. Northern California | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Northern California

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Northern California.

Why Northern California for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Northern California offers many benefits, among them natural wonders, fine cuisine, environmental consciousness and drop-dead gorgeous views. Experience it all at top properties like Cavallo Point, the Lodge at the Golden Gate (pictured) in Sausalito, recently acquired by Diamond Rock Hospitality.

Travel Essentials
CONVENTION CENTER: Moscone Center; exhibit space, 888,300 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 114. 

TAXES: Room tax, 14%; Moscone Expansion District/Tourism Improvement District assessment, 2.25% (on hotels in the city center); sales tax, 8.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.25% in the city center

CONTACT: San Francisco Travel

Recent Hotel & Venue Additions

The highly anticipated, $551 million expansion of the Moscone Center officially opens Jan. 3. More than 157,000 square feet of meeting space has been added to Moscone North and South, creating a contiguous exhibit area of more than 500,000 square feet. The facility now offers a total of 1,139,775 square feet of usable space, including a new 50,000-square-foot column-free ballroom. The North and South lobbies have been enlarged, a new enclosed pedestrian bridge connects the upper levels of the North and South buildings, and an upgraded bridge spans Howard Street. 

The 681-room Park Central San Francisco, the city's sixth-largest hotel in terms of room count, was sold last month for $315.2 million. The new owner, Highgate Hotels, has not said whether the property will be reflagged. The hotel, which was the Westin Market Street until 2015, is just two blocks from Moscone Center and offers more than 32,000 square feet of event space.

Green CVB
In a region that prizes environmental sustainability, the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau leads the way. The organization has joined Positive Impact, a not-for-profit that aims to create a sustainable events industry, and the Global Destination Sustainability Index initiative, an alliance focused on helping destinations and businesses promote best practices.

The Virgin Hotels San Francisco opens this month in the South of Market area, with whimsical touches such as conference pingpong tables, mini-golf hallways and life-sized Jenga. The 194-room property offers a rooftop lounge and several meeting venues, including the 2,124-square-foot Manor, which can accommodate up to 126 people theater-style, and the 1,898-square-foot terrace lounge.

Meeting Hotels

Properties in the South of Market area near the Moscone Center include the 1,500-room San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 681-room Park Central San Francisco, 550-room InterContinental San Francisco, 413-room W San Francisco, 405-room Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Downtown, 277-room Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, 260-room St. Regis San Francisco, 202-room Hotel Zelos, 194-room Virgin Hotels San Francisco and 143-room Americania Hotel

Outside of Town
The Resort at Squaw Creek, a Destination Hotel, will unveil its renovated meeting areas this month. The 405-room North Lake Tahoe property provides 47,750 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Sonoma Valley's Olea Hotel has reopened following a 10-month restoration period after the fall 2017 wildfires in Northern California. The hillside inn, surrounded by olive trees, has a new pool, hot tub and fire pit; upgrades were made to its 13 rooms and throughout the hotel. Two cottages will debut this spring. 

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meetings Group's new venue finder.

Other Event Venues

Let attendees in on some tasty secrets at Rambler, a bi-level bar and bistro inside the hip, 64-room Hotel Zeppelin in downtown San Francisco. Only those in the know are able to order from the rock-'n'-roll-themed secret menu, specially curated by executive chef Banks White and discoverable only by word of mouth. (Choose from Fleetwood Mac N Cheese, Freddie Mercury Fries and SXSW Ribs.) For private events, meeting planners can rent out the 1,334-square-foot Peace Room, 659-square-foot Love Room or 504-square-foot Soul Room, or buy out the mezzanine level. 

Harmon Guest House, a 39-room  environmentally chic Wine Country retreat that opened in Healdsburg this past September, offers a variety of unique meeting and event spaces. The rooftop Merritt Hall accommodates up to 100 attendees, and the neighboring H2Hotel's naturally lit Green Room, with French doors opening onto a lawn, holds up to 50. 

Looking to Plan a Northern California Meeting?
Learn everything you need to know about this diverse locale at Destination California, Northstar’s premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area.

Transportation in & Around Northern California

San Francisco International Airport, approximately 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco; transfer cost by taxi, about $46-$66; by shuttle, $17. Lyft, Uber, Sitbaq and Wingz apps all operate here.