5 Convention Cities Where You Can Actually Have Fun

Halifax, Nashville, Ottawa, Honolulu and Glasgow will impress conference planners and their attendees.
 

Whether you are planning or attending a conference, location is a key factor to consider. These five cities strike a balance between practical business needs and making sure attendees have a memorable experience.

Ottawa, Ontario

Photo courtesy the Shaw Centre

The Business Case: A meeting at the Shaw Centre or the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre means potential access to important decision-makers who work in the nation’s capital. The city also offers incredible off-site options where events can be hosted, such as the Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum and Canadian Museum of Nature.

What to Expect: Attendees will discover impressive national monuments and world-class museums. They will also appreciate the many festivals that take place in Ottawa throughout the year.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Photo courtesy the Halifax Convention Centre

The Business Case: The Halifax Convention Centre has hosted more than 110 events since it opened in December 2017. This sparkling new facility offers plenty of natural light thanks to an abundance of floor-to-ceiling windows, and more than 11,000 square metres of flexible event space. Its downtown location is close to hotels, cultural institutions and the historic waterfront.

What to Expect: Delegates will be impressed by the warm Maritime hospitality that awaits them in the shops, restaurants and pubs on Argyle Street, mere steps from the convention centre.

Nashville, Tennessee

Music City Center, photo by Jake Mathews.

The Business Case: Meeting planners rave about Nashville. The convention facility, aptly named the Music City Center, conveniently sits on a 16-acre site downtown. It is surrounded by restaurants and hotels, as well as Nissan Stadium—home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans—and the NHL’s Nashville Predators’ Bridgestone Arena, so there are plenty of options when it comes to planning conference activities and dinners.

What to Expect: Nashville’s live music venues, including the historic Ryman Auditorium, Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the honky-tonk bars along Lower Broadway, will be a hit with conference attendees.

Honolulu, Hawaii 

The Hawaii Convention Center, photo by Dana Edmunds

The Business Case: Located between North America and Asia, Hawaii’s ability to attract a range of conferences is easy to understand. The Hawaii Convention Center, a short walk from world-famous Waikiki Beach, offers an open-air design, with terraces and lanais, courtyards, waterfalls and fish ponds. It also features a collection of art and multi-media installations featuring work by local artists.

What to Expect: Having a meeting in a tropical paradise is the perfect excuse for attendees to bring along family or friends, or to extend their trip to enjoy some beach time either before or after their conference.

Glasgow, Scotland

Photo courtesy the Scottish Event Campus

The Business Case: The Scottish Event Campus is Scotland’s largest integrated conference and exhibition centre, with 1,500 hotel rooms, five interconnected exhibition halls and a combined area of more than 22,000 square metres. The Clydebuilt Bar & Kitchen is located on-site, while Finnieston, one of the UK’s hippest neighbourhoods, is a 10-minute walk away.

What to Expect: Everyone will love the infusion of Scottish traditions. Throw a traditional cèilidh (Gaelic for a social visit) or create your own conference tartan for the delegates.

 

[This story appears in the February 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine]