It’s that time of year again! The leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter, and all across the country, SAS users are getting ready for the annual users group conferences. To get people excited about the upcoming events, I’ll be hitting the road—metaphorically, at least—and virtually visiting each of the SUG conference locations via this blog! Remember, you don't have live in the region or be a part of the regional users group to attend the conference. Take advantage of this opportunity to get in a little sun, SAS and fun!
The first stop on the road trip is the Western Users of SAS Software (WUSS) Conference in Long Beach, California. Autumn may be on its way for the rest of the US, but over the conference dates of September 5-7, it will still feel like summer in sunny Southern California! Fortunately for me, Long Beach basically sells itself, but if surf, sand and sun still aren’t enough for you, then check out the fabulous lineup of speakers planned for the conference. With Diane Hatcher and Maura Stokes co-delivering the keynote address and a host of other SAS experts set to speak as well, you really won’t want to miss this year’s WUSS event.
Hosting the conference is the world-class Hyatt Regency in downtown Long Beach. Since it’s just minutes from the beach, you can easily wind down by the water after a long day of SAS speeches and activities. The hotel is also walking distance from tons of shops and restaurants, as well as some premiere Long Beach attractions, like the Aquarium of the Pacific and the RMS Queen Mary. The Queen Mary, once one of the largest passenger ships in the world, is now a permanent museum and hotel famous for its art deco architecture and furnishings. Despite dubious claims that the ship is haunted, it’s still one of Long Beach’s most popular attractions (not to mention it’s featured on the WUSS Conference logo!).
For the more adventurous, kid-at-heart types, you’ll be happy to hear that Long Beach is less than an hour away from Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. This area probably has the highest concentration of theme parks in the entire country, so if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you’re going to love Long Beach! The city is also right outside of the famous city of angels, so if you’re star-struck for a certain celebrity, you should make visiting Hollywood a priority. If you’ve never experienced Los Angeles before, it’s is a must see.
Of course, if amusement parks and movie stars just aren’t your style, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your stay in Long Beach. The neighborhood of Naples offers romantic (and platonic) gondola rides through its idyllic canals. The beautiful Catalina Island, where tourists can partake in hiking, biking, snorkeling, and so much more, is just a short boat ride away from the city. If you take advantage of even a few of the fantastic opportunities Long Beach has to offer, your WUSS conference could end up feeling more like a vacation! Thank you, WUSS, for choosing one of the most desirable destinations there is.
Having lived on the left coast for nine months of college, I am tempted to verify the claim that “the West coast is the best coast,” but to avoid alienating my East coast readers, I’ll simply say that if you’ve never been to California, it’s totally worth the potentially long flight. The WUSS Conference—and all of the SUG conferences—are open to all SAS users, so even if you don’t live out west, you can still attend. Three days packed full of SAS software and unforgettable fun in the sun? What more could you possibly need!
If you’re excited about the WUSS conference, or you have recommendations on what to do in and around Long Beach, feel free to comment on this post! And don’t miss the next installment of the SUG Road Trip series, where I’ll head to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the MWSUG Conference!