CSUN Assistive Technology Conference #CSUNATC Tips & Tricks

Exhibit Hall (Trade Show Floor) FREE!

Don’t forget about the Exhibit Hall which is actually FREE to non-badge holders.

CSUN Session Tips

Add the sessions you're interested in attending to your Calendar with the .ics file on each session web page.

Double, triple, and/or quadruple book your session schedule calendar and make sure you arrive super early if you really want to get to see a certain session and get a good seat. Popular sessions with big names will be full based on previous year’s experience. I’ve had to miss sessions for not arriving early and they were too full.

Another reason to book 4-5 sessions for each time slot is that you may find that after arriving at a session you’re not particularly interested in the topic or it’s was not what you were expecting from the title or description. Whatever your reason is, I would say just get up and leave QUIETLY, obviously be respectful, but don’t feel that you’re forced to sit through a session if you’d rather see if there’s something more interesting. You may even rather just chat and network with Accessibility professionals in the hallways or at the bar. I see people at SXSW bailing on sessions way more than I do at CSUN but I have done it myself many times bouncing from session to session just trying to find an interesting and new topic. The problem is once you leave you may not get into another interesting session, they may all be full.

Sessions are only 40 minutes so dropping in and out may not be much of an option so plan to have your main top session for each hour and then have at least a 2nd fav and a 3rd possibly. It was not had for me to pick many sessions for each hour because there are so many to choose from and they’re all booked at the same time slots! This is always a problem at CSUN and there’s not much of a solution other than the Conference recording all sessions for viewing later. I guess with 20 minutes now between the start and end of each session there shouldn’t be many excuses for not arriving early to the talks you’re most interested in getting a good seat.

FYI some CSUN sessions are sponsored/paid in special sponsored session rooms, if that factors into your decision or not. Deciding CSUN sessions is a lot like SXSW Interactive, research the presenters, research the company, check on twitter, read blog posts, choose many options, go with many back up plans, OR JUST WING IT! Or just blow off sessions and network with a11y nerds! The conference is what you make it, don’t be shy if you see someone you want to say HI to or chat with as this may be your only chance of the year until next CSUN!

It sucks that there’s no way to see the sessions you also miss during your own presentation! Recordings would be AMAZING!!!

Parties & Networking

The CSUN Newsletters have info about the parties and networking opportunities at the conference.

Keynote Address & Welcome Reception, Tuesday evening before the conference starts.

Deque Reception and Sign Language Karaoke – Wednesday evening

Google Party - Thursday everning (If you're cool enough to get an invite. I was not last year :()

Tweet Up RIP seems to be no longer an event.

#CSUNATC Tips & Tricks, Survivial List

Hey CSUNATC folks! Wrote this after my 4th year attending and presenting at CSUN. I thought maybe I do have some tips & tricks I could suggest based on my limited experience. I also asked for some ideas from my wife Jackie who was on her 3rd year then so she’s practically a pro as well.


There’s not much food I like that is within walking distance honestly. But the reality is you are going to be hungry and won’t have much time to spare if you don’t want to miss out on the conference action. FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, 😉 You need to read the Yelp reviews though, most places in walking distance are not good. I didn’t like the BBQ place across from the hotel, most of the food on-site inside the hotel will be extremely expensive but yes convenient. Convenience has its price at CSUN!

A few places in walking distance that I’ve eaten at multiple times and could recommend are:


Richard Walker’s Pancake House, http://www.yelp.com/biz/richard-walkers-pancake-house-san-diego

Richard walker’s is the best breakfast food I’ve had there and it’s very close to walk. They are only a usable option during the weekdays because on the weekend there is a line of like 100 or so people, I’m not kidding! Enjoy the ability to eat there during the boring weekdays I guess 🙂 That’s one of the nice things about CSUN being in the middle of the week because San Diego and the Gas Lamp area get very crowded during the weekends.

Skybound Coffee & Dessert Lounge, http://www.yelp.com/biz/skybound-coffee-and-dessert-lounge-san-diego

Skybound, I can’t really remember the name but I know them as the place on the corner across from Richard Walker’s, and also being the only place on a Saturday that you can actually get some breakfast from since there is a hundred people in line at Walker’s. It’s not amazing, it had good smoothies and pasteries.

Both in walking distance very close to the Manchester Grand Hyatt.


Sally’s Seafood On The Water, http://sallyssandiego.com

Sally’s best feature it that it’s right out the back door of the Manchester so it’s a very easy place to meet folks after sessions or get lunch. It’s expensive though like most food and drinks in San Diego. Sally’s has a happy hour each day with food and drink specials though so that is a good affordable option very close to the action.


Ralph’s, https://www.ralphs.com/storeHours?store=70300123

Ralph’s is open 24 hours! It’s not really that far to walk either. If you don’t want to pay the big bucks for food, drinks, water, snacks, toiletries, etc. at the hotel then Ralph’s is the closest option I’ve found.

Hangout spots

On site at the Manchester


There are 2 restaurants/bars at the main floor of the Hyatt on the north west and east sides. Redfield’s Sports Bar and The Grand Lobby Bar. They are expensive but they are on site and they have food and beer and lots of places to sit so you will see lots of networking happening here.

The Top of the Hyatt is the late night spot and is the only spot with drinks open very late at the hotel. The drinks are very expensive but it’s a good spot to talk Accessibility with CSUN folks without leaving the hotel late at night.

Gas Lamp District

There are way too many places to list in the Gas Lamp District and I don’t really remember them all. The one place I do like to go for late night music and dancing is the Tipsy Crow 🙂 http://thetipsycrow.com/

Gas Lamp is the nightlife district and has many restaurants and bars to offer, there’s also a movie theater. It can get crowded with locals towards the end of the week. It’s a bit of a walk so you may or may not want to take a taxi. Might want to take it back late at night if you don’t want to walk back to the hotel. There’s always tons of taxi’s waiting outside of the hotel entrance.

Tourist things I’ve liked

We went to the beaches close by, Ocean Beach and Mission beach, and while the water was cold it was very clear and the sand was very clean and soft. Texas beaches have warmer water but the sand is not as pretty. Walk the Ocean Beach fishing pier and you can watch the surfers which is fun. I’d love to go fishing here one day but summertime is best for fishing is my thinking and no one was catching anything last year.

San Diego Zoo was amazing! The biggest zoo I’ve ever been to in my whole life I was very surprised, it’s hard to see the whole zoo in one day. Nothing like the zoo’s in Texas!

This year we’re just sticking around the hotel and the gas lamp district with no extra time for tourist things. San Diego is my favorite conference city other than Austin 🙂

Tips for next year

Because it’s too late if you already booked your hotel room but I still wanted to give out the advice for next year.

I hope you are staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt because it’s nice to be able to take a break at you hotel room after lunch, between sessions, or before and evening full of networking.

Make sure to ask for a water view and not a city view because the first year I went I got stuck with a shady city view that also turns into a bad experience when the train goes off at night.

Jackie Adam’s CSUN Survival List

That’s all I can think of for now! Hope it helps!

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