As the city's prime business district, Center City Philadelphia is replete with arts, shopping, entertainment and dining choices that reflect Philadelphia's rise as a serious destination over the past couple of decades. Meeting venues in Center City not only rival sites in neighboring cities New York and Washington, DC, but those of Las Vegas – at a far more moderate price.
Philadelphia is within a day's drive for 40 percent of the U.S. population and two hours' flying time for 50 percent of Americans. Philadelphia is at the center of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, with frequent high-speed Acela service to New York and Washington, DC. It's also one of the nation's most walkable cities – which often means savings on transport services.
Chief among Center City meeting venues is the newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC), which caps a multi-billion-dollar Philadelphia meetings and visitor package that has been over a decade in the making. With its one million square feet of usable space, PCC offers one of the largest ballrooms on the east coast, along with 90 meeting rooms and a new floor-to-ceiling glass entrance steps from The Avenue of the Arts and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city's culture corridors.
Hotel rooms within walking distance of the PCC now number over 10,000, and more are coming in price points for all budgets. These include the 1,408-room Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, with 90,000 square feet of its own space; the 581-room Loews, with 45,000 square feet; and the 481-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City, with 30,000 square feet (including IACC-certified space). One of the newest is Le Meridien Philadelphia, a 202-room central district hotel created inside a historic building a mere block from the PCC. Features include 5,500 square feet of meeting space; its Adele Library, with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooks historic City Hall.
New event venues in Center City include the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts' new Lenfest Plaza, an open-air piazza that serves as gateway to Museum Row and a great outdoor break area for attendees. Dozens of museums, galleries, theaters and performing arts venues like the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts abound in this downtown district, as well as offer unique spaces for groups.
When it comes to dining venues in Center City, the first choice for groups is historic Reading Terminal Market, right next to PCC. Attendees may be dispersed to select their own meals and return to the PCC for a communal meal. If fine dining is in order, then restaurants such as Buddakan, Tamarind and Morimoto are available. In addition, the local Garces Restaurant group owns Amada, Tinto, Distrito, Chifa, Village Whiskey, Garces Trading Company and J.G. Domestic, and welcomes groups.