2018 conference map

Downtown Chicago map

Conference sessions will be held at Columbia College Chicago, in the Film Row Cinema, 8th floor, 1104 S. Wabash, just off South Michigan Avenue in the Loop. The historic Ludington Building is the earliest surviving steel-frame building in Chicago.


CTA's L train is available between downtown Chicago and both O'Hare and Midway airports. Metro stops are indicated on the map with an "M." Trains from O'Hare take about 45 minutes to travel downtown, while Midway trains take about 30 minutes.


LION Publishers has arranged a block of rooms for Oct. 11-13 at the Best Western Grant Park Hotel in Chicago, just a block from the site of the summit, at a special discounted rate of $199 for single and double rooms. Register online here or call the hotel at (312) 922-2900 and mention "LION" to reserve a room. The deadline for obtaining that rate is Sept. 11, but the block of rooms could be filled up by then, so act soon. The group rate will be honored up to three days before and after the conference, for those who wish to spend some extra time in Chicago.

Because of a quirk in the online reservation system, it's difficult to book rooms online for a stretch that includes Wednesday-Saturday nights. It's possible to book Weds/Thurs/Fri and a separate booking for Saturday night, or Weds and Thurs/Fri/Sat. We've asked Best Western to figure out what might be happening, but that's a work-around for the moment. Availability of rooms for Saturday night is limited.

Another block of rooms is available at the Congress Plaza Hotel, four blocks up Michigan Avenue from the Best Western. Rooms there are $179 per night (possibly cheaper via your favorite online booking outlet), but Saturday night is sold out. Reseve online or call 312-427-3800 x 5025 or 800-635-1666.

Also, you can check out other nearby hotels listed on the map above. A Travelodge is just a few blocks up Wabash from the conferences site, but rooms are limited on Saturday night. If you're looking for a fancier hotel than the Best Western, the Loop is filled with them. The Hilton's a couple blocks away, and there are even snazzier ones. Columbia College also maintains a list of recommended hotels, and for those on a very tight budget, there's a hostel within walking distance that can be as low as $40 per night (that's cheaper than a cab ride from the airport). Need a roommate? Use our Roomate Roster list to help find someone to split hotel costs.

Film Row Cinema

All sessions will take place on the 8th floor of 1104 S. Wabash.

The conference will include activities in:

  • Film Row Cinema — 260-seat theatre
  • Lobby & South Lobby
  • Breakout A
  • Breakout B
  • Breakout C

The Ludington Building

The site of the 2018 LION Summit is the historic Ludington Building, the earliest steel-frame building still standing in Chicago.

The building was designed by architect William LeBaron Jenney, who is acknowledged as the "Father of the Skyscraper" due to his developing the fire-proofed metal skeleton-frame system of construction. The structure on South Wasbash, built in 1891, is one of only two remaining loft-style buildings designed by Jenney in Chicago. The eight-story, 177,000-square-foot building was one of the first skycrapers entirely clad in terra-cotta.

The building was remodeled on the interior by Columbia College after the school purchased the structure in 1999. It has a long history in the publishing business — it was commissioned by Mary Ludington Barnes for the American Book Company, owned by her husband, Charles Barnes — and is a fitting site for a gathering of publishers. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Architect and engineer Jenney trained many influential Chicago architects at the turn of the 20th century, including the world-famous Louis Sullivan.

The Ludington Building is an archetype of the Chicago School of design of its period, with a flat roof, cornice and subtle ornamentation, as well as large banks of windows made possible by the steel frame. It "represents one of the high points of its designer... Its purity of form and delicacy of ornamental detail mark it as one of the most significant visual landmarks of the South Loop," according to the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.

The building's frame was built to withstand the enormous weight and vibration of the American Book Company's presses and shipping operations, as well as a intended addition that would have pushed the building to 16 stories in height. From the 1960s until its purchase by the college, it was used as an auto-parts warehouse.