Incorporated as a city in 1909, Grand Prairie has a long history of involvement in the defense and aviation industries. Today, a naval air station and Lockheed Martin are both major employers.
Alongside and between interstates 20 and 30 – and with Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport directly 14 miles to the north – Grand Prairie is almost equidistant between the centers of Fort Worth and Dallas while being situated next to Arlington.
In fact, the nearest convention center and conference center is the Arlington Convention Center, with 50,000 square feet of exhibit space and the 30,000-square-foot Grand Hall. The convention center is approximately a five-mile shot west on I-30. Among the largest venues in Grand Prairie itself is the Ruthe Jackson Center, with 18,000 square feet of meeting space.
Planners will find that the greatest benefit to meeting in the area is choice of the unique event venues in Grand Prairie. Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie is a horse-racing track, and its clubhouse level has terraced dining with 1,000 seats and a lounge for 125 people that overlooks the horses' saddling and paddock area. All together are Louis Tussaud's Palace of Wax, Ripley's Believe It or Not! and Ripley's Enchanted Mirror Maze, which have oodles of group space. In addition, the 6,350-seat Verizon Theatre and 60-lane Forum Bowling Lanes both can look after groups.
Accommodations include Value Inn, Budget Suites, Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn, and La Quinta Inn. Hotel meeting space does exist, just not much of it. The Holiday Inn Express has a room for 30 persons, while the Hyatt Place tops out the hotel meeting space in the city with space for 120. Planners are better off planning meetings and fun together at one of the Grand Prairie venues listed above.
While Grand Prairie is among those areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth region where something other than fast food is hard to find, two excellent exceptions include Outlaw's BBQ & Grill, a one-off restaurant that has space for groups of up to 120 persons; and the Oasis Restaurant & Lakeview Bar, by a marina, which affords a wonderful view of Grand Prairie's Joe Pool Lake.
One unique attraction here is Traders Village. Held every Saturday and Sunday, it is the largest weekend flea market in Texas, and for anywhere in Texas to claim that, you know it has to be big.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user : R Hensley.