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Harrisburg, PA Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 50
Total Sleeping Rooms 5,251
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 348
Committable Meeting Rooms* 32
Convention Center Space 1,000,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 172,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 54,000 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $110
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $69
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $158
*Maximum for a single hotel

Harrisburg, PA Meeting Planning Overview

The quaint Pennsylvanian city of Harrisburg may not be the first destination that comes to mind when considering meeting locales on the East Coast. However, with a convenient setting, first-class event facilities and a revitalized downtown – all at an affordable price tag – it certainly should be. Welcoming about 6.5 million visitors each year, the city is within a three-hour drive of Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City and Washington, DC. For air travelers, the expansive Harrisburg International Airport, remodeled and expanded in 2004, provides non-stop service to over 100 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Once inside the city, meeting planners are met with a wealth of spacious and flexible event spaces. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center boasts an impressive 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space, including a new banquet hall serving 1,200 people. From the grand 172,000-square-foot Expo Hall to the 4,773-square-foot VIP lounge, the complex can accommodate any type or size of event.

Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art GIANT Center can host up to 12,500 guests in a variety of seating accommodations. As home to the Hershey Bears hockey team and first-class amenities such as in-house catering and luxury suites, the center is an exciting spot to host events big and small.

The city is certainly not short on unique meeting spaces, either. Rare automobiles and a soaring ceiling at the Antique Auto Museum in Hershey create a stimulating setting for cocktails and appetizers. Offer up to 150 guests a scenic respite from the city by hosting a dinner at the secluded Centennial Barn at the Fort Hunter Mansion & Park. Or, sweeten any event session by gathering attendees at the Hershey's Chocolate World in Hersheypark.

From theaters to museums, the plethora of Harrisburg event venues are kept fresh and inviting, just like its downtown. Over the past two decades, the city has made significant revival efforts to transform the area into a popular business and nightlife destination. New hotels such as the 15-story Hilton Harrisburg and retail areas such as Strawberry Square meet with recently-opened restaurants, classy nightclubs and popular bars in the renovated downtown area. Though such improvements are elevating the city to rival other East Coast metropolitans, its low cost remains unchanged. In fact, Harrisburg has been named one of the Top Ten Most Affordable U.S. meeting locations by GetThere.

Harrisburg has a thriving technology industry as well as a growing health service industry. A number of large national firms are located in or near the city, including Tyco Electronics Corporation, IBM, Hershey Foods, Harsco Corporation and Rite Aid.

About Harrisburg, PA / Additional Info

Harrisburg is the 10th largest city in Pennsylvania with about 49,528 residents. Located on the banks of the Susquehanna River, the city was a crossroads for Native American traders until European contact in 1608. Though the city was named the Pennsylvania state capital in 1812, it became truly eminent for its role in the American Civil War. Union soldiers used the city as training grounds, and several prominent battles took place in the region, including that of General Lee's attempt to overtake the city on his way to Philadelphia.

Today, Harrisburg invites guests to experience this colorful history at numerous historic attractions. Explore over 24,000 artifacts, manuscripts and more at the National Civil War Museum, or walk through its life-size diorama of the largest Union training camp. Across from the State Capitol, the State Museum of Pennsylvania encapsulates the Commonwealth's heritage, exploring topics from fine arts to technology.

Harrisburg's historic appeal extends to much more than battlegrounds and cemeteries. A short 15-minute drive away, Hershey, Pennsylvania, was the birthplace of Hershey's, one of the oldest chocolate companies in the United States. Attractions such as the Hershey Story/The Museum on Chocolate Avenue invite guests to explore the magnificent world of founder Milton S. Hershey, his company and the intriguing process of chocolate production. Of course, visitors can also enjoy some delicious samples along the way at Hershey's Chocolate World.

Indulging in sweet treats is guilt-free in Harrisburg, where plenty of outdoor activities await post-tasting. Hit the links at the championship Lykens Valley Golf Club or Golf Club at Felicita, a wooded course built on a mountainside. Or, when the weather is warm, visit the volleyball courts, batting cages, and miniature golf course at City Island. Opposite downtown Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River, City Island also boasts a carousel, miniature train and paddlewheel cruise boats.

After the fun and games, guests can kick back at one of several microbreweries or over 90 wineries that populate the region. Only about 14 miles away from downtown, the West Hanover Winery crafts over 30 different wines on its picturesque vineyard. Inventive brews such as DreamWeaver Wheat and Troegenator Double Bock await at the Troegs Craft Brewery in Harrisburg, while Purist Pale Ale and Mountain Lager from the city's Appalachian Brewing Company are sure to please any beer lover. From history to nature, chocolate to wine, Harrisburg is truly a delight for the senses.

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