Countdown to Ignite: The One About Rocking Out at the HOB, Craft Beers & Bacon, and the...


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The Countdown Show continues, with Episode 8! Rick and Joey cover the details of remote badge pickup, which is our Hot Tip of the week. They also fill you in on some agenda updates and hopefully inspire you to get on stage with us at Ignite Rocks! They saved the best for last, as they take you to our final four "Best of Chicago" establishments. Beer and bacon, anyone?

Microsoft Ignite agenda
The full Microsoft Ignite agenda has been posted, outlining everything happening from Sunday through Friday. A couple of things to note:

  • Pre-Day Sessions on Sunday are all-day sessions, and can be added to your new or existing registration for $500. This is a great investment, so consider adding a Pre-Day and start your Microsoft Ignite experience on Sunday.
  • You asked for clarification on Friday's agenda. Sessions, Hands-on Labs, and Microsoft Certification testing are available on Friday until 1:45pm, and breakfast and lunch will be served as well. Check the agenda for exact times.

Remote badge pickup!
Beat the crowds and arrive at Ignite with your badge in hand. Take advantage of remote check-in and badge pickup at select Microsoft Ignite hotels, and even at O'Hare International Airport! Remote check-in allows you to avoid the lines at McCormick Place and arrive ready to go on Monday. When you arrive, badge in hand, at McCormick Place, you can head straight to Materials Distribution to pick up your conference bag, then on to the Keynote.

Remote check-in at O'Hare International Airport
If you're flying into Terminals 1 or 3, you can check in at one of 12 stations right at the airport! Pick up your badge before you head for your hotel. O'Hare pick up hours are Saturday, May 2 from 10:00am-8:00pm and Sunday, May 3 from 8:00am-7:00pm.

Remote check-in for Microsoft Ignite
We highly recommend early check-in and will have stations at the following locations so you can pick up your badge early (Saturday, May 2 from 10:00am-8:00pm and Sunday, May 3 from 8:00am-8:00pm). When you arrive at the convention center, you can proceed to Materials Distribution and collect your cool Microsoft Ignite backpack and materials. If you're hotel isn't one of the "select" locations listed, check the "Nearby" hotels to see if your hotel is within walking distance!

  • Microsoft Retail Store (at Shops at Northbridge)
    • Embassy Suites Downtown State Street
    • Hilton Garden Inn Chicago
    • Intercontinental Magnificent Mile
    • Loews Chicago Hotel

  • Hotel Chicago, 4th Floor
    • Courtyard Chicago - River North
    • Hampton Inn Downtown
    • Hyatt Place Chicago
    • Kinzie Hotel
    • Palomar Chicago
    • Renaissance Hotel Chicago
    • Springhill Suites River North
    • Westin River North

  • Hyatt Regency
    • Fairmont Chicago
    • Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
    • Hotel Monaco Chicago
    • Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
    • Swissotel Chicago
    • Virgin Hotel
    • Wyndham Grand Chicago

  • MileNorth
    • Fairfield Inn and Suites Downtown Magnificent Mile
    • Hampton Inn Magnificent Mile
    • Homewood Suites Magnificent Mile
    • Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile
    • Omni Hotel
    • Warwick Allerton Hotel

  • Palmer House
    • Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theatre
    • Hotel Burnham
    • Hyatt The Loop Chicago

  • The Drake
    • Hilton Suites Magnificent Mile
    • Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago
    • Raffaello Hotel
    • Residence Inn Chicago
    • Tremont Chicago Hotel
    • Westin Michigan Avenue
    • Whitehall Hotel

Hot Tip: Don't wait to check in until Monday morning! The crowds will be lined up early at McCormick Place. Check in at the airport or at one of the hotels listed above and arrive prepared and ready to get a great seat at the Keynote!

You asked...What in the world is Ignite Rocks?
Ignite Rocks is where you can take over the stage at House of Blues Chicago and rock the house like you own it. It's ours for the night, and we'll have musical instruments, music, lyrics, and professional musicians standing by to round out the band and keep things rolling. You'll be amazed at the talent of speakers, partners and fellow attendees! Join the band or just hang out and enjoy the show, Monday, May 5, 9:00pm–Midnight.

Keep sharing, asking, and commenting on the Microsoft Ignite Forums, via Twitter #MSIgnite or @MS_Ignite, or in the Comments section below the video. The Forums are a great place to join the conversation around your Ignite Rocks playlist and recruit band-members to rock your favorite song!

The best of Chicago... final four:
If you're still hungry for more places to explore and enjoy in Chicago, we've saved the best for last. Beer, burgers, bacon... a little live music maybe. You'll want to hit all four of these great hangouts.

Paddy Long's [8:09]
Hold on to your seat, because this may rock your world... if you love beer. And bacon. We're serious. Get yourself to Paddy Long's Beer and Bacon Pub where you can sample 5 delicious seasonal beers paired with 5 specialty bacons. Schedule your tasting online via their website, as they book up fast. Of course, you can also choose from a full menu, which includes plenty of options for the bacon lover. Paddy Long's is a traditional Irish neighborhood pub with a great selection of craft beers. Plus, half-pound prime burgers, homemade soups and stews, salads, and sandwiches.

Revolution Brewing [10:30]
Revolution Brewing has a fantastic selection of craft and bourbon barrel aged beers, and a menu to match. The food is awesome—from the bacon fat popcorn to the burgers, to artistic entrees like pan-roasted rainbow trout or mushroom polenta. Everything is made with local farmed meats and produce that arrives fresh daily. They brew about 50 different styles of beer each year, and pride themselves on having the freshest beer in town.

Rockit Bar and Grill [13:32]
If you're looking for a great burger, here's the place. Voted Best Burger by People's Choice Chicago for 2014, the Rockit Bar and Grill is all about their incredible burgers and a huge selection of local and global craft beers, a stellar wine and champagne list, and craft cocktails. The upstairs lounge features lots of TVs to watch the game, pool tables, and a more casual atmosphere. Currently undergoing a huge renovation, Rockit Bar and Grill will reopen this spring with an even more amazing décor, menu and beverage offerings. You'll definitely want to check it out.

Lagunitas Chicago Taproom [15:09]
Founded by aspiring Chicago musician Tony Magee in Petaluma California, then brought home to Chicago, Lagunitas brewing company has become a huge success. Rick and Joey visited their taproom and beer sanctuary to sample their amazing craft brews. They not only make full-production beers, but a great selection of seasonal brews. The Taproom is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am–9:00pm, and features live music every night (music menu is on their website). They offer free tours daily—check their website for times. Hit the store for gifts, beer accessories, cool posters and wearables.

Keep watching the Countdown Show! Next week's episode will feature more news and tips. If you have specific questions (or suggestions), we'd love to hear them, so please share on the Forums at

Microsoft Ignite is May 4–8 in Chicago at McCormick Place. Register today.

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