last updated January 5, 2014

Never been to Chicago TARDIS before? Don’t know what to do or what to expect? We’re here to help! Advice and assistance available immediately. Click a topic to read up on things.

Before the Convention

At the Convention

After The Convention


The easiest way to register for Chicago TARDIS is via our webstore. As of this writing, tickets aren’t quite on sale yet. Print out your receipt and bring it with you to the convention– we don’t mail out badges, so you will need your receipt (or a photo I.D.) to pick up your badge.

You can make a reservation to stay in the convention hotel, which will allow you to stay longer at the convention in the evenings and experience more of the comeraderie. A link to the reservation information will be provided here once we get it from the hotel (probably February).

Travel Information

Travel information can be found on our hotel page.

Picking Up Badges

Traditionally, people who have bought memberships in advance have been able to pick-up their badges on Thursday night (a.k.a. Thanksgiving night) from 6-9 p.m. Weekend (3-day) general admission memberships and 1-day memberships traditionally become available Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Chicago TARDIS Fire Up! — The Newbie Orientation

Fire Up! starts off Chicago TARDIS with a bang. (Not a literal one, of course.) The very first panel on Friday and Saturday, Fire Up! introduces you to all the weekend events, tells you everything you need to know, and answers all your questions… and offers up games and prizes, too! Be in Main Programming (Grand Ballroom E-F) Friday at 10 a.m. or Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (We won’t be checking badges for this panel, so you can come to the panel even if you haven’t gotten your badge yet.)

(Where does the phrase “Fire Up!” come from? From the Northwestern University Wildcats Marching Band. Go ‘Cats!)


Programming– discussion panels, presentations, and Question/Answer sessions with our actor guests– run throughout the day, generally 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Opening Ceremonies– where we welcome members to the convention and formally introduce all our convention guests– takes place Friday at 6 p.m. Closing Ceremonies– where we say goodbye formally to our guests and members, and make any preliminary announcements about the following year– takes place Sunday at 5 p.m. In any given daytime hour, you will have three panels and at least one photograph or autograph session to choose from.

Evening Events

Friday and Saturday evening, we have special entertainment– a social, a costume cavalcade, an open mic night, a trivia contest, and other events on Friday, and the Masquerade, Mysterious Theatre 337 and Britrock Cyberkaraoke Party on Saturday night. Plus, many groups have room parties both nights, and plenty of people hang out in the hotel lobby and bar (this gathering is usually referred to as “Lobbycon.”)

Autograph and Photographs

Here’s the deal in a nutshell: autograph sessions held in the dealers’ room are free; autograph sessions held in the main photograph/autograph room cost. The convention charges these fees in order to help pay for the convention itself. (The fees will be announced in the fall.)

Read up fully on our autograph and photograph procedures on our autograph/photograph page.

Social Media Coverage

Chicago TARDIS posts photos throughout the weekend on our Facebook page. We also post schedule changes to Facebook and Twitter, and schedule reminders to Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @chicagotardis, and the official convention hashtag is #chicagotardis. Feel free to tag yourself in Facebook photos, to post comments on our Facebook wall,  or to tweet at us all weekend long.

Food and Drink

The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center has two restaurants: a seafood place called Holy Mackerel, and a steakhouse/bar called Harry Carey’s. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel is located in an outlot of a regional mall, Yorktown Center. Yorktown has a food court, plus a large selection of restaurants both in the mall itself and in outlots surrounding the hotel. Best of all, the hotel shuttle will take you to them!

Also, Target lies just across the parking lot for your snacking needs.


You may have seen mention of fellow fans planning to pass out ribbons at the convention. You may have also noticed that Chicago TARDIS itself is offering up a ribbon for those who bring in donations to our food drive.  What kind of ribbon is everyone talking about? Ribbons that attach to your convention badge! It’s a fun tradition at many SF and media cons. These ribbons can advertise clubs/podcasts/blogs/other conventions etc., or just have sayings on them such as “Bowties are cool,” “Hello, Sweetie,” “Would you like a jelly baby?” etc. Sometimes you have to do something to get a ribbon, sometimes you have to trade for a ribbon, sometimes you get handed a ribbon just because.


Do convention members dress up? Absolutely! Whether it’s a t-shirt and fez, or full blown Doctor costume, many fans will be getting their Whovian gear on! Don’t be shy– join in!


If you have a full-sized Dalek, please do not bring it to the convention. We have only limited space for our pepperpot friends, and that space has already been reserved. If you want to get in on the registration process for bringing your Dalek next year, let us know! If you bring your Dalek without permission, we will require you remove it from the convention function space.

Pix and Reviews Online

After the convention, Chicago TARDIS welcomes links to photo albums and reviews posted to our Facebook wall, or tweeted to our attention. We try to repost as many links as possible.

Sign Up For Next Year!

If you enjoyed yourself at Chicago TARDIS, why not come back next year? Registration information for the next convention usually can be found at the current convention itself, and goes online a week or two after the event.

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