While the Chicago Hilton is an ADA accessible building, access does not always mean easy.  Like many older buildings, accessible arrangements are not always part of the original design and can be challenging to navigate. We hope the below information will help everyone get around more efficiently, especially those who need access to a ramp, elevator or lift to move between levels.

While the hotel’s main elevator bank goes to all floors, our keynote room (International Ballroom) must be accessed via escalator, stairs or ADA elevator on the Lobby Level near Continental. The accessible elevator has limited capacity, so please use the escalators or stairs if you are able.

You’ll find directional signage throughout the venue to assist with navigation, but we also encourage you to review the maps of each level that are in our event app.

A quick overview of what is happening on each floor:

  • Lower Level: Registration, Town Square, panel and caucus rooms (Salons A, B, C)
  • Lobby Level: More panels and screenings (Continental A, B, C and Buckingham)
  • 2nd Floor: Keynotes (International Ballroom), must be accessed from Lobby Level near Continental
  • 3rd Floor: Training rooms (Waldorf, Astoria, Williford A/B/C, PDR)

When you arrive at the Hilton Chicago: The only ADA entrance to the hotel is the valet entrance in the East Balbo Drive Porte-Cochère. The entrances on Michigan Avenue and 8th Street have no stairs, but the doors open manually.

Click here for more detailed venue information, including the best ways to access each space.

Need Assistance?
If you need assistance throughout the conference, look for a volunteer in a turquoise shirt or text the staff at ‪(415) 737-6389‬.

The Hilton also has a complimentary escort service to help people in wheelchairs find their way. If you need this service, please contact and we”ll ask an escort to be ready.

There are also house phones at the Hilton in all meeting and public spaces. If you dial 0, the 24/7 operator will transfer you to security to arrange a wheelchair escort to take you where you need to go.

We will have four mobility scooters available for attendees to share, and you’ll be able to pick them up at the registration desk. We won’t charge you for this. But we’ll limit you to 2 hours at a time (and ask you to re-charge them, if they run low on battery).

If you need your own dedicated scooter, please arrange for your own rental. If you rent from Scootaround, which has provided us a promo code for a 10% discount off the $170 cost of the rental, just go to this link and enter the code Netroots2023.


Restroom Locations

  • Lower Level: Restrooms located behind Registration (to the right of Stevens Salon B)
  • Lobby Level: Multiple restrooms throughout floor, ADA restrooms outside Herb N’ Kitchen
  • 2nd Floor: Restrooms located in the hallway in front of the elevators (these are not accessible from the International Ballroom)
  • 3rd Floor: One pair in the hallway next to the Joliet Room and a second pair in the hallway by the Private Dining Rooms (these restrooms are not ADA accessible)

Wellness/Quiet Room
PDR #4 (3rd Floor) is dedicated as our Wellness/Quiet Room. Special programming, including morning yoga and midday meditation moments, will be held in this room (check the schedule for times). When programming is not happening, feel free to use this space for a quiet moment as needed.

Nursing Room
If you need a private space to nurse a child or pump, head to the West Office on the Lobby Level. You’ll find comfy chairs and a fridge and freezer if you need to store milk.

Prayer Room
PDR #5 (3rd Floor) is designated as our Prayer Room.

Accessible Seating in Session Rooms
In all session rooms, we will have reserved seating in the front of the rooms for those who need to sit closer to the presenters to see or hear. Look for dedicated spaces labeled “Accessible Seating.” We ask other attendees to leave these spaces clear for folks needing accommodations. (Folks using accommodations are of course welcome to have a friend sit in these areas with them.)

Accessible Transit

The nearest Chicago Transit stop to the Hilton is Harrison on the red line, which is not wheelchair accessible. The closest accessible stops are Roosevelt on the Red line or Harold Washington Library on the Brown line.

All bus lines are accessible. To view routes and potential outages, check the CTA map with accessibility information here:

Wheelchair users can also hail a wheelchair accessible UBER and LYFT via the app. If you prefer taxi, you can hail an accessible taxi via the CURB app:


All keynotes and featured panels, plus 36 other panels, will be live-streamed via our virtual platform, which offers both a mobile app and web-based platform with built-in captioning in more than 30 languages. Captions will automatically display for those watching live through the app and those watching an archived recording.

In both the web platform and mobile app, captions automatically display the language that attendees set in their app profile settings (click here for info on how to change your settings). There is an up to 30-second delay on captions.

If you are attending in person and are in a session room of a panel that is being streamed and need captions, you may open the stream on your device to access closed captioning. We just ask that you mute your audio as to not disturb your fellow attendees.

Our keynote sessions will also have live captioning on the stage screens.

All panel and training rooms also have amplified sound, and all speakers have been asked to use microphones and repeat any audience questions that may not be picked up enough on mic.

Food Allergies

There will be water stations throughout the hotel, so we encourage you to bring a water bottle with you to fill up as needed. For any food you may be served within the hotel, catering staff will be able to tell you if any of the foods you’re allergic are involved in the preparation.

Accessibility Tips for Presenters

If you’re a presenter, here are some things to consider to make your sessions and handouts (if using) accessible:

  • Identify yourself by name before speaking. Not only is this helpful for persons with visual and auditory disabilities to identify who is speaking, it also helps captioners.
  • Speak clearly and slowly at a medium volume. 
  • Read out loud any important details and repeat back or read out loud any questions posed.
  • Use text that is high-contrast and in a large, legible font, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Avoid italics and specialty or decorative fonts. Use an online color contrast checker.
  • Using slides? Describe images used in the presentation and read relevant text from the screen for people who have difficulty reading or seeing text and visual images.


Many events and businesses have dropped masking requirements. However, we also recognize that while transmission rates are down, large gatherings are still a source of potential infection and are unsafe for many. A fully masked event is far safer and more inclusive than a mask-optional one.

To that end, face masks are required in Netroots Nation rooms when not actively eating, drinking or presenting (though presenters are welcome to keep their masks on if they choose).

Why mask?

Masking works! Masking is most effective in reducing airborne illness when everyone wears one. That means that each attendee does their part to keep our community and the spaces we convene safe and healthy. By wearing your mask, you help make Netroots Nation more inclusive and accessible for all.

Masking is a simple act of love—a sign that the person wearing the mask is considering the needs of others, especially the high-risk people who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and who have undergone the most isolation and trauma. Netroots Nation would be incomplete if only people who are insulated from the impacts of COVID were able to attend.

Community Guidelines

Our Community Guidelines offer tips on how to be inclusive of all attendees, including those with disabilities. A few important things to remember:

  • Identify yourself by name before speaking. Not only is this helpful for persons with visual and auditory disabilities to identify who is speaking, it also helps captioners. 
  • Speak clearly and slowly at a medium volume. 
  • Use “person-first” labels to ensure that people are not labeled with their disability (“person with a disability” instead of “disabled person” or “person who uses a wheelchair” instead of “wheelchair-bound”).
  • “Handicapped” has a negative connotation. Instead use “person with a disability.”
  • If you are using slides during your session, consider using a color contrast checker to check to ensure your background and text colors are readable.