Discover Chicago! Make the Most of the Industrial Laser Conference and the International Manufacturing Technology Show

LIA’s first-ever Industrial Laser Conference takes place September 13, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois at the International Manufacturing Technology Show – and we want you to make the most out of your trip!

Before heading out to the conference, review our complete guide to points of interest, events, and locations worth checking out in The Windy City – and prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime!

Discover Chicago with LIA at Industrial Laser Conference

The inaugural year of LIA’s Industrial Laser Conference is a can’t-miss event, as it will set the standard for subsequent conferences in the years to come! The exciting part? You, laser professional, will have a hand in it.

Future-forward industrial laser applications such as additive manufacturing, welding, and marking will be covered throughout the event, and four educational sessions led by notable laser professionals will provide everything you need to know to get started with lasers – or advance your shop’s current laser endeavors.

What’s more, the International Manufacturing Technology Show, considered one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, will be at your feet. Focusing on manufacturing technology, over 2,000 companies are projected to exhibit state of the art tools, computers, systems, and processes at the event. LIA members and manufacturing experts will have particular interest in the Fabricating/Laser/Additive Manufacturing pavilion. Take advantage of all of these resources from September 12-17.

industrial laser conference

Exploring Chicago

After a long day of learning, exploring, and networking, some attendees may want to get out and explore the city – and we encourage it! After all, we think that’s one of the added benefits of attending a conference or tradeshow. Here are some of our picks for food, drinks, transportation, and entertainment:


Chicago is world renowned for its deep dish pizza – and those looking to find out what all the buzz is about might find themselves drawn to Lou Malnati’s, one of Serious Eats’ recommendations for traditional deep dish pizza, just down the street from McCormick Place.

chicago deep dish pizza
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza is a can’t miss while at the Industrial Laser Conference and IMTS.

If you have time to catch a game, or want to relax, The Anthem may seem like a traditional sports bar in appearance and atmosphere, but a closer look at their menu reveals some surprisingly healthy options. If you or someone in your party has dietary restrictions, this might be a perfect choice to grab a bite after the conference. After all, where else can one find jumbo chicken wings, hummus plates (with gluten-free pita!) and Veggie sliders on the same menu?

Those seeking a fine dining experience may find themselves drawn to Acadia. Described as “contemporary American cuisine,” Acadia features five and 10-course tastings, which change seasonally. Reservations are required, and will likely fill up as IMTS draws near. You’ll be hard- pressed to find a poor review of Acadia, with many critics raving about its selections. Make a reservation with your fellow attendees today!


In some instances, attendees may want to have a drink or two with new colleagues or acquaintances they met at the conference. Others may just want to unwind! Chicago has no shortage of watering holes and breweries to wet your whistle after the conference.

IMTS recommends Motor Row Brewing as a stopping point on your visit to the Chicago area. Offering a wide array of craft brews, Motor Row Brewing lives up to its namesake maintaining a warehouse-esque atmosphere harkening back to Chicago’s 20th-century status as an automobile industry haven. While the establishment does not serve food, they do encourage guests to bring their own or even order delivery from a number of local eateries! Motor Row Brewing is ideal for a small group. Tours of the facility are also available, for those interested in the brewing process.

chicago downtown nightlife
Discover Chicago near McCormick Place.

Vice District Brewing is another notable stop for craft beer selections. Founded by two neighbors with a passion for brewing (and consuming!) unique beers, Vice District Brewing tries to capture the spirit of a neighborhood gathering. Traveling professionals might want to take advantage of the outlets spread throughout the taproom, making it easy to get work done, while still enjoying some of what Chicago has to offer. Vice is only a few blocks away from McCormick Place, making it very easy to access after the conference.


If you plan on spending multiple days in Chicago, take advantage of some sightseeing and attractions in the area. Grant Park is home to a number of Chicago’s most well-known destinations such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium.

The Navy Pier is a top rated tourist destination for the region. Formerly a Navy training facility, the area is now used as a recreational, leisurely, and social space. Featuring an IMAX theater, nightly fireworks, and significant shopping destinations, you’ll need more than a single day to explore everything the pier has to offer.

Learn even more about the Industrial Laser Conference! Be sure to check out Why was the Industrial Laser Conference Created? Post on the Lasers Today blog, the premier industry blog for laser experts, professionals, and enthusiasts – and tell your colleagues and classmates.

Last, but certainly not least – don’t forget that the Industrial Laser Conference is less than a month away! If you’re attending the International Manufacturing Technology Show, and would like to register, click here.

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