Lubbock at a Glance
Location: West Texas in the far southern end of the Texas Panhandle
Access: Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport; Interstate 27, U.S. highways 84 and 62/82, and Texas State highways 87 and 114
Hotel rooms: 6,400+
Lubbock Memorial Civic Center
Exhibit Space: 40,000 square feet
Other Meeting Spaces: exhibit hall (seats almost 5,000), theater (seats 1,377), 14,105-square-foot banquet hall, 12 meeting rooms
Overton Hotel and Conference Center
Guest rooms: 303 rooms, including 17 suites
Meeting Space: 20,000 square feet
DoubleTree by Hilton
Guest rooms: 140, including six suites
Meeting Space: 3,803 square feet
MCM Elegante Hotel and Suites
Guest rooms: 295 guest rooms and about 25 suites
Meeting Space: 14,000 square feet
Who’s Meeting in Lubbock
Solid Waste Association of North America/Texas Lone Star Chapter
Texas Surgical Society
International Conference of Police Chaplains
West Texas is a land of uninterrupted horizons, open sky and broad stretches of flat land known as the High Plains. Agriculture rules here. The fact Lubbock is one of the world’s largest cotton producers often surprises visitors. But according to John Osborne, president and CEO of Visit Lubbock, it’s an important part of the multifaceted personality of “the hub city” of the region.
“We have a strong work ethic from having to work the land,” Osborne said. “We’re a very young community with quite a few educational institutions: Texas Tech and Lubbock Christian universities, just to name two. This brings a tremendous vibrancy to Lubbock.”
Founded by pioneers in the late 1800s, Lubbock is part of the last settled land in America and currently is undergoing a facelift.
“There’s been a revitalization in our downtown over the past seven years,” said Osborne. “The original city hall building is now our community college. Hotels have been renovated and new ones built. The Cotton Court Hotel used to be a parking lot.”
Through last March, the total investment reached about $400 million, with the new Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences accounting for $150 million of that.
The city is proud of its community focus on creativity and diversity. Its cultural district features the Texas Tech Public Art Collection, which was ranked among the top 10 public art collections in the nation by Public Art Review.
“The arts in many forms define an important part of our history,” Osborne said, “Lots of musicians began their careers here. Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings. We have Broadway shows, the symphony, the ballet. We’re seeing a huge expansion of the visual arts. There’s a First Friday Art Trail that brings business to restaurants, galleries and shops.”
Once an old downtown fire station, the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts offers visual, performing and literary arts for all ages. Visitors can craft souvenir pinch pots, vases and pottery here or make screen-printed bags and letterpress posters at the Charles Adams Studio Project.
A favorite selfie spot is in front of an enormous painted mural of Frida Kahlo on a studio’s façade.
Major Meeting Spaces
Dedicated to the memory of local residents who died in the city’s 1970 tornado, the downtown Lubbock Memorial Civic Center is an inspired feat of architecture with a wide variety of gathering spaces. With a hospitality suite adjacent, its exhibit hall can accommodate 185 10-foot-by-10-foot booths. A 28,000-square- foot walkway connects the center with a pedestrian mall and plaza. An outdoor patio overlooking downtown and a lovely rock garden seats 200.
The center and most Lubbock hotels are a quick 15-minute drive from the airport.
Just steps from Texas Tech University, the Overton Hotel and Conference Center is the official hotel of the school’s athletic program and is rife with “Lone Star sass.”
“West Texas is known for warm hospitality,” said Shannon Baker, director of sales, “and our superb guest services set us apart.”
Its award-winning, two-level conference center hosts groups of 12 to 1,200, such as state associations, government organizations, industry groups and medical societies. Groups of up to 1,125 can enjoy a reception in its Sunset Ballroom. And the Pecan Grill rocks with live music after Red Raider home games.
In homage to Lubbock’s history, the Cotton Court Hotel was built in the footprint of a cotton gin. This luxury boutique property has more of a retreat feel than a typical hotel.
“Our meeting spaces are bright and airy with lots of windows,” said Jessica Hall, director of sales and marketing. “Attendees step right out into a courtyard with yard games and firepits.”
Recently opened, the 200,000-square-foot Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences pays tribute via a permanent exhibit dedicated to Lubbock’s famous native son and one of rock ’n’ roll’s original artists. The gorgeous facility is replete with meeting spaces, including a 2,297-seat, four-level theater, a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose event room for lectures and receptions, and a 100-seat restaurant, Rave On.
A 19-acre historical park with 50-plus authentically restored ranch structures, the Ranching Heritage Center adds cowboy culture to any board meeting, luncheon or seminar for 22 to 300 people.
Another quintessential High Plains experience, the FiberMax Center for Discovery tells the history of the region’s food, fiber and fuel through interactive exhibits. Its Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center can accommodate 300, as can a 6,800-square-foot patio at the American Windmill Museum, which tells the story of windmill technology, historically vital to Plains agriculture.
An exquisite outdoor courtyard with vine-covered walls and a tiered waterfall is but one aspect of the Willows Event Center’s 3,200 square feet of space for conferences, meetings, retreats and receptions. Four boardrooms hold 10-14 participants each.
Once home to one of the largest Air Force training bases in the nation, Lubbock welcomes military groups to its Silent Wings Museum, which houses one of but a few fully restored World War II gliders in existence. Another stop is the Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University, which tells the story of the American Vietnam Experience and Southeast Asia culture. Staff at the latter can personalize the experience for vet groups.
After the Meeting
Ideal for growing wine grapes, the semi-arid Texas High Plains accounts for more than 90% of the state’s wine grape production. Though the wine industry is young in Texas, the McPherson family has been part of viticulture here for 40-plus years and converted Lubbock’s 1930’s Coca-Cola bottling plant downtown into a thriving urban winery — McPherson Cellars — with a tasting room, lofty interior and outdoor patio.
“With advance notice, we can put together a winemaker’s dinner for a corporate group,” said Thomas Turman, the winery’s executive director.
The partnership of two West Texas families created English Newsome Cellars — Texas Winery of the year in 2020 and 2021. On a wine tour, groups can experience barrel tasting of young wine from an aging barrel and actually meet the winemaker and grape grower.
The handsome, mission-style facility can be rented for up to 250-person events, while at Llano Estacado Winery groups can take pizza-making and wine-pairing classes.
For suds sippers, the 806 Beer Trail sports numerous craft breweries, including the city’s first nano brewery and a hyperlocal microbrewery. Housed in the historic Pioneer Building, The Brewery LBK in 2021 was named the No. 1 brewpub in the country by USA Today.
Tex-Mex culinary skills are a great take home for attendees and spouses. Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue offers a west Texas barbecue class, while Hand of the Cook sponsors tortilla making and a taco lunch.
Teams can work off those Tex-Mex calories at 20-acre Adventure Park’s ropes course, zipline, laser maze, miniature golf, bumper boats and go-karts.