1. Contrary to popular belief, CPAC does not stand for Conservatives Party And Crash.
The purpose of this conference is to gain knowledge and inspiration as a conservative and to network with other conservatives and organizations. During the hours of the conference have an agenda/schedule prepared of the panels and speakers you would like to see. The schedule usually slows down after 4pm so that's when you can fit in your networking by grabbing drinks and dinner with friends.
- If you are a student be sure to register for and attend the Student Only Events. There are usually 3 of them. The student luncheon is a great one! (Just be sure to check the schedule and make sure there aren't any speakers you want to miss at the same time. I was bummed that I missed Mitt Romney speak last year.)
- Don't Miss The Panels. Most of the speakers in the main ballroom are recorded so you can watch them afterwards, the panels are not. So prioritize them! Last year, I went to an awesome Pop Culture Panel featuring Jason Mattera, Chuck Woolery, and Stephen Baldwin. I also went to a panel featuring Ben Shapiro. The panels also have Q&A sessions where you can get specific questions answered. These events are usually small enough where you can actually go and talk to the panelists afterwards. Just be considerate of their time and of other attendees.
- Stroll through the Exhibit Hall. There is a lot of opportunity in this because you can network with different organizations, find out what they are all about and how being connected with them can grow your conservative influence. You can also find all of the books for the book signings here. Also, you never know who is going to be around. My first year I saw Andrea Tantaros and got to talk to her for about 45 minutes because no one else knew she was there!
- The main ballrooms always fill up quickly. Be sure to allow time to grab a seat so you don't miss your speaker!
- Keep a notebook and a few pens handy. Also bring business/personal cards.
CPAC has moved locations this year and so one major concern of mine is that the food supply will be limited. I have looked over the National Harbor restaurant list and here are some recommendations and a guesstimated price key. (I live in Texas so some of the recommendations are from friends that know the National Harbor area better than I do!) I'm kind of particular so if I would personally choose this restaurant I will put a "Jenny Pick!" next to it.
- Java Coast (Located at Gaylord) $$
- Mayorga Coffee Roasters $
- Baja Fresh (Mexican Grill) $$
- Chidogos (Chicago Style Hotdogs) $-$$
- Elevation Burger $-$$ (Jenny Pick!)
- Freshii (Organic/Nutritious Bowls/Salads) $$
- McDonalds $
- Potbelly Sandwich Works $-$$ (Recommended by @the_zarf) (Jenny Pick!)
- Subway $-$$
- Bond 45 $$-$$$ (Recommended by @OHCONSERVATISM)
- Cadillac Ranch (American Grill) $$-$$$ (Jenny Pick!)
- Fiorella Pizzeria $$-$$$
- Grace's Mandarin (Sushi/Asian) $$$-$$$$ (Recommended by @DanIsett)
- Harrington's Pub & Kitchen (Pub) $$
- Ketchup (American Cuisine) $$-$$$ (Recommended by @the_zarf and @OHCONSERVATISM)
- McCormick & Schmick's (Seafood) $$$-$$$$
- McLoone's Pier House (Burgers/Seafood) $$-$$$ (Jenny Pick!)
- Nando's Peri Peri (Portuguese) $-$$ (Jenny Pick!)
- National Pastime Bar & Grill (Located in the Lower Atrium of Gaylord) $$-$$$
- Nature's Table (Organic Wraps/Salads) $$ (Jenny Pick!)
- Old Hickory Steakhouse (Located at Gaylord) $$$$$ (Not recommended due to price)
- Pienza Restaurant (Buffet Style) (Located at Gaylord) $$$$
- Public House (Pub) $$
- Rosa Mexicano $$ (Need a quick lunch? They have a fast "Lunch Crunch" special)
- Thai Pavilion $-$$
- Plan Ahead: Get an idea of what you will be doing and ask around. Don't leave yourself out because you didn't get the memo!
- Be Responsible:
- If you go out to a bar or order drinks remember that people are watching and you have a reputation to consider. Don't drink so much that you are hungover the next day and miss the conference. Don't tweet about how drunk you are. If you aren't 21, don't drink at all.
- Dress Tastefully. If you think your outfit might be inappropriate, change. Remember your reputation. Do you want to be remembered for your butt or your rebuttal? Have some respect for yourself. Remember we aren't the party begging for free birth control!
- Bring a portable phone charger!
Here's a good one: http://www.rayovac.com/Products/Rechargeable-Batteries-and-Chargers/Mobile-portable-cell-phone-battery-charger.aspx
If I missed anything please feel free to comment below!