Known for its stunning architecture and beautiful skyline near the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the perfect backdrop for Salesforce's newest event for digital marketing, commerce, and customer service professionals, Connections 2018. If you're planning to attend, this is your "local-approved" guide to all things Chicago. Because, as Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Norman Mailer wrote, “Chicago is the great American city.”
There’s no shortage of restaurants, museums, sporting events, and more in Chicago. Like a patch quilt, 77 different neighborhoods are stitched together to make Chicago an eclectic hub of activity. Although we have always had customers and employees across Chicagoland, it wasn't until Salesforce opened our River North location in 2012 that Chicago became a strategic hub for the company. In fact, our presence in Chicago now exceeds more than 1,400 employees. This makes Chicago one of the largest Salesforce hubs outside of our San Francisco headquarters.
As the leader of our B2C Commercial Business, I am thrilled to have our premier event for marketers hosted in Chicago. The opportunity to interact with Trailblazers, learn from customers, and share our vision is incredibly exciting. Most importantly, we want everyone at Connections 2018 to have a great experience.
Whether you’re planning your day or looking for a break from the Connections 2018 action, these recommendations from other members of our Chicago Salesforce Ohana will lead you to local hotspots.
I recommend breakfast at City Mouse in the Ace Hotel, or for folks on the go, grab a sub at J.P. Graziano Grocery — both in the West Loop. For coffee, visit Intelligentsia or the lobby of the Chicago Athletic Association near Millennium Park. After coffee, check out the modern wing at the Art Institute of Chicago (better than MoMA, but I'm biased). For happy hour, check out the Up Room in the newly renovated Robey Hotel. Get there early to enjoy the sunset. For dinner, stay in the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood. Presidio and Mindy's Hot Chocolate are both local favorites.
John Magpantay (@johnmagpantay) – Product Marketing Manager
My favorite activities include people-watching in Millennium Park and strolling along the Chicago Riverwalk. Be sure to check out rooftop bars and outdoor eateries, such as Cindy's Rooftop Restaurant at the Chicago Athletic Association, The J. Parker next to Lincoln Park, and Big Star in Wicker Park.
Jill Adams (@jilla1214) – Product Director
For a unique and authentic Chicago experience, head to the West Loop neighborhood. Celebrity chefs such as Stephanie Izard, Grant Achatz, and Fabio Viviani have restaurants in this energetic neighborhood. Enjoy sushi at Momotaro and Sushi Dokku or Italian fare at Monteverde. For lively and casual options, head to the amazing outdoor space at Parlor or the decades of arcade games and diverse beverage menu at Emporium. No matter which establishment you visit in the West Loop, it will not disappoint.
Leonna Mote (@leonnamote) – Senior Manager, Solution Engineering
My recommendation for sightseeing in the beautiful city of Chicago would be to take the Architecture Foundation River Cruise — it never disappoints. With a full bar on board, it's a great way to learn about the history of Chicago while enjoying a cocktail. For lunch, find a patio seat at River Roast, Chicago Cut, or City Winery at the Chicago Riverwalk. Steak 48 has one of the best dinners in the city. Finally, for a gorgeous view of the entire city, grab a drink at the Signature Room.
Cora Miller – Account Executive
For a less pricey — but equally scenic — river cruise, take the Chicago Water Taxi from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown. Grab bubble tea and dumplings before heading to Museum Campus via the Red Line. The Field Museum houses such an amazing collection of natural history artifacts, and it’s close to the lake to take in the view. I recommend venturing out of the loop for dinner. Beatnik is an enchanting spot in Noble Square with tasty bites and drinks. Randolph Street in West Town is Chicago's own restaurant row. Girl and the Goat, Au Cheval, and The Publican are all great choices — and reservations are a good idea.
Maggee Bond – Innovation Executive
Grab a bike at any Divvy station, Chicago's bike-share program, and enjoy a beautiful summer ride along the 18-mile Lakefront Trail. There are seasonal restaurants that pop up along the trail (Oak Street Beach) if you want to dock the bike and have any sips or snacks. On the way home from McCormick Place, enjoy a walk through Grant Park with the professionally landscaped gardens, and be sure to see the Rose Garden.
Jeannine Ouellette – Senior Principal Renewal Manager
Should a gap in your agenda pop up, these helpful tips from Salesforce Chicago team members will keep you busy. With three amazing days of expo, sessions, and keynote addresses right around the corner, take a minute to determine the best route to the McCormick Place from your hotel.
Getting to and from the convention center is easy. Located just south of downtown, McCormick Place offers day parking and is also accessible via the Metra Electric rail line or Chicago Transit Authority bus #3 from downtown.
To stay up to date with any changes in the schedule, sessions, or expo, or to register for Connections 2018, click here.