Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Augusta, a city guide for meeting professionals. One of only three cities founded along the Savannah River, Augusta boasts a fantastic blend of Southern charm, rich history, outdoor recreation, strong arts and culture, and outstanding meeting and event venues. While it may be the second oldest city in Georgia, Augusta is anything but outdated. The Garden City is proud of its storied past, but also dedicated to its present reputation as a classic South leisure and business destination and committed to its future growth.
Augusta is conveniently set in a prime location on Interstate 20, 75 miles from Columbia, 122 miles from Savannah, 130 miles from Atlanta, and 160 miles from Charlotte. Visitors get to Augusta via Augusta Regional Airport. Situated nine miles from downtown Augusta, the airport serves as the only Central Savannah River Area airport that serves both commercial and civil aviation flights, and offers daily service to Atlanta, and Charlotte. Those who arrive via private aircraft can fly into Daniel Field, which is located one mile west of downtown Augusta. To get around the city, meeting delegates can aboard Augusta Public Transit, which operates nine fixed routes throughout Richmond County and provides downtown Augusta service.
Built upon a strong economy focused on health care, military, and manufacturing, Augusta is also a center of high education, as it's home to Augusta State University, Augusta Technical College, and Paine College. Augusta is also home to the internationally recognized Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the Masters Golf Tournament every April. Founded in 1931 by golf legend and businessman Bobby Jones on the site of a former indigo plantation and commercial nursery, the legendary golf course features rolling hills, thousands of azalea bushes, yellow jasmine, flowering peace, and tea olive. While designing the course, Jones copied each hole from one of his favorite fairways worldwide.
Augusta is home to the sprawling Augusta Convention Center, which is located in the historic downtown district and along the Savannah River. The center has 100,000 square feet of meeting space, a new 38,000-square-foot, column-free exhibit space and the 372-room Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center all under one roof. The convention center proudly unveiled the new Trade, Exhibit, and Augusta Convention Center in January 2013; the Convention Center boasts an exterior reminiscent of an old area cotton mill, a vibrant interior and, in addition to its 38,000-square-foot column-free exhibit space, 29,000 square feet of pre-function space and 49,000 square feet of adjoining meeting space.
In addition to its convention center, Augusta is home to a number of unique event venues that offer as much Southern hospitality as they do meeting and function capabilities. Nestled in the heart of downtown, the Augusta Entertainment Complex encompasses the 23,000-square-foot James Brown Arena and the adjacent 10,000-square-foot Bell Auditorium. Host to major concerts and sporting events, James Brown Arena welcomes private sporting and event rentals, in addition to group sales for calendar events. Bell Auditorium welcomes groups to attend its theatrical and musical productions, as well as rent out its 2,782-seat theater and other event spaces. Also situated in downtown Augusta, the historic Imperial Theatre, which hosts the Augusta Ballet, Augusta Opera, and Augusta Players, also welcomes groups for private lectures, theater-style meetings, and symposiums. For a more intimate theater experience, groups can head to the Le Chat Noir Theatre & Cocktail Lounge, which, in addition to such scheduled events as off-beat theater, concerts, improv comedy, and movies, can host private events in its 80-seat black box space.
Augusta special event venues that recognize the city's unique history include the Augusta Museum of History. The museum features Augusta's Story, which takes visitors on a 12,000-year journey with stops in prehistoric times, Augusta's Civil Rights Movement role, and other highlights. The museum's Sport of Golf exhibit takes a look at the area's four oldest golf clubs, including Augusta National, while the James Brown exhibit celebrates Augusta's son through a series of personal artifacts, concert footage, studio recordings, and other items. The museum welcomes facility buy-outs and other private events in its 6,431-square-foot Rotunda, 100-seat theater, and two 30-person classrooms. Another venue, Augusta Canal National Heritage Center, is dedicated to the exploration of the nation's only industrial power canal still in use. The Augusta Canal National Heritage Center is home to the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center, a self-guided walking tour and an open-air passenger boat tour along the Augusta Canal. Groups can secure private charters aboard the two open-air 36-passenger tour boats, as well as hold an event for up to 300 people in the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center.