Situated at the scenic confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, Charleston is the capital and largest city in the state of West Virginia. Permanently settled in 1788, Charleston has roughly 50 places listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including an entire historic neighborhood; but it is also home to Appalachian Power, Mountaineer Gas Company, West Virginia-American Water Company, Frontier Communications and West Virginia State University. It's this one-of-a-kind mix of small town and big city that makes Charleston event venues an obvious choice for meeting and convention groups in search of affordability, accessibility and friendliness.
The Charleston Civic Center is at the heart of the city's convention scene. Capable of seating up to 13,500 people, the center has 18 meeting rooms and a 50,086-square-foot Grand Hall that can accommodate an impressive 256 10-foot-by-10-foot booths. It also has an additional 30,500 square feet of column-free space in the Coliseum. Other amenities at the Charleston Civic Center include 30,000 square feet of lobby space, a 150-seat lounge, catering for up to 300 guests and complete audio-visual services.
Hotel venues in Charleston include the 195-room Holiday Inn Express, which offers an additional 2,000 square feet of event space. Just four blocks from the civic center is Charleston House, a 256-room luxury hotel, with 13,000 square feet of meeting space spread across 11 breakout rooms, the largest of which can seat 800 guests theater-style. The 253-room Embassy Suites is one of the largest meeting hotels in Charleston with 15,000 square feet of space, a greenery-filled, nine-story atrium and complimentary breakfast.
Several downtown Charleston special event venues are available for welcome receptions, awards ceremonies, post-convention celebrations and more. The Clay Center for Arts and Sciences has several spaces for rent, from the 1,883-seat Maier Foundation Performance Hall to the intimate John McClaugherty Performer's Lounge. Groups will create unbreakable ties as they navigate the New River on a whitewater rafting trip with River Expeditions or hike, zipline and rappel through the New River Gorge with TreeTops Canopy Tours. For an outing that's a little less intense, book a trip on the New River Train, which offers serene rides through the picturesque New River Gorge.
Groups can also enjoy an event that's just as memorable from the comfort of one of Charleston's fine-dining establishments. Offering USDA prime beef and a sizeable wine list, The Chop House suggests that guests “prepare to be pampered” as they dine in one of its private or semi-private spaces. Racking up culinary awards, Blue Road Bistro has three private dining spaces, including the new Walnut Room for 50 guests. Located in an old C&O Railroad Depot, Laury's Restaurant serves American cuisine with French infusion in an elegant dining space that's perfect for professional networking groups or corporate lunches of 30 people.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user: Analogue Kid