Chicago’s technology sector is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. The third most populous city in the United States also has the third-highest growth in tech jobs, at a rate of 25.8 percent between 2010 and 2013. Behind only Seattle and Houston, the Windy City is quickly proving its importance in the innovative tech industry.

Tech conference

If you’re looking to shake hands with cutting-edge professionals and top thinkers in this field, Chicago is a great place to do it. These popular hot spots and major events are all great places for Chicago techies to network…

Tech Tuesday at the Graffiti Lounge

On Tuesday nights, the Graffiti Lounge is the place to be for all things tech-related. Technology Tuesdays bring together some of the brightest minds in the industry for an evening of mingling. Admission is free and the great bar and craft beer selection only serve to enhance the laid-back ambiance. Whether you want to exchange ideas with thought leaders in the tech space or shake hands with your next employer, you can find career-changing opportunities at this weekly event.

Technori Pitch at Chase Auditorium

Every month, Technori showcases five startups in front of a 500-member audience. Snag your ticket and you can enjoy both the evening’s keynote speaker and the exciting presentations of five up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Seated in an auditorium filled with like-minded professionals, you’ll have a prime opportunity to network before and after the event. Get ready to take note of who’s on stage, as well, so you can reach out and connect with innovative companies that are likely on the cusp of a big boom in popularity. The latest mobile devices from Samsung make it easy to keep your notes, contacts, calendar, and other essentials in one sleek place so you don’t forget any of the crucial information you’re sure to gather at this event.

The Beta at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago

You might not think of a rock climbing facility as a prime spot for meeting other techies, but The Beta is just that. This modern workspace fosters creativity and innovation in a striking setting that motivates visitors to push their limits both mentally and physically. Work through a mental block at the stand-up desks with built-in pull-up bars, or kick back in the comfortable lounge seating and strike up conversations with other bright minds.

Members can use The Beta for free while non-members pay just $10 for the privilege. With a quiet phone booth for taking important calls and ample space for meetings or group collaboration in the Sitadel conference space, this little retreat has everything you need to put in a full day of work while making new connections.

YPC Networking Breakfast at Pazzo’s

The Young Professionals of Chicago (YPC) holds a monthly networking breakfast at Pazzo’s. This Thursday morning affair is a great reason to get up early. The organizers limit space to the first 50 guests and you must register in advance to score a spot. Members can enjoy breakfast for just $5 and even guests pay only $10. This is a small price for the opportunity to make valuable connections while you rev up for the day ahead.

Green Street Smoked Meats

Green Street Smoked Meats is a popular restaurant in the West Loop. With Uber Technologies, Fieldglass, Signal, and Rise Interactive in the area, this neighborhood is the place to be if you’re in the tech industry. You can grab a table without a reservation, making this a prime pick if you’re looking for something to do at the last minute. Bench-style seating is ideal for networking, and the cozy atmosphere invites casual conversation.

As much as you’ll enjoy networking at Green Street, you’ll probably enjoy the menu more. You can look forward to pulled pork, pork ribs, sliced brisket, and more by the half pound with satisfying sides like potato salad, chili, cole slaw, and baked beans.

If you’re looking for like-minded techies who can help you broaden your horizons, launch a new project, or find your dream job, these Chicago destinations are the perfect place to be.