Home Annual Meeting 2012 Annual Meeting News Annual Meetings Fact Sheet

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Plan Your Day

Whether you are riding the hotel shuttle or arriving at the McCormick Place Convention Center through your own transportation, plan on staying the entire day. All AAR and SBL daytime sessions (until 6:30 PM) are going to be held in the McCormick Place Convention Center or in the Hyatt McCormick Place Hotel. Anything you might possibly need throughout the day should be brought with you. We will have a coat and bag check at the McCormick Place in the West Building. Coats can be checked for $3 and bags for $4.

Plan Your Evening

While all day sessions (until 6:30 PM) will be held at McCormick Place, all evening sessions and receptions will be held in one of our downtown properties — the Hilton Chicago and Towers Hotel or the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. If you plan on attending a session until 6:30 PM and need to arrive downtown at 7 PM, there might not be enough time to make the start of your event.

Wear Your Walking Shoes

For those of you who will be riding the hotel shuttle, you will most likely have to walk from your hotel entrance to a shuttle stop that could be a few blocks away. Once you arrive at McCormick Place, plan on getting a work out! The Convention Center comprises four state-of-the-art buildings: the North and South Buildings, the West Building, and the Lakeside Center. These buildings have a combined total of 2.6 million square feet of space, 1.2 million square feet of which are all on one level, making it the nation’s largest convention center. Most AAR and SBL sessions will be in the West Building, where Registration and the Exhibit Hall are located, but others will be in the Lakeside Center and the North and South Buildings.

Ride the Hotel Shuttle

The AAR and SBL have made arrangements for those who are staying in our hotel block to have continuous service to the McCormick Place Convention Center. We will have multiple shuttles running from a location near your hotel to take you to all the sites where the sessions are being held. Please note that if we do not have record of your hotel reservation by October 24, you will not be issued a shuttle pass. For those who are not staying in one of our conference hotels, but would like to purchase a shuttle pass, the option is available for an additional $25 during Annual Meetings registration. Please note that transportation could take up to 45 minutes, so it is imperative that you allow enough time to arrive at your destination.

Getting to McCormick Place (on your own)

Public Transportation to McCormick Place:

Bus Services

Getting to McCormick Place is possible by using the city transit system. The Chicago Transit Authority provides the following bus service and runs approximately every 15 minutes. Drop-off is located at the main entrance to the South Building on Martin Luther King Drive. A one-way fare is $2.25. More information can be found here. From Downtown Chicago: The #3 King Drive bus runs downtown from morning to midnight daily. McCormick Place stops are at the following locations:

  • South Building — King Drive and 23rd Street
  • West Building — southwest and northeast corners of Indiana Avenue and Cermak Road intersection

METRA (Transit Train System)

Located on Level 2.5 of the Grand Concourse in the South Building, the METRA commuter railroad provides direct service within seven minutes to and from downtown Chicago. Service from the Randolph Station (nearby the Fairmont Hotel) to McCormick Place begins early morning, with more frequent pick-ups during rush hours. A one-way fare from downtown to McCormick Place is $2.75. More information can be found here.

Parking at McCormick Place:

Lot C is an underground garage and is located on Ft. Dearborn Drive, adjacent to the Lakeside Center. The parking rate is a flat fee of $19 per day with no in-and-out privileges. This parking lot is open throughout event hours. Overnight parking is not available.

Lot B (also known as the 31st Street Lot) is an outdoor surface parking lot located at 31st Street near Lake Shore Drive South and Moe Drive. The parking rate is a flat fee of $14 per day with no in-and-out privileges. This parking lot is open throughout event hours. Overnight parking is not available.

Lot A is a six-level garage and is located on Martin Luther King Drive, adjacent to the West Building. There are covered walkways from Lot A leading directly into McCormick Place and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel. The parking rate is $19 for up to 16 hours and $30 from 16 to 24 hours. There are no in-and-out privileges. Overnight parking is available in Lot A only. Lost tickets will pay the $30 (overnight) fee per day.

Parking fees can be paid by cash or credit card — VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. More information can be found here.


Taxis will be available at specified gates at the McCormick Place. Facility direction signs and personnel at the Concierge Desk will direct you to gates that are designated. An average fare for one person to downtown is $11, plus tax and gratuity. A more accurate price estimate can be found here.

Stay Connected

We are proud to offer complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the entire McCormick Place Convention Center. Whether you’re hooking up your laptop for a presentation or utilizing your smart phone to download the mobile app (coming soon!), all attendees will have access in the entire Convention Center. As always, a free Cyber Café will be available in the exhibit hall for those who do not have smartphones, tablets, or laptops with them.

Annual Meeting Publications

Program Book

Program Books will be mailed to those that have registered by September 15. They are an all-inclusive guide to the Annual Meetings and will contain all AAR, SBL, and Additional Meetings sessions requested by August 17, and will include room numbers. If you do not register for the Annual Meetings by September 15, you will not receive a Program Book in the mail. Program Books will only be available onsite for those who registered after September 15.


The Program Book will be posted online in late summer, so be sure to check the AAR website then. As always, please visit www.aarweb.org for the most current information.


All attendees will receive the At-a-Glance onsite. This booklet will contain updated session and room information for those sessions that have changed. It will also contain Additional Meetings that were requested between August 18 and September 28.

Mobile App

We are proud to announce that after such a successful preliminary year in San Francisco, we will have the Mobile Application once again! Both the Android and iPhone versions will be available. Look for more information in late summer.

Stay Safe

The McCormick Place Convention Center is located between the Near South and Bronzeville neighborhoods of Chicago. Since the building of McCormick Place, the city of Chicago has taken great measures to making it a safer place for conference attendees to inhabit. However, the convention bureau strongly stresses that members should not walk through those neighborhoods to hotels downtown. McCormick Place Security personnel monitor the facility’s public areas, parking lots, and perimeters continuously; and with the AAR and SBL, they are committed to making your Annual Meetings experience a worry-free and enjoyable one. However, those that choose to walk off the McCormick Place campus and around the neighborhood should use safety precautions. We recommend taking off your name badge as soon as you leave the McCormick Place campus. Another way to reduce your risk is to not go out alone. Most importantly, attendees should be cautious of their surroundings at all times. Together with your cooperation, we will make this a fantastic Annual Meetings experience, and we hope you enjoy all that the city of Chicago has to offer!


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