Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Southern Texas

The Live Music Capital of the World already has hosted the Austin Limits Music Festival and is ready for more.

Why Southern Texas for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Remember the Alamo? It and all the other iconic Lone Star destinations are ready to see your groups again. New hotels are opening their doors just in time, such as two Thompson properties: one in San Antonio, near the former mission, and another in the state capital. 

On Oct. 11, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates in the state. All businesses and facilities in Texas have resumed operations at 100 percent capacity, but businesses can implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion. 


The Live Music Capital of the World is fully open for business. Its main event, South by Southwest, is on the schedule for March 2022, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, held this October, is on the calendar for the same time next year. Several new and renovated hotels are ready to host participants.

Recent Updates to Hotels and Venues for Meetings and Events
  • The 405-acre Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa has completed a multimillion-dollar renovation to all 434 rooms. The new look features an upscale ranch-style feel with a “modern and sophisticated” aesthetic. The renovated Litton House, a 2,000-square-foot cottage, accommodates up to eight guests. The property has 60,000 square feet of meeting space and more than 240,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
  • The 212-room Thompson Austin now is scheduled to open in January. For groups, there will be a 3,500-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a junior ballroom. Award-winning chef Mashama Bailey is bringing her Grey Market and Diner Bar to the property.
  • The expansion of the Austin Convention Center, stalled by the pandemic, is now moving forward. The facility has begun searching for an architect and a general contractor for the project. Portions of the facility will be demolished and rebuilt to add more gathering space. The city is ready to pay for the work: The room tax was raised 2 percent in 2019 for the expansion.
  • A guest room refresh has finished at the 393-room Omni Austin Hotel Downtown. Renovations to the 21,000 square feet of meeting space began in August, adding technology and a new look, to be completed by the end of the year. Work on the public spaces will be done in March 2022.
  • The new 613-room Austin Marriott Downtown recently opened half a block from the convention center and has more than 60,000 square feet of its own meeting space. Food can be found in four spots, including Zanzibar, a lush rooftop venue meant to transport guests away from the every day. Corinne Restaurant, with an expansive American menu, features a streetside outdoor terrace; the two-story Lobbyist bar is lit by floor-to-ceiling windows; and Loaf + Vine is an urban grocer offering grab-and-go meals, bakery bites and coffee.
Group Venues 
  • Food & Wine calls Férmin Núñez one of 2021’s Best New Chefs, and Austin is home to his outpost, Suerte. The restaurant uses a process called nixtamalization, which removes almost all of the toxins from the corn sourced from local farms to create flavorful tortillas and tostadas. From there, the ingredients get more and more creative, such as “black magic oil,” his mixture of garlic, chiles and black sesame seeds. Chef Núñez curates the menus for private events of up to 24 people.
  • Opened in 1886, the 189-room Driskill Hotel has survived 135 years with panache. Your group will enjoy sipping cocktails where LBJ brought Lady Bird on their first date. The property has 18,000 square feet of event space.
  • Open space for your imagination is available at Eastside’s Springdale Station, where you can play with two halls and an acre of outdoor space. 
  • From March to early fall, before running off to dinner, bat-watching is the thing to do downtown. A colony of about 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge, arcing and circling in the sky as they soar out at dusk to feast on insects. This page covers the best time to see the bats and more.


Travel Essentials

Convention Center: Austin Convention Center; exhibit space, 247,052 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 54

Airport Transit: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, about 8 miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $28; by shuttle, $12; Uber and Lyft start at about $25

Taxes: Room tax, 9%; sales tax, 8.25%; total tax on rooms, 17%

CVB: Visit Austin

College Station

Recent Updates to Hotels and Venues for Meetings and Events
Group Venue
  • When Texas A&M’s Aggies aren’t at home, groups are welcome to use Kyle Field for events. The stadium’s Ford Hall of Champions offers an expansive 30,000 square feet of space.

Travel Essentials

Airport Transit: Easterwood Airport, about 4 miles from downtown. Most hotels offer shuttle service.

Taxes: Room tax, 7%; county and state tax, 8.75%; total tax on rooms, 15.75%

CVB: City of College Station

San Antonio

Recent Updates to Hotels and Venues for Meetings and Events
  • A multimillion-dollar propertywide renovation has been completed at the 1,000-room San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, one of the city’s largest hotels. In the process, the event space was increased by 11,000 square feet to a total of 70,136 square feet. The property’s new M Club overlooks the Alamo, and the revamped F&B options include the signature restaurant, Tributary, serving seasonal and local fare; the Café Bocadillo coffeehouse; and Sundry for grab-and-go bites.
  • A luxury 390-room InterContinental hotel, the city’s first of the brand, will open in the city in 2023. A remake of a former Wyndham hotel, the project will transform the property’s 40,000 square feet of meeting space, add new food-and-beverage options, and revitalize the rooftop pool area. The InterContinental will have direct access to the River Walk.
  • The 162-room Thompson San Antonio opened earlier this year. The property’s signature restaurant, Landrace, is led by chef Steve McHugh. The hotel has a 5,000-square-foot spa and 10,000 square feet of event space.
  • Now open is the 277-room Estancia del Norte San Antonio, part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, with 10,000 square feet of gathering space. Lazo Restaurant serves South Texas classics, and the Paseo Bar looks out on the Grand Courtyard.

Group Venues 

Still a fan favorite is Biga on the Banks, a fine-dining spot serving “very new American cuisine.” The brainchild of chef Bruce Auden, a London transplant, the menu changes daily; on a recent night, dishes were made with Scottish salmon, Australian lamb, Gulf shrimp and New Zealand deer. Private dining options host from 10 to 400 people, offering river and River Walk views. 

Send a group out to see the city by recumbent bike with San Antonio Bike Tours. Two-, four- and six-hour outings head out to the missions, the historic downtown and more.

Once available by food truck only, the delightful confections of Mary Collazzo make the perfect gift for your chocolate-loving VIPs. The delectables vary seasonally, so it’s worth a stop at the downtown shop, Chocollazzo, whenever you visit the city. Maybe you’ll be able to grab a few of these honey-touched bites.

Seven signature beers and outdoor space for mingling are available for up to, yes, 18,000 people at the expansive Alamo Beer Co.

Travel Essentials

Convention Center:Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center; exhibit space, 514,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 70

Airport Transit:San Antonio International Airport, 8 miles north of downtown. Transfer cost to downtown by taxi, $29; Lyft and Uber start at $17

Taxes: Room tax, 16.75%; sales tax, 8.125%; total tax on rooms, 16.75%

CVB: Visit San Antonio


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