Countdown to Ignite Ep. 3: The One About Getting Certified and Not-To-Miss Places in Chicago

Countdown to Ignite Episode 3Another week has passed and that means it’s time for the next Countdown to Ignite show with Rick Claus and Joey Snow. Here’s my rundown of what Rick and Joey cover this week, but head over to the Ignite blog for the video and full blog post.

This week the guys continue their tour of Chicago with a focus on things to do and see while you’re in town for Ignite. Before we get to the fun stuff, however, time for something serious with a quick discussion of the opportunity for certification testing on site at Ignite. Not only will tests be available at 50% off the normal price, but all the resources you need to prepare for your test are avaioable as well.

The most important thing if you’re considering taking tests in Chicago, pre-register for your exams online. Testing slots will go quick, so you want to make sure you reserve your preferred slot in advance. Go to and use promo code IgniteNA to receive the discounted rate for attendees.

If you need to do some lat minute prep before your exam (you did study, right?) check out the Study Hal at Certification Central as well as the interactive Exam Prep Sessions. The Study Hall is a quiet place to study or see if you’re ready by taking a practice test. The Exam Prep Sessions are led by Microsoft Certified Trainers who take the group through exam objectives and offer up their tips for test taking. Keep an eye on the session catalog for topics which are coming soon. For more info about what’s available, check out the Countdown to Ignite blog post.

Work is done, so now it’s time to hit the streets in Chicago and see some sights. Rick and Joey take us on a tour of these places:

  • The Magnificent Mile – Do you like to shop? Head here for 13 blocks of shopping, restaurants, and more. If you can’t find something among the more than 460 stores, then you’re not trying very hard.Website:
    Twitter: @TheMagMile
  • Art Institute of Chicago – I’m with Joey on this one. Art is not something I’m normally all that excited about, but the Art Institute is one of my favorite places in Chicago. It’s an amazing place with some of the most iconic works of art anywhere: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. The latter is my favorite, and one you may recall from FerrisBueller’s Day Off (as recreated in today’s show by Rick, Joey, andGolnaz. Love the vest, Joey!). The Art Institute expanded in 2009 with a huge new Modern Wing. It’s a spectacular place, and one I stronglyencourage you to visit while you’re in Chicago. They are only open until 5 PM (except on Thursdays when they are open until 8), so you’ll need to see this on the weekend before or the weekend after Ignite.Website:
    Twitter: @artinstitutechi
  • River Architecture Tour – Get a different look at the architecture of Chicago by taking a tour on Chicago’s First Lady fleet of boats. The tour highlights more than 50 architecturally significant buildings with guides from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. I’ve never taken this tour myself, but it’s definitely on my list of thing to do in Chicago.Website:
    Twitter: @CFLCruises
  • 360 Chicago – The views from the John Hancock Building have always been incredible, although it’s hard not to be when you’re 1,000 feet up in the air over a city like Chicago. It gets even better though with 360 Chicago. Similar to theSkydeck at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) which lets you stand on a glass balcony that extends four feet out from the 103rd floor, 360 Chicago gives you a similar view. The difference here is that they actually tip you out at a 30 degree angle over the city. It’s a strange feeling, but what a view. We did this as a group during one of our evening events at the Roundtable in December.Website:
    Twitter: @360chiviews

So there’s just a small taste of some of the things to do in Chicago. Excited yet? The only downside of being in a city like Chicago for Ignite is that there’s only so much time to do things outside of the conference. Consider extending your stay a few days or arrive early to make time to enjoy this iconic city.

You can watch the show over on Channel 9, but why not just watch it here?

If you haven’t registered yet, head over to the Ignite website and register now. Hotels are going fast, so don’t delay. You can check out my post with showing hotel availability (as of February 5).

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