Welcome to the Columbus Meeting and Event Planning Guide, a city guide written with meeting planners in mind. As Georgia's third-largest city, Columbus bursts with historical charm, nationally acclaimed museums and untouched natural surroundings, serving as well as a fantastic destination for events both large and small. The pedestrian-friendly city hugs the Chattahoochee River and sits within 90 minutes of Atlanta, Macon and Montgomery. While in Columbus, meeting participants can walk amongst the Historic District's century-old homes, take in performances at the State Theatre of Georgia and access Uptown Columbus nightlife via the popular Chattahoochee RiverWalk, among many other activities. What's more, many of Columbus' most treasured attractions offer private event spaces that can be tailored for group gatherings.
The Columbus region is served by the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, which offers daily service to cities served by Delta Air Lines. Once in Columbus, visitors can ride the city's Metra bus system, which provides local service along nine routes that run Monday through Saturday. Thanks to Columbus' pedestrian-friendly setting, meeting participants can easily get to a number of attractions and sites from the 15-mile-long paved Chattahoochee RiverWalk, which snakes along the Chattahoochee River and provides access to many of the city's highlights.
One such destination, located along the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, is the sprawling Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center. The 182,000-square-foot center is housed in the historic Columbus Iron Works building, which still features brick walls, huge timbers and exposed ceilings after an extensive renovation and restoration. The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center features a 22,000-square-foot ballroom and 55,000 square feet of exhibit space, as well as a full-service kitchen and 21 meeting rooms accommodating 20 to 500 guests. The center's Uptown Columbus location puts it within steps of museums, nightlife, restaurants and accommodations.
Many Columbus attractions set along the Chattahoochee RiverWalk offer private event spaces that can be rented for a range of group functions. The National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center emphasizes loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage in its collection of military artifacts and interactive exhibits designed to familiarize visitors with the infantryman journey. Visitors can reflect while exploring the Memorial Walk of Honor, take a step back in time at the World War II Company Street or even take in a movie at the museum's IMAX theater. Many of the museum's spaces, including its 13,500-square-foot Grand Hall and 6,500-square-foot Lobby, can be reserved for private events. Aside from the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center, groups can take in a show or hold events at Uptown Columbus' historic Springer Opera House. Built in 1871 and one of seven producing National Historic Landmark in the country, the opera house serves as the State Theatre of Georgia and operates the largest theater academy in the Southeast. Springer Opera House offers its 700-seat Emily Woodruff Hall, meeting rooms, classrooms and other spaces for meetings and events.
Additional unique Columbus venues include the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus. The only museum in the world dedicated to telling the complete naval story of the Civil War, the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus allows visitors to experience 19th-century naval combat firsthand by stepping aboard a full-scale representation of the USS Water Witch—which can also accommodate events throughout its gallery spaces. The Columbus Museum houses a collection of American art and regional history pieces, as well as offers function or meeting space in its three-level galleria, community room and 298-seat theater. Located near the Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts serves as the city's arts and entertainment hub and offers rental opportunities for its three performance halls, including its 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre.