Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Virginia Beach, a city guide for meeting professionals. Consistently ranking among the country's best beach destinations, Virginia Beach provides the venues and hospitality suited for a variety of needs and budgets, all with professional staff support and services. With pristine natural wonders, freshly caught seafood, just-picked local ingredients, a vibrant downtown district, and three distinct beach experiences at the Oceanfront, Sandbridge, or Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach event venues can capitalize on the destination's appeal for attendees. Indeed, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach promises visitors a unique chance to "Live the Life."
When it comes to meeting planning, ease of access is just part of the reason Virginia Beach is one of the nation's premier year-round meeting destinations. Centrally located on the East Coast, this resort city is just a short flight or drive from two-thirds of the U.S. population. Visitors traveling by air will find Norfolk International Airport to be a convenient gateway to the city, located just 20 minutes from the oceanfront and offering direct and non-stop flights daily. However, nearly 95 percent of visitors to the city arrive by car, as it's only four hours away from Washington, DC. Amtrak serves the region daily with connecting transportation to Virginia Beach.
The Virginia Beach Convention Center takes center stage for meetings, sports events, tradeshows, and even weddings. Located on prime real estate in the heart of the city's resort area, the center—with its soaring 147-foot glass tower—is a sight to behold. Offering charming sea vistas, the tower itself is a one-of-a-kind setting for intimate events. Overall, the convention center offers more than 516,000 square feet of space, including more than 150,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space, a 31,000-square-foot ballroom, and over 29,000 square feet of additional meeting space, making the center a versatile venue for events of all kinds. As an added bonus, this facility is city-owned and managed by the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, allowing meeting planners to rely on coordinated efforts of a single sales and service team. The center has 2,230 free parking spaces and is located within a 3-mile radius of 7,000 hotel rooms.
If getting to Virginia Beach is easy, getting around is even easier thanks to ample public parking throughout the city. The oceanfront area alone offers more than 1,500 off-street municipal parking spaces and 786 on-street metered spaces. In addition, Virginia Beach also features the affordable and convenient Hampton Roads Transit system. With the HRT system, visitors can hop aboard a hybrid trolley car and arrive at various key attractions throughout the destination.
For a unique taste of Virginia Beach, planners can also look to one of many alternative venues dotted throughout the city. From historic homes to modern attractions to fine dining establishments, this picturesque resort city offers several experiential off-site options for groups. Take a group by boat to the Pleasure House Oyster Farm and sample fresh oysters with a farm-to-table dining experience right on the water. Meet among the sharks and sea turtles at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Center with exhibit galleries, theater, classrooms, and more that cater to groups spanning in size from 25 to 2,500 people. The Brock Environmental Center, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and Francis Land House are among the other popular offsite meeting venues.
Virginia Beach's economy relies heavily on its tourism industry. However, several major companies are headquartered in the city, including Lifenet and Stihl. The region is also home to Oceana Naval Air Station and Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest naval base. Education institutions include Regent University, Virginia Wesleyan College, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and Christopher Newport University, among others.