Many planners bring their conferences and events to the same venues year after year, but conference centers throughout the United States are always evolving, adding new exhibit halls, catering options and surrounding attractions. Here are five recently renovated, state-of-the-art facilities to consider before planning your next event.
Anaheim Convention Center
Across from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the Anaheim Convention Center is the largest convention center on the West Coast, with 1.8 million square feet of function space. The expansive, glass-walled structure is now undergoing a 200,000-square-foot expansion that will be completed in September.
Meeting groups can access the sun-soaked California city from major airports in Long Beach, Los Angeles and Ontario, and the convention center makes parking easy with three spacious parking lots. Planners will find plenty of room for their event or conference inside, and the building is simple to navigate and caters to a variety of budgets.
“Whether your group is large or on the smaller side, it’s easy to find your way around the convention center and be comfortable,” said Harriet Porter, vice president of convention sales at Visit Anaheim.
Beyond the convention center and Disney attractions, the city has worked hard over the past few years to develop its hotel, retail and dining inventory, attracting younger crowds as well as more craft breweries, coffee shops and bars.
“Anaheim is more relaxed than most cities,” said Porter. “You can walk around at night, and sometimes in the evening, you can look out over the convention center’s 10,000 square-foot balcony and see a fireworks show from Disney.”
Mayo Civic Center
Over the past year, the Mayo Civic Center has essentially doubled the size of its event capacity, which now features 200,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a new 7,500-square-foot outdoor plaza. The center’s 40,000-square-foot ballroom is the largest ballroom in Minnesota. Among other venues on the property are a 15,000-square-foot auditorium, a 25,000-square-foot arena, a 25,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a 9,000-square-foot presentation hall.
“One aspect of Mayo Civic Center that differentiates us is that clients aren’t required to use an in-house caterer and can choose from four signature caterers recognized for superior service and cuisine,” said Megan Malugani, marketing and communications coordinator at Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.
With the widely respected health care nonprofit Mayo Clinic based in Rochester, the Mayo Civic Center draws a large number of health care and technology professionals each year, and the center’s entertainment venues have hosted a variety of acclaimed guests, from Bon Jovi to the Dalai Lama.
Attendees can access over 100 restaurants and 2,500 hotel rooms throughout the city by pedestrian skyways and climate-controlled underground walkways. A few popular nearby attractions are the Rochester Art Center, the Rochester Trolley tours and over 84 miles of bike trails.