Head up the stairs. You’ll be on the second level. There’s another staircase of similar grandeur which will take you to the third level. There will be signage directing you… you want to head to Hall B1. (Yes, it’s on the Third Floor. B is the Hall, 1 is the hall in front of B2, where the Artist Alley is located.) B1 is the main show floor. Registration is located right up front, the “stockyards” (the queue hall) is to the left, everything else will be front and center.
Once you’ve got your credentials, you’re set to explore!
Remember when you entered the convention center? See the picture to the left? On the left side is the entrance to the Hyatt Hotel (site of the CBR Bar), as well as the coat check. On the right is the main concierge desk. They can answer almost any question! If you head to the right, past that desk, you’ll discover all the stuff on the first level of the South Building. Most importantly, that’s where the hotel shuttles are located. The Grand Ballroom is the IGN Theater. Quidditch is at S103. The Press Office and Programming Office are also located right behind the ballroom. Underneath the two massive escalators which rise to the Third Level (closed) are vending machines. The rest of that huge hallway is mostly empty, so it’s a good place to escape from the crowds. Lots of restrooms as well. Ignore the signs which suggest a path to the panel rooms on the Fourth Floor. The doors are locked when the South Hall is not in use.
Panels? Most of them are located up on the Fourth Floor. Keep walking towards the Lakeside Pavilion (where C2E2 2010 was held) via the Grand Concourse, on your right will be the staircase and escalator to the Fourth Floor.
This is the fourth floor of the North Building (on the left) and the South Building (on the right). There are two bridges over the concourse below. The only staircase/escalator is located near the eastern bridge. If you wander westward to that other bridge, the only safe way down is one of the elevators, which can be crowded. It’s a long walk back to the escalator. Need to figure out the scale? See those little boxes with X’s in them? Those are elevators, and hold about ten people. You can also see the escalators (the Y shaped prongs along the South hallway).
Yup, the hallways along the North Fourth will be crowded. Plan accordingly. It’s also a long walk from the escalator to the end of the South Building hallway.
The South rooms near the west bridge do not seem to be in use during the show. This hallway might be a good place to take a break. There is an elevator here which might not be crowded. It’s a good shortcut to the panels on the North side… probably less crowded and easier to navigate. An even better place to relax? The FIFTH Floor of the South Building, which is directly above the panel rooms. It is uncertain if the escalators will be running, but they can be climbed. Also try the elevators.
Remember Platform 9 3/4? There’s something similar at McCormick. It’s Level 2.5, and exists between the North and South Buildings. It’s the retail mall of the convention center, containing a FedEx Office store (office supplies, photocopying, computer rental), a food court on the far west end, and other shops. You’ll find a vending area there, although the machines might be empty. There are two microwarves there, if you need to heat up something. McDonald’s, one of the few affordable dining options at McCormick is located nearby, on Level Two North, near the Show Office and VIP Lounge. More detailed options are found here, although some might not be open if there is no traffic nearby. The Starbucks is located right next to the show floor.
Know any secrets or techniques? Please share below!