San Antonio has evolved into a forward-thinking, modern meeting destination amid a city of history and culture. The $325 million expansion of the Henry B. González Convention Center, completed in 2016, allows the city to meet the needs of the evolving meetings industry with innovative design, flexible space, and advanced technology. Transformational renovations and expansions have also taken place at some of the city's other amazing venues, including the Alamodome, the Pearl, the Witte Museum, San Antonio Botanical Garden, and Hemisfair Park, just to name a few.
As one of the nation's top leisure destinations, San Antonio offers attendees an experience that stretches far beyond the conference room. They enjoy a wide array of unforgettable attractions, plus history and culture that can't be found elsewhere. Hospitality is ingrained in the city's atmosphere. A warm welcome is the standard, not the exception.
Texas' economy, fueled by its nearly 30 million residents, makes it a vital state for many national associations and corporations. San Antonio is a natural fit for organizations that want to connect with the Texas market in a destination brimming with history, outdoor adventure, enticing cuisine, and thrilling attractions.
Meeting planners are also drawn to San Antonio thanks to its central location, year-round favorable weather, accessibility, downtown's walkability, price, and variety of options.
One of the top reasons is the city's accessibility. The airport is only 15 minutes from downtown, and coordinating travel in and around San Antonio is simple, allowing planners to integrate a variety of experiences around the city into an itinerary. There are about 45,000 hotel rooms citywide, including 14,000 rooms in the downtown area, all of which are within walking distance of the newly expanded convention center and the famous San Antonio River Walk. In addition, 2,860 more rooms are planned.
Meeting planners and attendees are also attracted by downtown's walkability, since it saves on transportation costs and heightens attendee experiences and engagement, often increasing attendance. The River Walk is also fondly referred to as the “World's Largest Hotel Lobby” and serves as a truly unique backdrop for networking and events.
The River Walk is a Texas icon that has always been popular with guests, but it is very popular with groups as well. The downtown section of the River Walk is lined with restaurants, shops, and entertainment. It is also a hub for many meetings, brimming with activities such as riding the river barge for narrated tours, cocktail and dinner cruises, and river taxis that can take attendees from downtown north to the Pearl. There are theaters such as the outdoor Arneson River Theatre and the historic Majestic Theater, which groups may utilize for special functions.
The River Walk has been expanded twice in recent years, and both sections — the Museum Reach and Mission Reach — offer unique experiences.
The Museum Reach section was added in 2009 and offers cultural and culinary immersion with museums (Witte Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art), public art installations, and Pearl, an 1800s brewery reincarnated as a contemporary urban district with boutiques, restaurants, a farmers market, event venues, Hotel Emma, and the rousing Jazz, TX music venue.
The Mission Reach — added in 2013 — links four of San Antonio's five Spanish colonial missions. These missions were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015. Aside from exploring the missions, visitors can hike, bike, and kayak this stretch of the river.
San Antonio's culinary scene is very much part of its heritage and continues to evolve. The city is the proud capital of Tex-Mex cuisine and the birthplace of chili. San Antonio's progressive restaurant culture has moved into the limelight as acclaimed chefs, along with talented new graduates from the Culinary Institute of America San Antonio, continue to make their mark. With the perfect combination of quality, variety, and hospitality, dining in San Antonio offers incredible food served everywhere from upscale steakhouses to unique food trucks. The most exciting part of this culinary trend is that it's all authentically San Antonio and spread across the city — not limited to the main tourist hubs. You'll find new restaurants throughout downtown, as well as in the burgeoning Southtown area, just south of the convention center, and the Broadway Cultural Corridor, just north of downtown — all very accessible to meetings guests.
San Antonio is a member of the Convene Green Alliance, a grass-roots initiative that seeks to lessen the impact organizations and their events have on the environment.