring a roll of duct tape or packing tape and run a long strip down the back. Some like to sew their ribbons together; if you don’t have a sewing machine, the fine folks at costume repair (in the Cosplay & Photo Hallway) will let you use theirs ($1 donation to the Costume College scholarship fund).
If you want to participate in the ribbon scene, you should order your own ribbons to share. What to put on them? Any kind of quote, joke, phrase, picture, clipart, drawing, etc. Usually Doctor Who related, but not even that’s required. It’s fine to repeat a phrase (how many times do you think “Allons-y” has been put on a ribbon?!) as long as you’re okay knowing you weren’t the first. Just remember that a lot of children attend Gally and the whole point of badge ribbons is to put them on display, so try to keep it relatively clean.
Where to get your ribbons? Gally’s site refers visitors to Chaz Boston Baden (of Anime Los Angeles), and many attendees like to order through him. Among those who don’t, the preferred companies are Ribbons Galore, PCNametag, and Marco Promotional Products. Many people generally order between 100-250 ribbons, but if your ribbon has the date or year printed on them you might consider a smaller order.
There is an ATM within the hotel, but it has reportedly run out of cash during previous years due to popularity. It’s always best to bring cash with you to a con.
Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, and US Bank all have ATMs within a mile of the hotel. Or, try any of the nearby hotels – many of them have ATMs in their lobbies.
The Marriott does offer free WiFi in the lobby & on the lower lever, but like most conventions, it’s usually so slammed you can’t even hope to connect to it.
If you are staying in the Marriott or the Renaissance with the group rate, free WiFi is included (it’s not always the fastest, of course).
And the lack of WiFi is even more annoying when you realize…
…that in the past there’s been a complete lack of cell service! Well, maybe not complete, but pretty close. Though the hotel has made efforts to improve the problem, including upgrading the repeaters installed in the ground floor in late 2013, cell service continues to be spotty at best and nonexistent at worst.
GallyHelp has done an informal survey and theorized that T-Mobile and AT&T users have better luck with the black hole that is the lower level of the Marriott. Verizon and Sprint customers have, in the past, needed to step outside to be able to use their phones as pretty much anything other than a flashlight (we speak from experience).
Service from the lower level patio directly outside the lower convention level doors is usually fine.
In years past, Gally hasn’t had any true charging stations available. However, there are plenty of outlets to be had on the lower level as well as several charging spots in the lobby that the hotel provides.Back to Top