Welcome to the Meeting and Event Planning Guide to San Francisco - a city guide for meeting professionals. With its mild, spring-like climate, stunning cityscape that includes 7.5 miles of waterfront, and landmark attractions, San Francisco is a popular destination for business and leisure travelers alike. In fact, its total number of annual visitors and convention participants regularly tops 16 million people, and it ranks among the top 10 North American destinations for conventions and conferences. Trendy and popular, meeting and event planning in San Francisco has a lot to offer to planners to ensure the success of their meetings, events and conferences.
Travelers can easily reach the city via plane at San Francisco International Airport or nearby Oakland International Airport. Once in the city, guests can travel from one site to the next thanks to the affordable, 103-mile Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. The iconic San Francisco cable cars also take guests to destinations such as Fisherman's Wharf, PIER 39, and Aquatic Park.
San Francisco's public transportation network also provides easy access to the Moscone Center, San Francisco's premier facility for meetings and conventions. Comprised of North and South and West halls, the Moscone Center encompasses over two million square feet of space, including more than 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and 106 meeting rooms. The North and South Moscone can provide up to 442,000 of exhibit space, while its Gateway Ballroom can host up to 1,300 people for banquets and receptions. West Moscone's three floors of space can accommodate nearly 300,000 square feet of exhibit space total, in addition to ballroom and lobby function areas, which makes it an excellent option for San Francisco event planning.
Aside from its versatile spaces, the Moscone Center boasts an ideal location in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of multiple San Francisco meeting hotels and more than 20,000 hotel rooms. Overall, for meeting planning San Francisco, the city has more than 33,000 hotel rooms at properties that offer nearly one million square feet of meeting space. In addition to well-appointed overnight accommodations, planners can host receptions, post-event cocktail hours, meetings and more at hotels such as the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco Marriott Marquis, InterContinental, Westin St. Francis, Wyndham Parc 55, Grand Hyatt, and Hyatt Regency San Francisco.
Outside of traditional space, San Francisco is home to an impressive array of captivating and memorable attractions that double as unique event locales. The Asian Art Museum, Legion of Honor and de Young all offer stunning settings for everything from an intimate dinner for 10 to a reception for 2,500. Captivate attendees by hosting a reception or gala for up to 550 people among the jellies, octopus, sharks and other aquatic life inhabiting the Aquarium of the Bay. In Golden Gate Park the popular Conservatory of Flowers offers five exhibit spaces marked by exotic plants and flowers, and stunning architecture. The nearby California Academy of Sciences combines an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and world-class research facility all under one, living, green roof.
In San Francisco, it’s easy to go green when it comes to meetings. The city has been making tremendous strides to be an eco-friendly destination and has pioneered a number of sustainable practices. It regularly earns a spot on green city lists such as Meeting Strategies Best Places to MeetGreen Scorecard, SustainLane's U.S. City Rankings on sustainability, and Popular Science's 50 Green Cities in America. It currently has an 80 percent diversion rate, with a goal of zero waste by 2020. In addition to a number of hotel and restaurant facilities doing their part to implement green initiatives, San Francisco event planning gives alternative choices to planners to suit their needs, like the Moscone Center, which is leading the way with the largest city-owned solar installation in the country on its roof.
A principal banking and finance center on the West Coast in the early 20th century, San Francisco is now home to numerous financial institutions and multinational banks, as well as six Fortune 500 companies. Among the largest 25 public Bay Area companies are Chevron Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., McKesson Corp., Apple, Inc., Intel Corp., Wells Fargo Bank, Safeway, Inc., and Cisco Systems. The city is also home to the University of California, San Francisco, which operates the top-ranked UCSF Medical Centers. The University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Golden Gate University, City College of San Francisco, and Academy of Art University are among the other educational institutions based in the city.