With few Westerners noticing, Chongqing grew into being China's largest city—which is no easy feat. With a regional population of some 28 million, Chongqing is a major manufacturing, transportation, and economic hub (Ford Motor Co. has three plants in the city, a small indication of its importance). It sits in Central China on a peninsula of land that divides the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers and it is nestled by several mountain ranges. The Three Gorges section of the Yangtze River is close by. Chongqing event venues are cosmopolitan, yet have local flair.
Chongqing's airport is the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport (CKG), which is 13 miles north of the city center. Service is primarily domestic, but Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo are among the international cities served.
Chief among meeting venues, Chongqing International Convention & Exhibition Center is a sleek glass building a few steps from the Yangtze River; it is equipped with 700,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space, an exhibition hall measuring 150,000 square feet, a ballroom able to host 1,100 persons, and a lecture theater able to accommodate another 1,100.
Hotel venues in Chongqing are an array of international brands. Choices include the 464-room Sofitel Forebase Chongqing, which has 32,700 square feet of function space, including a ballroom able to host up to 500 persons; the 423-room Hilton Chongqing, which has 14 meeting rooms and a ballroom also able to accommodate 500; the 416-room Kempinski Hotel Chongqing, which has six meeting rooms and a ballroom that yet again caters to 500; the 319-room Le Meridien Chongqing, Nanan, which has nine meeting rooms and, at 11,000 square feet, the largest ballroom in the city; and the 308-room Radisson Blu Plaza Chongqing, which has a 10,000-square-foot ballroom with space for 1,000 persons and a conference center with two meeting rooms and its own 1,800-square-foot ballroom.
Some very special event venues in Chongqing take advantage of its wonderful location between the Yangtze and Jialing rivers: Choose between the China Three Gorges Museum, which has a large circular atrium for events; General Joseph W. Stilwell Museum (named for the U.S. general who was the main American presence here during World War II), which is a three-story house that has retained its 1940's design and atmosphere; Zhaomushan Botanical Garden, a mile south of the city center that has gorgeous grounds and lawns and event pagodas; Chongqing Science & Technology Museum, which is on the north side of the Jialing River, opened in 2009 and has a 250,000-square-foot exhibition hall, 278-seat IMAX theater, and a 60-seat, 4D theater, among other spaces; and the Chongqing Planning Exhibition Gallery, which sits right on the tip of the confluence of the city's two rivers and has meeting and function space and a very rose-tinted glasses view of the damming of the Three Gorges stretch of the Yangtze River.
Excellent independent restaurants here that can cater to groups include Cai Xiang Yuan, which is on Zhigang Avenue and has 320 seats. Also on the same avenue is Little Swan Zhigang Restaurant, which has a private function room that in the evening espies the Yangtze River all lit up with small lights. Excellent choices in hotels not already mentioned include the Man Ho Chinese Restaurant at the 431-room JW Marriott Hotel Chongqing; Emerald Sea at the 55-suite InterContinental Hotel Chongqing Suites, and Hoi Yat Heen at the 389-room Harbour Plaza Chongqing, all of which prepare inventive local menus.