Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in


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

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

Why Texas for Your Next Meeting or Event?

The Lone Star State has lots of news for groups:

  • A new convention center is being built in Arlington
  • The Four Seasons Resort & Club in Irving will be rebranded at the end of the year 
  • Among the hotel news in Austin, a Thompson property opened earlier this year 
  • The Dallas City Council has given the go-ahead for a state-of-the-art convention center to replace its current facility; Austin and Fort Worth are expanding their exhibit centers; and Arlington is getting a new hotel and convention center



Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

As the city’s original convention center was turned into the Esports Stadium Arlington in 2018, a new Arlington Convention Center with 216,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space now is under construction, and will be connected via skybridge to the 888-room Loews Arlington Hotel. The two will open in 2024.

Dallas News
The city council has approved plans to build a new, 2.5-million-square-foot convention center adjacent to the current Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The new facility will feature 800,000 square feet of exhibit space and 400,000 square feet of breakout space, including a 100,000-square-foot ballroom. Construction could begin in 2024 for an opening date in 2028. A possible boost to the occupancy tax is being discussed to help fund the project.

Brent DeRaad became president and CEO of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau in October. The former head of Visit Tucson brought more than 20 years of experience in the industry to his new role.

Debuting in 2024 will be the National Medal of Honor Museum, which will showcase recipients of the accolade and tell their tales of valor. Groundbreaking for the venue, which will feature exhibit and conference space, was scheduled for March 25, Medal of Honor Day.

Meeting Hotels

In town are more than 4,600 hotel rooms. Among the events properties are the 311-room Sheraton Arlington Hotel, 308-room Hilton Arlington, 237-room DoubleTree by Hilton Arlington DFW South and 200-room Crowne Plaza Suites.

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

Esports Stadium Arlington 

Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, about 13 miles from downtown. Transfer cost:

  • By taxi, $29 
  • Uber and Lyft start around $20
  • Room tax, 11% 
  • Sales tax, 6% 
  • Total tax on rooms, 17%
Group Venues

The Dallas Cowboys call Arlington’s AT&T Stadium home. Groups of all sizes can, too, even in the locker room.

While many know Arlington for its large sports stadiums, a touch of its rural past still exists. Howell Family Farms, established in 1912 and now a site for all sorts of events, features a gorgeous old barn and home, and welcomes groups of up to 300. 


Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau  


Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

A dual-branded property from Hyatt Hotels opened in January. The 212-room Thompson Austin features 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space; and the 103-room Tommie Austin is a new urban select-service hotel. Award-winning chef Mashama Bailey has brought her Grey Market and Diner Bar to the properties.

Under construction is the 344-room CitizenM Austin Downtown. Opening in 2023, the hotel will feature extra-large king-size beds, and guests will be able to control the TVs, temperature, blinds and lights with their phones. In the plans are a gym, a pool and a rooftop bar. 

Ground could be broken by the end of the year on a 330-room Conrad hotel by Hilton. Developed by Intracorp Texas, the Conrad will be just west of the Austin Convention Center and will feature several restaurants and space for retail. No details have been shared yet on the rest of the amenities.

The expansion of the Austin Convention Center, stalled by the pandemic, is now moving forward. The facility is in the final stages of naming an architect and a general contractor for the project. Portions of the existing facility will be rebuilt to add more gathering space.

The new 613-room Austin Marriott Downtown, half a block from the convention center, opened last year. The property has more than 60,000 square feet of its own meeting space and four food-and-beverage outlets.

The AT&T Hotel and Conference Center is now the preferred property for the 15,000-seat Moody Center, the University of Texas at Austin’s new multipurpose arena. The 297-room hotel has 85,000 square feet of event space.

The 194-room Hotel Granduca Austin is in the middle of an extensive project that is adding a spa, overhauling the signature restaurant and bar, and renovating the pool deck and lobby. On 38 acres, the property features 38 suites, a pool with cabanas and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Meeting Hotels

The city features more than 39,000 guest rooms. Major downtown properties include the 1,048-room Fairmont Austin Hotel, 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin and 801-room Hilton Austin.

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

Austin Convention Center 
  • Exhibit space, 247,052 square feet
  • Number of meeting rooms, 54
  • Contact: (512) 404-4000 

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, about 8 miles from downtown. Transfer cost:

  • By taxi, $28  
  • By shuttle, $12
  • Uber and Lyft start at about $25
  • Room tax, 11% 
  • Sales tax, 6% 
  • Total tax on rooms, 17%
Group Venues

The Lone Star State’s flora is celebrated at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, whose gardens are full of native flowers. Up to 400 people can enjoy the venue’s Courtyard; 300 fit in the Great Hall for a reception. 

A three-tiered challenge course, perfect for team-building, has debuted at the 117-room Miraval Austin, a luxury wellness resort. With views of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, the course hosts up to 30 people at a time on its tightropes, balance beams and log crossings, and it’s available for fun night or day.

Irish and American fare is the specialty at Foxy’s Proper Pub, a new watering hole downtown. The two-story bar’s exposed-brick and hand-stenciled walls, custom ironwork, and vintage lighting make it a great buyout site for up to 280 people. The customizable outdoor courtyard expands the possibilities. 

An incredible 38 Texas chefs were among the semifinalists for the 2022 James Beard Awards. Austin is home to four of the chefs, and two of their establishments offer the perfect setting for a small group: Amanda Turner’s Olamaie, and Iliana de la Vega’s El Naranjo

New at the Hilton Austin is a Topgolf Swing Suite, suitable for swinging clubs, playing Zombie Dodgeball and more. The suite holds eight; up to 80 can be hosted in the connected event space.


Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 926-2282


Recent Updates to Hotels and Venues for Meetings and Events

Long a staple in the city, the Four Seasons Resort Dallas/Las Colinas will no longer be part of the brand’s portfolio at the end of 2022. Troon will manage the two celebrated golf courses, and the property’s owner, Extell, will name a new luxury brand to handle operations.

Construction is underway on a 150-room Hotel Indigo, scheduled to open in 2023 with a total of 3,300 square feet of meeting space.

The 159-room Element Dallas Las Colinas opened in July. The property offers 2,277 square feet of event space, including two breakout rooms.

Meeting Hotels

The city offers more than 10,000 guest rooms. Group properties include the 491-room Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott, 431-room Four Seasons Resort Dallas/Las Colinas, 421-room Omni Las Colinas Hotel, 364-room Marriott Dallas Las Colinas, 350-room Westin Irving Convention Center Hotel, 305-room Embassy Suites DFW Airport South, 302-room Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel, 282-room DoubleTree by Hilton DFW Airport North and 152-room Texican Court Hotel.

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

Irving Convention Center
  • Exhibit space, 97,228 square feet
  • Number of meeting rooms, 28
  • Contact: (972) 252-7476
Airport Transit

Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport, about 10 miles from downtown. Transfer cost:

  • by taxi, $33
  • Uber and Lyft start at about $20
  • Room tax, 9%
  • sales tax, 6%
  • total tax on rooms, 15%
Group Venues

The galleries at the Irving Arts Center are full of local and international works, and can host up to 300 people in the 3,000-square-foot Suite 200.

Steak is on the menu at the Ranch Las Colinas, which has several private dining areas, including the 40-seat Firepit. Or choose the Chef’s Corner for 34, with its own bar and high-top tables that overlook the open kitchen.

The 87,742-square foot Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory can be configured into the event of your attendees’ dreams. Or take it all outside to the event lawn and amphitheater.


Visit Irving

San Antonio

Recent Updates to Hotels and Venues for Meetings and Events

A 347-room Kimpton property is coming to San Antonio, part new-build and part adaptive reuse of an 1850s schoolhouse. To open in 2024, the hotel will feature more than 10,000 square feet of meeting space.  

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.

Green thumb
The JW Marriott San Antonio has hired culinary gardener Hector Rivera to maintain plant beds, and harvest and prepare produce for the resort’s dining outlets. 

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 last 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.

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center 
  • Exhibit space, 514,000 square feet
  • Number of meeting rooms, 70
  • Contact: (210) 207-8500
Airport Transit

San Antonio International Airport, 8 miles north of downtown. Transfer cost:

  • By taxi, $29
  • Lyft and Uber start at $17
  • Room tax, 16.75%
  • sales tax, 8.125%
  • total tax on rooms, 16.75%
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.


Visit San Antonio


2021 Stella Award Winners