Bristol, Tennessee, sits across the state line from sister city Bristol, Virginia. The city is commonly known for its country music and fast cars, thanks to its designation as the Birthplace of Country Music and popular Bristol Motor Speedway. But savvy meeting planners in the Southeast know Bristol has a lot to offer in the way of well-equipped meeting facilities, first-class event hotels and a number of lively Bristol event venues, all conveniently located just off I-81 in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.
Bristol is served by Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI), which connects to four hubs: Orlando Sanford (SFB) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (PIE) through Allegiant; Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL) through Delta; and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) through US Airways.
Located right near downtown, one of the largest meeting venues in Bristol, Viking Hall Civic Center, is home to all Bristol Tennessee High School sports and academic activities, as well as several concerts. The 6,500-seat center is also available for trade shows and other events, with 20,000 square feet of space can accommodate 150 10' x 10' booths. This unique venue is arranged with all its seats in front of the 80' x 60' permanent stage, making it perfect for presentations and awards ceremonies. The civic center also has two dressing rooms and two production offices.
Bristol's the Centre is the region's premier venue for meetings and banquets; its largest space, a 4,620-square-foot ballroom, can seat up to 350 guests, while two smaller meeting rooms accommodate groups of 20 to 175 people. Both meeting rooms are equipped with projectors, large-screen televisions, lecterns with wireless microphones and other audio-visual equipment. The Centre's 12' x 16' patio is also available for up to 175 people. Custom menus can be arranged.
Bristol hotels also make for great meeting venues. The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites – Bristol Conference Center has 226 rooms and some of the city's largest event facilities. Its 20,000 square feet of space includes nine rooms, including two ballrooms, and a capacity for as many as 700 people. The Hampton Inn Bristol and Courtyard Bristol also have private event space.
For a unique venue in Bristol, try the historic Paramount Center for the Arts. Built as a 1,500-seat movie theater in 1930, the center is an elegant setting for private events, complete with an opulent Art Deco interior and Wurlitzer Organ. The Bristol Train Station is another historic venue available for private events. A center for community life during the late 19th century, the train station has been restored and reopened as one of Bristol's most popular venues for banquets, dinners and social events. Bristol Motor Speedway, one of the most popular attractions in the city, has several spaces for private rentals, from banquet rooms to luxury sky boxes.
Photo by Flickr user : theaudi0slave