. Austin | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Austin

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Austin, Texas.

Why Austin for Your Next Meeting or Event?

The capital of the Lone Star State revels in its reputation as a mecca for live music, but the city and surrounding area also offer a wealth of outdoor attractions and activities. And when it comes to hospitality, meeting professionals will find plenty of top-notch hotels in which to house their groups. 

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

•  In May, the Austin City Council approved a plan to expand the Austin Convention Center. The project would redesign the facility and its surroundings at a projected cost of $1.2 billion. To finance the proposal, the council raised the city’s occupancy tax from 7 percent to 9 percent in August, for a total tax on hotel rooms of 17 percent. However, the 
political-action committee Unconventional Austin gathered the signatures needed to force a public vote on the plan, and the matter will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Lots of development is happening in this cultural capital.
Lots of development is happening in this cultural capital.

• Set to open this winter is the 244-room Austin Proper with a spa and fitness center and 14,000 square feet of meeting space, including a rooftop pool deck.

• The new 75-room East Austin Hotel opened in late April. The midcentury-modern design shines throughout, and there are three food-and-beverage concepts: a pool bar with a tropical vibe; the Upside, a casual bar and lounge serving cocktails and light bites; and Sixth and Waller, an all-day counter-service restaurant.

The pool deck at the new Hotel ZaZa Austin
The pool deck at the new Hotel ZaZa Austin

• The 159-room Hotel ZaZa Austin has debuted. Like its luxurious Dallas and Houston sisters, the new ZaZa features the brand’s lavish Magnificent Seven Suites and four concept suites. The 7th Floor Lounge serves drinks and live music, and the lobby-level Perfect Strangers pairs a full menu with handcrafted cocktails. Also on-site is an ZaSpa and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

• A 613-room, full-service Marriott Hotel, to open in August 2020, is being built adjacent to the Austin Convention Center. The property will have 65,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit and entertainment space; an outdoor pool, bar and entertainment zone on the rooftop; two bars, and a full-service restaurant.

• A $150 million project brought the total rooms at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa to 493. The refurbished property now has an expanded poolscape, a new golf clubhouse serving four top-notch courses and a new spa. The resort now offers 76,000 square feet of meeting space.  

Marriott’s Otis Hotel, an Autograph Collection property, and AC Austin will debut 347 guest rooms in early 2020. On the edge of the UT Austin campus, the hotels will share about 7,000 square feet of meeting space.
Marriott’s Otis Hotel, an Autograph Collection property, and AC Austin will debut 347 guest rooms in early 2020. On the edge of the UT Austin campus, the hotels will share about 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

• Austin has more than 36,000 guest rooms citywide. Properties include the 1,048 Fairmont Austin Hotel, 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin, 800-room Hilton Austin, 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel and 448-room Hyatt Regency Austin Downtown

Things to Do in Austin
IS A VISIT IN THE CARDS?

Hosting Northstar Meetings Group’s Destination Texas event Dec. 8-10, the historic 189-room Driskill Hotel, part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection, has a few ghosts to help keep things lively. One is the property’s founder, Colonel Jesse Driskill, whom legend says lost his hotel to his brother-in-law, Jim “Doc” Day, in a  particularly intense poker game held back in 1888.

OFF-SITE ON DECK

You haven’t been to Austin until you’ve seen a sunset from the Oasis on Lake Travis. Several of the iconic Tex-Mex restaurant’s decks overlook the lake. Bring up to 1,500 people for an event; the Starlight Terrace alone holds 500. 

The County Line BBQ joint has many locations, including the outpost on Lake Austin’s Bull Creek, set in an old lakeside lodge. An outdoor tent accommodates groups of up to 120.

FOOD TRUCKS AND MUSIC

Everything you need for a dynamic evening is available at the Spiderhouse bar and ballroom. There’s a full bar featuring 24 beers on tap, and food trucks to satisfy all your guests’ cravings for Arlo’s plant-based foods, vegan options, burgers, Cool Beans Mexican food, Milky Way Milkshakes, Kitchen for the Soul Mediterranean dishes, Always Hungry’s healthful tacos and pizzas, and slices from Stony’s Pizza. Bring in entertainment for the two indoor stages offering a complete sound system and digital sound mixer. The photo booth can be customized with your event’s name. The space holds 200 seated or 300 standing.

TOP-NOTCH CUISINE, FAMILY-STYLE

At Pitchfork Pretty, the eclectic seasonal menu is served family-style. Using ingredients from the owners’ garden, recent made-for-sharing items included East Coast oysters with a smoky mignonette; fried chicken with red chile, buttermilk dressing and cole slaw; and freshly milled hominy grits with shrimp, cow peas, sweet corn and paprika. Sit down with a group of up to 100 diners. 

Transportation in & Around the Area

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, about eight miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $28; by shuttle, $12 

Best Places for Live Music in Austin

Austin is known for its live performances and nightlife. Be sure to catch a live a concert or show while you're in town.

  1. Esther's Follies - magic show, comedy
  2. Pete's Dueling Piano Bar - bar, live music, comedy
  3. The Continental Club - bar, rock 'n' roll
  4. Craft Pride - bar, restaurant, live music
  5. The Elephant Room - bar, restaurant, jazz
  6. The Broken Spoke - bar, live music, dancing
  7. The Roosevelt Room - seated cocktails, restaurant
  8. Mean-Eyed Cat - Johnny Cash tribute bar, BBQ
  9. Antone's - blues / R&B, bar
  10. The Hideout Theatre - improv, comedy
2018 Stella Award Winners

Best DMC, Southwest: Kennedy DMC Austin

Best Hotel/Resort, Southwest: JW Marriott Austin

Best Food and Beverage, Southwest: JW Marriott Austin

Best Food and Beverage, Southwest: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Best Green Initiative, Southwest: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Best Conference Center, Southwest: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Best On-Site Tech/Wi-Fi, Southwest: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Best On-Site Support Staff, Southwest: AT&T Hotel and Conference Center

Best Boutique Property, Southwest: The Driskill

Best CVB/DMO, Southwest: Georgetown Convention & Visitors Bureau, Georgetown