Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Texas

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:

  • The Four Seasons Resort & Club in Irving will become a Ritz-Carlton in 2024 
  • 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

Statewide

ARLINGTON

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.

Also coming in 2024 is the National Medal of Honor Museum, showcasing all the recipients of the accolade and telling their tales of valor. Groundbreaking for the venue, which will feature exhibit and conference space, took place last 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 
Transportation

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

  • By taxi, $35 
  • Uber and Lyft start around $23
Taxes 
  • Room tax, 11% 
  • Sales tax, 6% 
  • Total tax on rooms, 17%
Group Venues

Recently host to Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Globe Life Field, home of baseball’s Texas Rangers, has space for groups of all sizes, whether there’s an event going on or not. 

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. 

Contact

Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau  

AUSTIN

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

The 492-room Renaissance Austin Hotel has completed a $10 million renovation. The meeting space, which has been expanded to 81,000 square feet, was refreshed with new colors, carpet, lighting, sound systems, digital signage and artwork. Outside, the new Lawn at Glass Oaks welcomes special events, along with a new 3,600-square-foot glassed-in space. Further enhancements finishing this fall include upgrades to the Knotty Deck & Bar restaurant, and the transformation of the pool into a resort-style area.

The 297-room AT&T Hotel and Conference Center welcomed back full bar and dinner service on Aug. 23 at the Carrillon. The University of Texas property has more than 85,000 square feet of event space supported by state-of-the-art technology. 

As part of an extensive renovation project, the 194-room Hotel Granduca Austin has welcomed the new Laurel restaurant, and a new spa opened in October. Still underway is the renovation of the pool deck and lobby, which will be completed by the end of the year. 

Now open is the 212-room Thompson Austin, with 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, and its sister property, the 103-room Tommie Austin. Chef Mashama Bailey’s Diner Bar restaurant is the big draw for foodies; the hotels also feature Wax Myrtle’s Hide-a-Way restaurant with a bar, a game room, private dining areas and indoor/outdoor event space.

Two new meeting hotels are planned for the city: the 344-room CitizenM Austin Downtown, expected to open in 2023; and a 330-room Conrad hotel by Hilton just west of the Austin Convention Center.

The city is weighing responses to requests for proposal to find an architect and general contractor for the expansion of the Austin Convention Center. The current plan is to build onto the facility vertically rather than horizontally. 

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 
Transportation

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

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

Adjacent to the convention center, Central District Brewing serves up a creative menu of beers, such as the Alpha Alpaca hazy IPA and the German-style Kayaker’s Kolsch. For private events, the taproom seats 75 or holds 100 people standing.

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.

Contact

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

Fort Worth

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

Architects have been hired to handle the first phase of the expansion of the Fort Worth Convention Center, which includes the construction of new food-and-beverage facilities, the demolition of the annex, the realignment of Commerce Street to create a site for a future hotel, and the rebuilding of the loading docks. Work will begin next year and finish up in 2026. The second phase — which will get going when occupancy taxes have recovered fully to fund the project — will add 97,000 square feet of new exhibit space, 48,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and a 50,000-square-foot ballroom. Also, the existing facility will be renovated. 

In the works is the 200-room Museum Place Hotel in the cultural district, part of the Museum Place mixed-use development across the street from the Kimbell and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Plans call for a chef-driven restaurant, a rooftop lounge and an 8,000-square-foot ballroom. 

Meeting Hotels

The city features more than 11,000 guest rooms. Group properties include the 614-room Omni Fort Worth Hotel, 504-room Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth, 425-room Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, 294-room Hilton Fort Worth, 285-room Marriott Hotel & Golf Club at Champions, 226-room Kimpton Harper Hotel and 200-room Hotel Drover.

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

Fort Worth Convention Center
  • Exhibit space, 208,573 square feet
  • Number of meeting rooms, 20
  • Contact: (817) 392-6338
Airport Transit

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

  • by taxi, $33
  • Uber and Lyft start at about $30
Taxes
  • Room tax, 9%
  • sales tax, 6%
  • total tax on rooms, 15%
Group Venues

Debuting in March 1899, the Ashton Depot was a railroad stop in Fort Worth until 1995. The neoclassical Beaux Arts-Style terminal has been restored to its original style, with stained-glass windows, barrel-vaulted ceilings and marble floors. Employing full culinary and service teams, the depot can host up to 900 people.

Opened in January 2020, Wishbone & Flynt not only survived Covid, but the Fort Worth eatery is thriving. The intimate space can hold about 50 guests. Cocktail fun is found at the adjacent Amber Room speakeasy. 

Contact

Visit Fort Worth, (800) 433-5747 

IRVING

Event Venues, Additions & Renovations

Following a $55 million makeover, the 431-room Four Seasons Resort & Club will become the Ritz-Carlton, Las Colinas, in 2024. On Dec. 15, Marriott International will take over management of the property, which will be known as the Las Colinas Resort, Dallas, while the work is being done. All guest rooms and villas will be renovated, along with the 90,000 square feet of meeting space, and the food-and-beverage outlets will get new concepts. 

In September, the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas achieved the GBAC Star certification for following strict protocols for cleaning, disinfection and disease prevention.

The 300-room Wyndham DFW Airport Hotel (formerly the DFW Airport Hotel and Conference Center) will debut in February. The property has a 6,000-square-foot ballroom and seven event spaces, including the Paradise Garden, which hosts up to 750 people.

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
Taxes
  • Room tax, 9%
  • sales tax, 6%
  • total tax on rooms, 15%
Group Venues

Giving off a hacienda vibe, the 152-room Texican Court isn’t a typical meetings property. Rough wood touches give spaces, such as the Serape Boardroom, a ranch-in-the-city feel.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas in Irving’s Williams Square Plaza recently underwent a multimillion-dollar transformation that included landscaping and seating improvements. Open-air group gatherings are welcome.

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.

Contact

Visit Irving, (800) 247-8464

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
Taxes
  • 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.

Contact

Visit San Antonio

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2021 Stella Award Winners