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Columbus, OH Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 263
Total Sleeping Rooms 28,854
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 4,000
Committable Meeting Rooms* 75
Convention Center Space 1,800,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 373,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 74,000 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $119
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $59
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $264
*Maximum for a single hotel

Columbus, OH Meeting Planning Overview

Welcome to the Cvent Columbus meeting planning guide, a city guide where you can find hotels, restaurants, and other meeting venues, as well as a wealth of Columbus meeting planning information. With a walkable, condensed convention package, entertainment districts, historic neighborhoods, art, and culture, Columbus is a highly accessible, clean, manageable city, making it an ideal meeting place.

Although Columbus is a major metropolis, it is extremely navigable and safe. The smart and open community offers a dynamic convention package that is sure to fit the needs of any group. Columbus is located within a one-hour flight or a day's drive of half of the U.S. population. Visitors who touch down at John Glenn Columbus International Airport find a recently renovated facility just 10 minutes east of downtown. Getting downtown is a breeze with the AirConnect express circulator, and once there, numerous transportation services, including the free CBUS circulator and self-driving shuttles that operate along the Scioto Mile, make it easy to get around.

The 1.8-million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) sits directly at the heart of Columbus' burgeoning downtown, lively urban entertainment districts, and diverse array of welcoming neighborhoods, making it easy to get to surrounding activities on foot. In July 2017, the GCCC completed a $140 million renovation and expansion project, highlighted by 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space.

Beyond the convention center, Columbus offers several other sizable event facilities. Nationwide Arena, Columbus' premier sports and entertainment attraction, can accommodate a wide range of functions, from intimate gatherings to large-scale events of up to 20,000 people. Groups willing to travel just outside of the downtown area can utilize the very meeting-friendly Ohio Expo Center, a 360-acre complex offering 1 million square feet of flexible space.

Supporting the package are 4,250 rooms available downtown, with 2,250 rooms connected or adjacent to the convention center. An additional 1,000 rooms are currently under construction, including a 468-room expansion of the Hilton Columbus Downtown that will create a 1,000-room convention hotel connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center by 2022. Ranging from luxury boutiques to familiar chains, hotel venues in Columbus meet a wide variety of needs and price points.

Held annually in March, Columbus' Arnold Sports Festival attracts more athletes than the Olympics do. The largest multi-sport event in the country takes over venues across the city, with more than 18,000 athletes from 80 nations competing in 50 sports and events.

Along with its population, the Columbus economy continues to grow. The city is home to four Fortune 500 companies: L Brands (Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, etc.), American Electric Power, Nationwide, and Cardinal Health. Other major corporate headquarters in Columbus include Abercrombie & Fitch, DSW, Express, Hexion, Huntington, Mettler-Toledo, Red Roof Inn, Rogue Fitness, Safelite, Scotts, Wendy's, White Castle, and Worthington Industries.

Experience Columbus' highly skilled services team, led by Bill Behrens, CMP, CTA, director of convention services and two-time ESPA Convention Services Manager of the year. The team works closely with planners to ensure that attendees have a terrific experience in Columbus and that any event exceeds all objectives and expectations. More than 2,000 front-line employees and volunteers who have earned the national Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) designation — the largest number of active CTAs in any city in the country — are ready to welcome and assist visitors to ensure that everyone has a positive experience in the city.

About Columbus, OH / Additional Info

Columbus is the 14th-largest city in the United States, as well as the largest and fastest-growing city in Ohio. It is fast becoming known as one of the nation's most creative, forward-thinking, and exciting cities. Named one of the New York Times' 50 Places to Go in 2019 and celebrated for its incredible arts, entertainment, fashion, and culinary offerings; exciting collegiate and professional sports teams and events; and spectacular riverfront with a sprawling ribbon of parkland on the Scioto Mile through downtown, this city on the move has something for everyone.

Each of Columbus' vibrant neighborhoods offers its own distinct flair. Collectively, these districts are referred to as the "Five on High," as they sit on a 5-mile stretch of High Street, the city's main thoroughfare. Between the University District, the Short North Arts District, The Arena District, Downtown, and German Village, attendees can choose from hundreds of restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, galleries, and more.

The capital city as a whole features an incredible food scene, with top-ranked chefs, a rich farm-to-table movement, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and creative artisan desserts, beers, wines, and spirits. Columbus has consistently gained national recognition for its food scene in recent years and offers more than 100 restaurants within walking distance of the convention center, with the largely local options ranging from fast-casual to fine dining and everything in between.

Additionally, the city's art scene is bursting with creativity, leading Columbus to be named one of the 30 most fun places to live in the U.S. It has the third-highest concentration of fashion designers in the country, behind New York and Los Angeles.

As Ohio's capital, Columbus provides proximity to powerful government leaders, legislators, and influencers who are instrumental in shaping business and economic policy. The city's workforce is also fueled by one of the largest student populations in the nation. Among the more than 60 college and university campuses are The Ohio State University, one of the country's largest universities with more than 57,000 students at its main campus alone, and Columbus State Community College, the largest community college in Ohio and among the largest in the nation.

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz about Columbus in recent years, with national recognition including:

  • Inclusion in Chicago Tribune's nine must-see destinations worth a visit in 2019.
  • Food & Wine's declaration that it is one of 32 Places to Go (and Eat) in 2019.
  • Considered to be one of America's best large cities, according to Resonance Consultancy research.
  • Time (again) named Columbus one of the 10 best big cities.
  • The best American city to work in tech, according to Smart Asset.
  • Marriott called Columbus a top destination for solo female travelers.
  • Columbus ranked "Highest in Visitor Satisfaction in the Midwest" by J.D. Power in the 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction Study.
  • Columbus won the $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge.
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