When planning meetings and events in San Antonio, planners are immediately struck by this festively decked-out destination, whose old-world charm captures more than 26 million visitors each year. With numerous convention venues, a vibrant business district and a host of cultural, historic, and entertainment attractions, it is no wonder that San Antonio's CVB has been the proud recipient of the Gold Service Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine for 24 consecutive years; and for 18 consecutive years has won the Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings magazine.
A major benefit of hosting a convention in San Antonio is the ease of getting from one place to the next, either on street level or via the River Walk. Hotels, restaurants and attractions are accessible by walkway, a short taxi ride by car or boat, or a hop on the downtown trolley. Most of the city's popular downtown attractions are within walking distance, such as the famed River Walk – a stretch of shops, restaurants, and clubs lining the picturesque San Antonio River – and the Alamo, one of Texas' most treasured historic structures.
Numerous San Antonio event venues are located within the culture-rich downtown, which places them within walking distance to thousands of hotel rooms. Overall, the city boasts more than 43,000 hotel rooms - 13,500 of those downtown. From boutique hotels to national and international chains to budget-friendly accommodations, there's a place for everybody.
Chief among San Antonio convention venues is Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, which offers more than 630,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as more than 440,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. In 2011, the convention center underwent a $40 million renovation that included green upgrades such as solar film and energy efficient lighting; and event venues such as the Lonesome Dove room and Plaza Acequia, a 20,000 square foot outdoor event space. Inside, renovations to the 2,319-seat Lila Cockrell Theatre resulted in an ideal venue for corporate presentations, lectures and general assemblies in addition to traditional performing arts events. The center has 45 loading docks including 24 covered docks. The San Antonio River extends through the center with river taxi stops, event patios, native landscaping and meandering limestone walkways.
Other convention venues in San Antonio include the signature Alamodome, which features ultra-modern technology and a layout perfect for major conventions, general assemblies, sporting events, and entertainment events. With a capacity for 65,000 in the domed area, it also features flexible column-free space with a curtain wall system allowing for multiple room configurations. The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, coming in 2013 , will be a full-scale renovation of the former Municipal Auditorium. This San Antonio treasure will retain its historical charm and grandeur while featuring exceptional sound, acoustics and seating arrangements. Plus, its location on the Museum Reach extension of the San Antonio River Walk will make it a gateway to the cultural heart of San Antonio.
Speaking of the River Walk, the city is nearing completion of a $358.3 million project to lengthen the famed waterway from three to 15 miles with the addition of two extensions: the 1.3 mile urban Museum Reach that opened in 2009, connecting downtown with museums, cultural districts, and the historic Pearl Brewery district to the north; and the 8-mile natural environment of the Mission Reach, which opened its first three miles in 2012. In 2013, the Mission Reach – the largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area – will connect the original River Walk to four of the city's Spanish Colonial missions to the south. (Sections are being opened as they are completed.) To see the River Walk in its ultimate party attire with beautifully crafted floats, groups should be sure to schedule trips during the spring season, when the city hosts its annual Fiesta San Antonio. Another glorious season occurs during the holidays, from Thanksgiving weekend to New Year's Day, when downtown comes alive in full holiday regalia and spectacular lighting effects. Other downtown attractions include the Arneson River Theatre, La Villita, the Majestic Theatre and the iconic Tower of the Americas at HemisFair Park.
Beyond downtown, there is a wealth of exciting and affordable team-building venues such as parks, theaters, museums, ranches, golf resorts, theme parks and more. More than 100 rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas range from the family friendly to the hair-raising, including the debut of the highly-anticipated Iron Rattler hybrid coaster in spring of 2013 Interact with the good-natured bottlenose dolphins at Sea World, the world's largest marine-life adventure park featuring its new Aquatica waterpark designed as a South Seas oasis. Golfers will love testing their skills at one of San Antonio's 40 public and private courses.
San Antonio's strong economy caters to a wide variety of industries including financial services, health care, national defense and tourism. Major corporations calling San Antonio home include USAA, Rackspace, Advantage Rent-a-Car, Clear Channel Communications, Valero Energy Corporation, Toyota Motor manufacturing plant, and more. San Antonio is often referred to as "Military City USA," as it is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB and Brooks City-Base, giving it one of the largest concentrations of military in the nation.
San Antonio is a proud member of the Convene Green Alliance, a grassroots initiative that seeks to lessen the impact organizations and their events have on the environment.