10 Tips for Taking on the Esri User Conference

Blog Post created by timothy_hales-esristaff Employee on May 10, 2017

I've been to the Esri User Conference a couple times over the past few years. I am nowhere near being a veteran attendee, but I have compiled my 10 tips for the Esri UC. I hope these tips help make your UC experience a little better!


  1. Bring a good pair of shoes. You will be walking many miles each day. Still not getting in your daily miles? Check out the Esri 5K Fun Run/Walk.
  2. For lunch walk 10-15 minutes out from the convention center. This will help you avoid the crowds and find some really good "hole in the wall" restaurants. My go to for an evening meal is BarleyMash. Can't beat their BarleyMacs! Here is a map of the Gaslamp District:
    Large Map
  3. Don't miss the food trucks between the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and the San Diego Conference Center. They are usually only out there one day.
  4. Buy your GIS themed t-shirts from the Esri Store as soon as they open on Monday. They will sell out fast. They also have a lot of other great swag to take back to your co-works and family. 
  5. Find out where the Esri and vendor sponsored socials are each night. This is a great place to network and get some really good food. Two of my top Esri UC social events are the YPN Social and the Esri DevMeetup. Don't forget to bring a stack of business cards. Especially if you are looking for job, this is a great way to get your name out there.
  6. Follow social media. You can find recaps from the plenary sessions and other daily events (Live Blog: 2016 Esri UC Plenary (Morning Session)). Also keep up with the #esriuc hashtag on Twitter. You can find out about events and giveaways along with useful information about the conference. There will also be some good information shared here (User Conference), so be sure to follow that space on GeoNet.
  7.  Although there are several Starbucks in the conference center, be sure to grab your favorite drink/snack before arriving as the lines can be long there.
  8. Go to the Map Gallery Opening and Evening Reception on Monday. You will see maps from some of the best cartographers and analysts in the world. Plus there usually is some good food.
  9. If your family is traveling with you, be sure to take them to Family Night in the Expo on Wednesday evening. This not only gives you a chance to show them what you do, but many of the vendors breakout some really cool swag for the kids.
  10. Be sure to stop by the Kids Fair. It is ideal for children ages 5-15 and is free and open to everyone. This gives them an opportunity to be hands-on with GIS.


Photo Credits: Esri Flicker