Located in the heartland of Texas, Waco's fun-loving spirit and convenient location have made it a popular convention spot for years. If a group knows little or nothing about Texas, the Waco event venues—which range from celebrating the country's oldest soft drink, a Grand Master of Scottish Rite Masons and the iconic Texas Ranger—will certainly bring them up to speed. Once in town, guests will likely have to travel no more than 15 minutes to get from one destination to the next (public transit is available), whether it be one of Waco's more than 38 hotels, 13 major attractions or various restaurants.
The city is just off I-35 and between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, making it just a three-hour drive from 80 percent of the state. Plus, the renovated and expanded Waco Regional Airport is an easy connection from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Houston's George R. Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The largest among event facilities in Waco is the Waco Convention Center, which is the top venue for large conventions and conferences in central Texas. The center has 119,000 square feet of meeting space, including two exhibit halls, the new 14,165-square-foot Brazos Ballroom and a total of 18 potential breakout rooms. The convention center is also currently undergoing renovations that will expand its meeting space to 144,000 square feet.
The 195-room Hilton Waco is connected to the center via covered walkway; it offers over 10,000 square feet of additional meeting space. Across the street, the recently renovated, 147-room Courtyard Waco has two meeting rooms comprising a total of 1,250 square feet of space. More than 2,300 hotel rooms can be found within the city limits, many of which are located at properties that also provide meeting and event space.
One-of-a-kind event spaces in Waco begin with the 18,500-square-foot Dr. Pepper museum, where unique artifacts exploring the history of America's oldest soft drink create a unique backdrop for receptions, banquets and meetings. Texas pride is on display at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, whose newly remodeled John Knox Memorial Center has room for 400 guests seated or 600 guests auditorium-style. Other Waco event sites include the Extraco Events Center, one of the largest indoor arenas in the state; the 10,000-square-foot Phoenix Ballroom; the 3,000-square-foot Texas Sports Hall of Fame; and 8,600-square-foot Lee Lockwood Library and Museum.
After a long day in the meeting room, there's no better way to kick back Texas-style than by enjoying dinner and dancing at one of Waco's many fine restaurants or dance halls. In the recently renovated warehouse district, Ninfas Mexican restaurant has a private room for up to 70 guests and lively Tex-Mex decor. Diamondback's has various private dining options for up to 100 people. George's, Uncle Dan's Barbeque and Wild West also have private dining space and catering options.