Some people dread their industry’s annual meeting, conference, or convention, but I don’t. In fact, I live for them. They offer excellent opportunities to catch up with colleagues, hear interesting presentations and relevant gossip, and meet new people.

On top of that, annual meetings mean the chance to travel. From Ottawa to London and Cleveland to Dublin, I always take time out to explore my host city. I’ve eaten beaver tails, stopped by the British Museum, and strolled through West Side Market, all without sacrificing valuable networking time. In fact, I think this type of sightseeing gives you something interesting to talk about. So how can you make the most of your time at a conference in Anaheim? Read on to learn more.

2. Research in Advance

Photo via Flickr by Daremoshiranai

The conference I attended in London took place at the University of London near Russell Square. After a bit of searching online, I saw that the British Museum was right around the corner. A quick lunch and walk around the museum allowed me to stretch my legs and see a couple of exhibits. In Anaheim, you can head to the Packing District for artisan eateries and live music. Have a look at transportation options so you know the most efficient way to get there.

Packing District

  • 440 South Anaheim Boulevard
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily

2. Take Advantage of the Evenings

Some conferences organize evening outings, but often you’ll have time to yourself. If you stay at an IHG hotel near the Anaheim Convention Center, you can quickly slip in to change and get ready in time for happy hour. Check out The Fifth, which is Anaheim’s only rooftop bar and lounge. It’s in the convention area and offers fantastic views of the Disney fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Why not invite some new connections for an informal gathering? You’ll look all the more interesting when you take them away from the typical conference dive bars and chain restaurants.

The Fifth

  • 1650 South Harbor Boulevard
  • Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Friday to Saturday

3. Extend Your Stay

Many conferences take place during the work week to avoid cutting into your free time. Use this timing to your advantage by booking your journey home a day or two after the end of the conference

You can use that time to go on a road trip or explore more of Anaheim. I would suggest a trip to Garden Grove to see the immense Crystal Cathedral, which is composed of 10,000 panes of glass. Philip Johnson designed the cathedral in 1977. It’s 12 stories high and seats 2,700 hundred people under its glass lattice. It’s an incredible piece of architecture!

Crystal Cathedral

  • 13280 Chapman Avenue
  • 20-minute drive from Anaheim

Not everyone loves conferences and annual meetings. With these tips, however, you can find something to enjoy the next time you have to go to one. Get up early or stay out late and know what you want to do and how to get around. It’s up to you to make your time at the conference a truly memorable experience!

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