Where to Hang Out at SolidWorks World 2013

Every year thousands of SolidWorks users make the trek to SolidWorks World with schedules tucked in pockets or stored electronically in smartphones or tablets.  Many (most) of them will also receive a pre-printed card when they arrive so they know which breakout sessions they chose to attend.  And everyone will see the signs pointing to meals, general sessions, the special event, and other planned conference functions.

But what about the rest of the time…..

Despite what you’ve heard, and depending on your arrival and departure times, there is some down time at SolidWorks World. Not much…but some.  A lot of attendees plan a family vacation around SolidWorks World, others adventure out to see the local sites.  But there are a good number of people that are “stuck” at the resort, and for those folks here are a few ideas.

Arriving Saturday?
A lot of folks will be arriving on Saturday, but there isn’t much going on in terms of conference activities.  Saturday is a good day to get a feel for the conference center and the resort grounds.  The Swan and Dolphin is two hotels – breakout sessions and meetings will be held in both.

Arriving Sunday?
Most attendees will arrive on Sunday, and there are a multitude of conference activities.  The CAD Managers Boot Camp, CSWP exams, and UX testing.

But the real action is in the registration area. Hundreds of attendees will flow through the lines picking up their badges, schedules, and swag. This is one of my favorite conference days, and I gladly sign up for “registration duty” every year.  You can call me the “unofficial greeter” and I will be there all day to help you get registered and introduce you to some of the other attendees.

NOTE: In previous years, UX testing was an invitation only event.  It still is, but I saw this the other day:

Looks like an invitation to me.

Monday thru Wednesday
You’ll be very busy once Monday morning rolls around, but there are a couple of places to hang out during the day if you find yourself with some free time.  Start with breakfast at 7:00am and you’ve got a full hour and a half to eat and meet.  You may want to cut breakfast a little short and head over to the doors of the general session.  There you will find hundreds of excited attendees, a bunch of user group leaders, and Anne Yust.

Notice all of the smiles?

Don’t forget the Partner Pavilion (it opens each day at 11:30am), and while you’re there, stop by the SWUGN kiosk and meet some of the SolidWorks User Group leaders.

Lunch offers the same opportunities as breakfast.  After you’ve eaten, walk around the room a little and look up old friends or introduce yourself to new ones.

Leaving Thursday?
If you follow the advice of veteran SolidWorks World attendees, you’ve planned to stay through Wednesday night.  The conference officially ends at 3:45pm, but the Wednesday evening fun is just beginning.  This is the night that people finally get a chance to cut loose a little.  It might be a couple of adult beverages in the lounge, or even a fancy dinner with a crowd.  There’s also a rumor floating around about a poker game.  If you”re on your own, check the lounges, check the restaurants, check the lobby – there’s a really good chance you’ll find a crowd of SolidWorks enthusiasts winding down after a long week.  And by winding down, I mean laughing, yelling, back slapping, and generally having a really good time.

That’s where I want to be.


Richard Doyle
My official title is Senior User Advocacy & SolidWorks User Groups - but most people just call me "The User Group Guy". I've been a SolidWorks user since 1997, and was one of the founding members of the SWUGN Committee. Since starting the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group in 1999, my career path has led me to DS SolidWorks and a dream job supporting the SolidWorks User Group Network worldwide.
Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle