Travel: Soka University of America is located in Aliso Viejo, just inland from Laguna Beach in southern Orange County, California. The nearest airport is John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana (SNA), about 30 mins from campus. Unfortunately, there are few transit options from John Wayne Airport, so participants must use a rideshare program such as Lyft or Uber, a taxi, or rent a car.
Other regional airports include LAX, Long Beach, and San Diego. SNA is far closer, about 20-30 minutes away, while LAX can take between 70-140 minutes to reach depending on traffic.
Participants from Los Angeles, Riverside, or San Diego may want to consider taking the train to the conference. Metrolink commuter trains connect Los Angeles and Riverside to nearby Laguna Niguel / Mission Viejo Station, while Amtrak connects Los Angeles and San Diego to Irvine Station.
Accommodation: We are pleased to announce that the official conference hotel is Hilton Homewood Suites in Aliso Viejo. We have arranged for a special conference rate of $159 / night for a studio and $179 / night for a full suite. All rooms include Wifi, pool access, and breakfast. All rooms at this brand new hotel are spacious, including a kitchen and ample workspace. We encourage all participants to stay the this venue- please book your rooms soon, as we have a limited block available. To book, please follow this link (group name WCAAS and code C-WCA). You can also reserve your room by calling 949-425-9500, again mentioning the above group name and code. The group discount is available to conference participants staying between 17-21 October (just in case you want to check out the surrounding area).
Transportation: We are planning to have shuttle service available between Hilton Homewood Suites and Soka University of America, with several trips to the conference in the morning and back in the afternoon / evening.
Venue: The conference will be held at Soka University of America, with most panels and events taking place in Maathai building. Please click here for a campus guide and map. Parking at the conference is free–just tell the folks at the front gate that you are here for the WCAAS meeting. Please park in ‘A’ Lot just left of the front gate, which is a short walk from Maathai building (just follow our signs and volunteers!).
Local Dining and Shopping: Just down the hill from Hilton Homewood Suites, there are two shopping centers featuring a variety of restaurants (Beyond Thai, Kanpai Sushi, Stadium Brewery), grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Ralphs), and other stories (CVs, coffee shops, and more).
In and Around Aliso Viejo / Orange County: WCAAS organizers are not planning a group outing for the conference, but we are happy to provide you with some suggestions to make the most of your time in southern California!
Aside from more obvious attractions such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, we recommend checking out some local sites. Laguna Beach features great waves, art galleries, and dining spots. San Juan Capistrano is a beautiful old mission town with several restaurants, lively Mexican culture, hiking, great coffee shops (Hidden House Coffee is a friend of the conference), and a train station.
Irvine and Westminster are home to interesting Asian American communities, with various markets, temples, and restaurants. Diamond Jamboree is known for its hip Asian fare, while Westminster’s Little Saigon features a variety of Vietnamese temples and restaurants. Further afield, Long Beach is home to a thriving Khmer Community, including some great restaurants, and Los Angeles features enclaves such as Little Tokyo, Chinatown, K-Town, Historical Filipinotown, Thai Town, and more!
Finally, surrounding Soka University of America is Wood Canyon Wilderness Park, which features local wildlife (coyotes chasing roadrunners!) and a range of trailways.