Hagerstown, in Maryland’s Washington County, is known for its rich history and abundant cultural scene. The gateway to the mountains of Western Maryland was a significant crossroads of the Civil War, home to Antietam National Battlefield, South Mountain State Battlefield, and the July 1863 Battle of Hagerstown. Some Hagerstown event venues can be found in its Arts & Entertainment District, like the historic Maryland Theatre, home to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the region’s premier professional symphony orchestra. Other artistic icons include the Western Maryland Blues Fest, a nationally acclaimed festival for blues fans, and Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, which has the coveted accreditation of the American Association of Museums, an honor bestowed upon fewer than 10% of the nation’s museums.
Located on I-70 and I-81, the city is within a four-hour drive of some of the largest population centers along the East Coast, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, and Richmond. Hagerstown Regional Airport, eight miles from downtown, offers daily direct service on Sun Air to Washington Dulles International and weekly direct service on Allegiant Air to Orlando’s Sanford International Airport. Hagerstown is within 70 miles of Baltimore-Washington International, Dulles, Harrisburg International, and Washington National airports.
Plans have been discussed for a convention center, but for now, hotel venues in Hagerstown are filling in. The largest facility is the 144-room Clarion Hotel & Hager Hall Conference & Event Center, which offers more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space in 22 rooms. In addition, the 108-room Hagerstown Hotel & Convention Center can handle a meeting of up to 450 people in 11 meeting rooms; the 86-room Best Western Grand Venice Hotel & Conference Center has 14,370 square feet of function space in 10 rooms; and the 159-room Ramada Plaza can accommodate groups of up to 250 people in its nine meeting rooms.
Among the non-hotel venues, Hagerstown Community College offers a 472-seat theater, a 572-seat amphitheater, and a conference center that can handle up to 120 people. The University of Maryland at Hagerstown offers eight conference rooms, the largest seating 40 theater-style, plus a computer lab to seat 30 people; and the Washington County Agricultural Education Center can accommodate a meeting for 400 people.
Several refined possibilities come to mind when considering special event venues for off-site functions in Hagerstown. Cortland Mansion, with a grand ballroom that can handle a party for 250 people, is a wedding venue but other events are welcome; and The Barn at Springfield Farm, which can accommodate up to 450 people, is a historic barn in nearby Williamsport. There are several purpose-restored downtown venues, including Leiters’ Downtown, which features a ballroom with restored hardwood floors and wrought iron chandeliers; it can host an event for up to 200 people overlooking the historic downtown. Two of the area’s well known institutions devoted to the arts will also allow groups to use their facilities: The Maryland Theatre can host a special event in its 1,300-seat main theater, 300 people in the courtyard, and 150 in the lobby; and at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, various galleries can host a reception of up to 200 people and the atrium can handle up to 350 people.
Hagerstown offers meeting delegates a number of different options for dining. Dan’s Restaurant and Tap House, which features 24 craft beers, is owned by bestselling author Nora Roberts and operated by her family. Barefoot Bernie’s restaurant, at the Clarion, has a tropical atmosphere and sense of fun that spreads next door to Cancun Cantina, which features live entertainment. And in downtown’s Arts & Entertainment District, 28 South is famous for its hand-ground burgers, and Bulls & Bears is known for featuring affordable dining in a New York pub atmosphere. Two prime choices for planners considering a banquet location are Nick’s Airport Inn, a longtime favorite of locals for fine dining that has a banquet room that can seat 100 people, and the Old South Mountain Inn restaurant, which is located in an inn built in 1732 and has banquet space for up to 150 people.