Putting on a successful speaker event starts with picking the best event city. Before event planners can even decide who to hire as a speaker or select a venue, the right destination must be chosen. With so many great cities to choose from, this can seem like a daunting task. After all, a number of factors go into this decision, ranging from the available event spaces to the location of the nearest international airport. To help event professionals choose the best city for their speaking event, we have put together a list of the 10 most popular event cities in the United States.
1. Orlando, Florida
Orlando has more than 450 hotels and resorts, and it is also home to one of the largest convention centers in the country, the Orlando County Convention Center. If meeting planners are looking for a smaller venue, have no fear. International Drive, Orlando’s main tourist strip, boasts over 10 miles of event sites of various sizes, hotels with convention centers, restaurants, and other attractions. Speaking of attractions, Orlando is also known for its theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Orlando, and SeaWorld.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas holds three of the 10 largest convention centers in the U.S., and the McCarran International Airport makes traveling easy by offering direct flights to over 130 U.S. cities. Additionally, the city boasts 140,000 hotel rooms, all conveniently located close to event venues, stores, and entertainment. Las Vegas offers a variety of meeting places, whether planners want to go with a modern appeal like The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, old-style glam at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, or a natural event at Lake Las Vegas.
3. San Diego, California
With an abundance of beaches, hotels, event venues, and attractions like the San Diego Zoo and the Natural History Museum, San Diego is the ideal city for event planners. Traveling there is a breeze because the San Diego International Airport is located just three miles from downtown. San Diego’s sunny weather makes it easy to plan outdoor events year round, and event professionals can choose from event sites with waterfront, countryside, or downtown views. The city also has an entire Art and Design District, home to The California Center for the Arts, the Old Globe Theatre, and the San Diego Opera.
4. Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta has it all: mild weather, renowned event venues, and easy accessibility. Thanks to the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 80 percent of the country’s population is located within a two-hour direct flight. Downtown is the city’s convention and entertainment district, featuring countless hotels, meeting locations, and dining options all within walking distance of the Georgia World Congress Center. Midtown has hotels and event spaces for small to mid-sized events, as well as a variety of art attractions including exhibits and performing arts.
5. Austin, Texas
Home to over 250 live music venues, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and numerous hotels, Austin is a great option for holding a speaking event. The city has several event sites including the Austin Convention Center, the Palmer Events Center, the Travis County Exposition Center, the Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, and the George Washington Carver Museum. To capitalize on Austin’s sunny skies, event professionals can also hold an event by charting a private cruise with Lone Star Riverboat Cruises on Lady Bird Lake or at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
6. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. offers modern and historical locations, making it one of the most unique cities to hold a speaker event. In addition to its historic monuments, this city has the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, museums of the Smithsonian Institution, embassies, restaurants, and other unique venues. Washington, D.C. boasts an efficient transportation system made up of a Metro and bus system. To top it off, Washington, D.C. has numerous outdoor parks. Its famous cherry trees make up West and East Potomac Park and provide visitors with beautiful outdoor settings during their stay.
7. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix perfect event planning weather makes it one of the most popular event cities in the United States; its year-round average temperature is 75 degrees. Because of this great climate, Phoenix is known for its numerous golf courses and for providing visitors with other fun outdoor activities like horseback riding and hot-air ballooning. It is located in the fastest-growing county in the country, so it has an abundance of hotels and meeting facilities. The Phoenix Convention Center has 900,000 square feet of event space and is located in downtown Phoenix, meaning it is within walking distance of several popular tourist attractions, restaurants, theaters, and museums.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans has several venue options for event planners, ranging from large to small; some are even located on the water. The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is one of the top convention centers in the country, with 1.1 million square feet of event space and an award-winning catering staff. The city is also home to Elms Mansion and Antoine’s Restaurant, providing lots of different options for an event with speakers. Known for its delicious cuisine and art atmosphere, the French Quarter houses many museums, galleries, restaurants, and Jazz clubs. Last but not least, New Orleans has the Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium of the Americas, some of top rated zoos and aquariums in the country.
9. Nashville, Tennessee
When people think of Nashville, they think of music. The city also boasts a number of amazing event venues, including the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, the Nashville Music City Center, the Grand Ole Opry House, and B.B. King’s Blues Club and Restaurant. To wow event attendees, consider taking your guests out on the General Jackson Showboat, which offers dining, entertainment, and views of the city along the Cumberland River. Traveling to Nashville is convenient; half of the country’s population is located less than 600 miles away, and the city is home to the Nashville International Airport.
10. Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte combines small town feel with all the benefits of a big city. The city’s convention district is close to numerous hotels, restaurants, museums, and theaters. Charlotte is also known as the center of NASCAR, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame is connected to the Charlotte Convention Center. If meeting planners are looking to hold an outdoor event, the U.S. National Whitewater Center and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden both feature beautiful outdoor backdrops. To top it off, travel to Charlotte is made easy with the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, one of the 10 busiest airports in the country.
Found the perfect city to host your upcoming event? Contact us at 1-800-698-2536 for help booking a great keynote speaker, or visit the All American Speakers website to browse our comprehensive directory of motivational speakers and celebrities.