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Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Dallas – everything meeting professionals need to know about planning successful events in Dallas. In addition to being one of the top leisure travel destinations in Texas, Dallas is also the No. 8 convention city in the nation. That comes as no surprise, since the vibrant city offers an ever-evolving stream of great meeting hotels spanning the entire spectrum of luxury and affordability, flexible event spaces, world-class dining and entertainment options, and cultural institutions. Blending historic charm with modern amenities, Dallas has clearly mastered the concept of southern hospitality with a Texas twist.
Getting to DallasArriving in the city itself is a breeze, thanks to its central location and less than four hours by air from the East or West coasts. Plus, DFW Airport provides nonstop service to 159 domestic and 57 international destinations, while Dallas Love Field Airport, home to Southwest Airlines and other regional airliners, provides a quick 7-mile trip to Downtown Dallas.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) offers 45 miles of light rail lines and 120 bus routes – including convention center service – making it a convenient and reliable option for out-of-town guests. DART also offers D-Link, a free bus service from Downtown Dallas to surrounding districts like the Bishop Arts District and The Cedars, sleek developments such as Victory Park and Uptown, and areas with a little something for everyone like the Main Street District and the West End Historic District.
Meeting SpacesLeading the way in large-scale meeting facilities is the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, one of the biggest in the nation, making it an enticing facility for planners looking for the perfect place for growing Dallas meeting planning needs. Redefining form and function, the convention center uses clean lines and original artwork throughout its one million square feet of space, which includes a 203,000-square-foot column-free exhibit hall and a 1,750-person theater. The facility also features close to 100 meeting rooms, a 9,800-seat arena, two large ballrooms, and more than 700,000 square feet of continuous exhibit space. Welcoming everything from Texas-sized events to small intimate meetings, the convention center's professional staff provides everything from gourmet catering to concierge services.
Conveniently connected to the Dallas Convention Center by skybridge, the Omni Dallas Hotel has 1,001 guest rooms and incorporates more than 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Included among its forty meeting rooms are the Dallas and Trinity ballrooms, comprised of 32,000 and 15,000 square feet, respectively. Event planners can take advantage of the Omni Dallas, or use the plentiful meeting space at the city's more than 300 hotels. From the luxury boutique Hotel Zaza in Uptown to the state-of-the-art Renaissance Dallas, hotels in the city are all-in-one options for both accommodations and meeting space. Additionally, more than 16 hotel projects are in the works over the next two years, bringing more than 4,300 hotel rooms to the city’s inventory. Those plans include a brand new Virgin Hotel concept, adding 200 rooms in the trendy Design District and the Statler Hotel, a $175 million project that will convert a 59-year-old Downtown landmark into 161 hotel rooms and 219 residences, and will include meeting, retail, and office space, four restaurants, and a hotel lounge.
For an event out of the ordinary, Dallas' special event facilities offer versatile space, world-class service and authentic Texas flair. Host a grand gala for up to 1,500 attendees at the historic Belo Mansion & Pavilion, or treat guests to a night of honkytonk, bull riding, and Texas barbecue at Gilley's Dallas.
Or be a part of a favorite Texas pastime at the AT&T Stadium. Here, social event, tradeshow, and conference guests can take advantage of state-of-the-art technology, superb catering services, and event spaces that include the Cowboys Locker Room and Owner's Club. AT&T Stadium is the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the stadium features numerous record-breaking features, including two monumental arches, huge center-hung HDTV video boards, a retractable roof, and end zone glass doors. With the capacity to accommodate groups of any size, AT&T Stadium is the ideal location for meetings, banquets, conventions, and conferences.
Dallas Business Climate
Numerous industries thrive in Dallas, including petroleum, computer technology, telecommunications, banking, and transportation. The Dallas-Fort Worth area boasts one of the largest concentrations of headquarters in the county, including eleven Fortune 500 companies in Dallas itself. Namely, these top eleven are AT&T, HollyFrontier, Texas Instruments, Dean Foods, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, Energy Future Holdings, Energy Transfer Equity, ACS, Celanese, and Atmos Energy. Also a center for higher education, Dallas is home to 13 colleges, including UTSW Medical Center, SMU, UNT Dallas, Dallas Baptist University and Paul Quinn College, the oldest historically black college west of the Mississippi River.
With about 1.3 million residents, Dallas is the third largest city in Texas and the main economic hub of the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area. First founded by Europeans around a crossing at the Trinity River, Dallas remained under Spanish rule until 1821, and later under Mexican rule until the formation of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Nine years later, the city was voluntarily annexed by the United States, at which point it began its rise to economic prominence thanks to cotton, grain, and, of course, oil.
Today, Dallas is a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and industrious spirit. Defined by rolling prairie flatland and an abundance of creeks and rivers, Dallas' 385 square miles are also marked by several towering skyscrapers. In fact, several buildings reach over 700 feet in height, including the Renaissance Tower, the JPMorgan Chase Tower, and Fountain Place. At 560 feet, the Reunion Tower remains an iconic landmark on the Dallas skyline and is now home to the new Five Sixty restaurant by Wolfgang Puck. The famous red Pegasus, a well-known symbol of Dallas, now sits outside of the Omni Dallas Hotel and is a popular photo spot for visitors and locals alike.
Dallas comes alive after dark with a wealth of live music attractions, restaurants, bars, and comedy clubs. Groups can pay a visit to a brewery and multiple restaurants in Trinity Groves, a 15-acre restaurant, retail, artist, and entertainment destination in West Dallas. The area is also home to the Restaurant Concept Incubator program, which encourages culinary entrepreneurs to develop restaurant concepts to become the newest additions on the block.
Enjoy cocktails nearly as smooth as the jazz music performed nightly by musicians at Sambuca restaurant in Uptown or go for a live music session at one of the numerous venues in Deep Ellum (Bomb Factory, Trees, and Adair’s Saloon are just a few.) Sit back for a night of laughs at Backdoor Comedy, voted one of the best comedy clubs in Dallas, or for a more laidback night on the town, enjoy dinner at one of many top-notch restaurants such as Fearing's, Abacus, and Bob's Steak & Chop House, where the porterhouse steak weighs in at an impressive 28 ounces.
Arts and CultureDallas is home to largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 blocks with plenty to take in. Take a stroll through the district to visit some of Dallas’ most significant cultural landmarks — they’re all within walking distance of each other and conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, just across the street from Klyde Warren Park. The Dallas Museum of Art is known as one of the most innovative art institutions in the country, and along with the Crow Collection of Asian Art, provides free daily admission for visitors.
Dallas is also a great city to enjoy art of a different form: fashion. From the luxury spots like NorthPark Center, Galleria Dallas, Highland Park Village, and the flagship Neiman Marcus to the budget-friendly outlets on the outskirts of the city center (Allen to the north and Grand Prairie to the west) there’s something for everyone at all price points. Mix in with the locals at Mockingbird Station or West Village, both known for their unique lineups of stores, restaurants, and boutiques. Have more time? Go for funky finds in vintage stores in the Design District or Bishop Arts before a stop in the Knox/Henderson area for more retail fun.
Catch a game at the new AT&T Stadium, the largest dome stadium in the world, home to the Dallas Cowboys. And with five other professional sports teams – the Dallas Mavericks (basketball), Dallas Wings (basketball), Dallas Stars (hockey), Texas Rangers (baseball), and FC Dallas (soccer), there’s always a great game to watch.
Staying active in Dallas is easy thanks to more than 350 parks and 160 miles of biking and hiking trails. The 5.2-acre Klyde Warren Park, a central green space in the middle of a bustling downtown scene, delivers a comprehensive activities calendar for locals and visitors, including daily fitness classes, a dog park, a children's center, games, and live music. It is accessible via foot, trolley or bicycle from multiple neighborhoods. In South Dallas, over 125 miles of biking and jogging trails crisscross Fair Park, host of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Year-round sunny weather in Dallas offers predictably pleasant experiences! Come fall or spring, summer or winter, a great outdoor adventure is waiting for you in Dallas.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas (KBHCCD) offers over one million square feet of exhibit space. It is one of the largest in the country, but offers flexible spaces that make it just as suited for large tradeshows and international conventions as for intimate business meetings and corporate functions. Events can take advantage of 726,726 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, including a 203,000-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall – the largest in the United States. Additional venue options include the 9,816-seat arena, 1,750-seat theater, two ballrooms, and 96 meeting rooms.
Blending form and function, KBHCCD is not just a practical choice for major events, but also a beautiful one. Welcoming guests to the center is Pioneer Plaza, where one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world re-creates a Texas cattle drive with 40 longhorns and three cowboys. Inside, terrazzo flooring and art depicting the history of Dallas and its residents create an inviting setting for attendees.
For events large and small, the convention center provides state-of-the-art technology that keeps visitors connected. In fact, it was the first wireless convention center in the world, and remains one of the fastest with its Cisco-Certified system. Other amenities include a fiber-optic transmission system for audio and video broadcasts throughout the center, catering by award-winning chefs of Centerplate, three permanent first aid rooms, and two gift shops, in addition to souvenirs, small parcel shipping, copying, and faxing.
In late 2011, the city of Dallas debuted the center's headquarters hotel. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center by sky bridge, the Omni Dallas Hotel has 1,001 guest rooms and incorporates more than 110,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Included among its 40 meeting rooms are the Dallas and Trinity ballrooms, boasting 32,000 and 15,000 square feet, respectively. The hotel also hosts an impressive lineup of dining options, and recently added four more restaurants just outside of the hotel and in walking distance of KBHCCD. Add in access to DART, with a station just outside the convention center, and meetings at KBHCCD are as easy as they come.
American Airlines Center
Home to the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and Dallas Stars hockey team, this Dallas events facility is both the premier sports and entertainment venue in the city as well as one of the most technologically-advanced arenas in the country. Located in the heart of 75-acre Victory Park, the center's flexible event spaces range in capacities of 900 guests. The grand AT&T Plaza, luxurious Platinum Club, and unique Dr. Pepper Bottling Plant are all available options for banquets, dinners, sales meetings, fundraisers, and more.
The largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue in the world is more than the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Your guests will be amazed by its record-breaking features, including two monumental arches, retractable roof, huge center-hung HDTV video boards as well as an impressive collection of artwork. The largest spaces, with a capacity of 7,000 in the reception area and 2,500 in a banquet room, are prime real estate for meetings and events at the stadium.
Dallas Market Center
The four buildings of the five-million-square-foot Dallas Market Center – Market Hall, Trade Mart, World Trade Center, and International Floral & Gift Center – host more than 50 markets each year as well as private functions. Included in the event rental options are the 15-story Hall of Nations atrium for up to 1,500 guests, the resort-like Grand Pavilion for up to 2,000 guests, and several 12th- and 13th-floor meeting rooms. Award-winning catering from ARAMARK, over 2,000 complimentary parking spaces and onsite security are among the amenities enjoyed by guests and planners at Dallas Market Center.
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
Distance: 6 milesApproximate taxi fare: $28 USD
In 2014 the airport underwent a $519 million renovation, which opened 20 new gates, expanded the main lobby and baggage claim areas, opened a new ticketing/check-in hall and doubled the number of airport concessionaires.
Public Transportation - Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
DART's Love Link 524 operates between Dallas Love Field and Inwood/Love Field Station, providing an airport connection to the DART Rail Green Line and Orange Line.
Approximate taxi cost to Downtown Dallas: $18
Approximate shuttle cost to Downtown Dallas: $19 per person
Southwest, Delta Airlines and Virgin America
DFW International Airport (DFW)
Approximate taxi fare: $54 USD
DFW Airport is currently upgrading its four original terminals with a $2.7 billion Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP) and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Public Transportation - Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Approximate taxi cost to Downtown Dallas: $40
Approximate shuttle cost to Downtown Dallas: $19 per person
Air Carriers 10 Domestic and 16 Foreign Flag
Amtrak serves the city's Union Station with the Texas Eagle Route. The Texas Eagle offers daily service between Chicago and San Antonio and connecting service between San Antonio and Los Angeles three times a week via the Sunset Limited route.
From trains and buses to street cars and trolley, Dallas gets you moving fast with your choice of convenient transportation options. Plus with more than 5,000 hotel rooms with direct light rail access downtown, getting around Dallas has never been easier!
DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT (DART) LIGHT RAIL
DART connects you to all Dallas entertainment districts, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, American Airlines Center, DFW and Love Field airports, as well as Trinity Rail Express (TRE).
TRINITY RAIL EXPRESS (TRE)
TRE connects Dallas and Fort Worth. And offers free WiFi!
MCKINNEY AVENUE TRANSIT TROLLEY (M-LINE)
The trolley loops through uptown, downtown, and the Dallas Arts District, providing stops along the way for easy access to anywhere you need to go.
Dallas Streetcar is a 1.6 mile dedicated streetcar track that connects commuters in Oak Cliff to the Dallas Union Station and the convention center.
D-LINK (BY DART)
Bus service provided by DART with access to Uptown, Victory Park, Dallas Arts District, West End, Downtown, Cedars/Southside, Bishop Arts District, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. and American Airlines Center.
Get going now
Dallas has you covered with options across the board. Log into the Uber or Lyft app on your smartphone, or try newcomer Wingz, to catch a ride. Taxis queue up outside every major hotel in Dallas so getting to your destination is as easy as can be, or jump on the DART bus service.
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