News & Events

PIUG 2014 Travel

Updated 1/19/2014 by John Willmore

Since PIUG 2014 is on the home turf of BizInt Solutions, we wanted to provide some local knowledge to help you enjoy your visit to California. This page is a work in progress - check back often and let us know if you have any questions.

Getting to Garden Grove

The nearest airport to PIUG 2014 is SNA, alternately known as Santa Ana, Orange County, or John Wayne Airport. All three names refer to the same place. If you have time to kill, there is a statue of John Wayne by the rental car counters between Terminal A and B.

The conference hotel is about twenty minutes from SNA in light traffic. If you arrive during rush hour, it might be closer to 45 minutes.

SNA isn't a very big airport (about 20 gates), and it closes at 11pm. You won't find a ton of non-stop flights to SNA from the east coast. Two other local airports that you might consider are Long Beach, served by Jet Blue, and LAX, served by just about every airline on the planet. LAX is about 35 miles to the west, a drive that could very easily take an hour or more because you *will* hit traffic. Long Beach is about half way between LAX and the hotel.

There are other airports in the region - Ontario, Burbank, San Diego - but none of them are as convenient to Garden Grove as the three above.

Taxis and shared ride shuttles will be available from each airport.

Normally I suggest that people coming to Orange County rent a car (the hit song from 1979 by the band Missing Persons lamented that "Nobody walks in LA", and that holds true for Orange County as well). However PIUG is located in one of the few walkable areas in OC - the Anaheim Resort District. If you plan to venture beyond the immediate area of the hotel, you should give serious consideration to renting a car.

What to Wear

The California dress code is casual. A restaurant that requires jacket and tie back east may have a "no cut-off shorts" rule out here. There will always be someone dressed more casually than you, and there will always be someone more dressed up than you. We'll be in the midst of tourists visiting the Disneyland resort. Your conference wear will certainly be plenty dressy for any purpose.

When you are packing for the trip (or for a day of sightseeing), you need to be aware of the local weather. The ocean is a huge factor in the weather along the coast. Most days when you wake up and look out your hotel window, you're going to see heavy clouds - a marine layer of fog off the ocean. This doesn't mean rain - in fact, it would be rare to have any rain in late April. By noon it will be clear and sunny, as the fog burns off. Then, as evening arrives, the marine layer will return. The further inland you go, the less impact the marine layer will have.

The marine layer has two effects. The first is that it is chilly. Even if the weather calls for shorts during the day, you're going to want a light sweater or jacket in the evening. Likewise, if you're heading out for a day of sightseeing, you may dress for the cool weather in the morning, but you should expect it to get much warmer and sunnier during the course of the day. The second effect is to block the sun. If you have fair skin, consider putting on sunscreen first thing in the morning. The transition from cloud to full sun can sneak up on you quickly.

You should also make sure to pack shoes for walking. There are quite a few restaurants in walking distance.

Around the Hotel

PIUG 2014 is at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, at the intersection of Harbor Blvd and Chapman Ave in Garden Grove, CA. You're actually on the border of Garden Grove and Anaheim - the other side of Harbor is Anaheim.

If you walk out of the hotel and turn left on Harbor, you're 1.5 miles from the entrance to Disneyland and the California Adventure parks. Between the two parks is the Downtown Disney area, which is a good place for souvenir shopping and is filled with restaurants.

Diagonally across the intersection from the hotel is a Walgreens pharmacy and a Target with a grocery store. The next closest grocery store is on Chapman - simply cross Harbor and continue on about 1/2 mile east to Vons.

Rounding out the compass directions, heading south on Harbor will take you past strip shopping malls and a number of less expensive food options, while heading west on Chapman mostly takes you to residential neighborhoods.

Things to do in Orange County

The obvious recommendation, since we're in the shadow of the mouse, is one of Orange County's largest employers: Disney. Disneyland is the original Walt Disney resort. The California Adventure theme park does a nice job of capturing the spirit of the state, and the Downtown Disney district features several good restaurants. (If you're interested in roller coasters, you might consider another OC amusement park Knott's Berry Farm... or the trek north of LA to Magic Mountain.)

The Pacific Ocean isn't quite as close as it was for PIUG 2007, but we're still plenty close. If you're looking for the classic American surfing beach, Huntington Beach is your best bet. Further south, and closest to the conference, are the posh streets and restaurants of Newport Beach and Balboa Island. Continue down Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach for some spectacular natural beauty, art galleries, and some good eats. Or you can head to the southern end of the county (just north of Camp Pendleton), to the resorts and harbors of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.

Orange County is home to an excellent collection of antiquities at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana. You wouldn't be far from the trendy restaurants of downtown Santa Ana (discussed in the next section).

History buffs may also enjoy the Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda.

Unlike the swallows, you'll probably need a map to find your way to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Lunch at L'Hirondelle should fortify you for your day of exploration.

Baseball fans can go to Anaheim to watch the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as they host the Cleveland Indians during PIUG. The Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks should hopefully still be playing during PIUG. Even the Los Angeles Kings may be playing. But given the injury problems the Lakers are having, your best bet for playoff sports in late April will be the NHL.

If you want to get out and enjoy our climate a little more, you might consider taking a ferry to Catalina Island for some hiking or biking, a sport fishing cruise, a round on one of our numerous golf courses, or a horseback ride in Four Square Park.

You may even be lucky enough to see whales migrating, either from the shore in Dana Point or Newport Beach, or on a whale watching cruise.

And while it isn't technically in Orange County, you may want to consider a visit to Long Beach, home of the Long Beach Aquarium, the Queen Mary, and every April the Long Beach Grand Prix.

One of the great shopping malls in America is South Coast Plaza, about a 15 minute drive away. SCP has a number of good restaurants, as well as The Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the South Coast Repertory.

Eating Out

Orange County has a wide variety of cuisines to match a diverse population. In the last several years, the range has expanded to include a lot of innovative and delicious food.

Immediately around the hotel you'll mostly find chain restaurants:

  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Joe's Crab Shack
  • Oggi's Pizza and Brew
  • Buca di Beppo
  • Ruth's Chris Steak House
  • Morton's Steakhouse

At the Gardenwalk (Katella, 1 mile north of hotel, then right):

At Downtown Disney:

  • Catal - mediterranean dining at Downtown Disney (a personal favorite), with a view of the Disney firework show
  • Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
  • Napa Rose - expensive but highly rated
  • Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar - yes, it's at the Disneyland Hotel, but definitely an adult attraction

Old Town Orange (4 miles east on Chapman):

  • Haven Gastropub - excellent food, beer, and cocktails (no reservations)
  • Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - awesome margaritas, six types of mole, can be on the spicy side
  • Bruxie - sandwiches on Belgian waffles, both savory and sweet

Downtown Santa Ana (about 5 miles, down I-5 - this is the "in" place in the OC for food and cocktails):


  • Marche Moderne - excellent French bistro inside South Coast Plaza
  • Hamamori - creative sushi, also at South Coast Plaza
  • Darya - excellent Persian, near South Coast Plaza
  • Taco Rosa - light, fresh, and excellent Mexican
Beyond Orange County

Orange County is just a small part of the state of California. Day trips are possible to Hollywood, the Getty Museum, the San Diego Zoo (or the Wild Animal Park), and many other destinations. If you want to see more of Southern California, you could head south to San Diego, east to Palm Springs and the desert, or north and west to Santa Barbara and the southern California wine country.

A visitor's guide to the Anaheim Resort District is available on

Back to the 2014 PIUG Annual Meeting web page


The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author alone. He's also responsible for any bad jokes or cultural references that don't make sense. No claim is made as to accuracy, completeness, or whether the reader's taste buds will agree with the author's.