Atlanta, Georgia is one of the best places in the US for conferences or any event. I was tempted to say that it is the best.
The city of Atlanta ranks fifth in the nation as one of the most attractive destinations for conventions. Every year more than 3,000 conventions are held here.
What I’m about to share with you is what I learned from personal experience living in the city, and working in the hospitality industry for 15 years.
Before embarking on my journey to becoming a motivational speaker, I was a doorman at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.
Needless to say, I had a chance to interact and poll lots of people. They always say have high praises for ATL.
Yes, we have our share of traffic. But, that’s what would expect. Ever since Atlanta hosted the Olympic games in 1996, it became a magnet for people from all over the world. The city started booming.
In the process, it became one of most attractive meeting destinations in the world.
All right, let’s look why I believe Atlanta should be your choice when it comes to planning a convention or meeting for your company.
No matter what is the size of your convention, Atlanta has something that will fit your needs. There’s no shortage of great meeting sites in the city.
I’m going to tell you about some the best venues to book for your conference. I’m also going to tell my favorite.
4 Main Areas To Host A Meeting In Atlanta
There are strategically three top areas in Atlanta for conferences. They are all within 15 to 25 minutes from the airport. They are…
- The Cumberland Area
First, let talk about Downtown Atlanta. There are some pros and cons. But the pros outweigh the cons.
Downtown Atlanta offers some awesome hotels with superb accommodations and amenities. It is has a large concentration of convention and meeting spaces.
There are well over 10,000 hotel rooms to accommodate large conventions.
Some of the top noteworthy hotels are:
- The Marriott Marquis
- The Hyatt Regency
- The Ritz-Carlton
- The Westin Peachtree Plaza
- The Omni Hotels
- The Hilton
- The W hotel
Those are the anchor hotels. There countless other big and small hotels to serve as overflow in case your main one reach its capacity.
Within walking distance, there are over 300 restaurants to choose from for dinner, lunch, and breakfast.
Easy & Safe Transportation
The city’s public transportation, Marta, is fantastic. They can get your attendees to and from the Atlanta airport within 15 minutes in a clean and a relatively safe environment.
The best part is Marta pickups and drops off right at the airport. Your convention attendees don’t even need to step outside of the airport. That’s a big plus.
Also, there plenty clean, affordable, and well-regulated taxis, shuttles, and limousines services. You don’t have to worry about a taxi driver switching his or her meter to overcharge. No. The city’s taxi regulators are doing an awesome.
Of course, with Uber dominating the taxi business, there’s a radical change in the way.
You can always arrange for a destination management company to handle your logistics.
Simply put, you never have to worry about transportation. You have many alternatives.
All of that makes downtown Atlanta a very enticing destination for events, especially if you are having a large convention.
If It’s A Mega Conference Or Small Meeting
You might be thinking if the city is ready for a mega or super conference of about 20,000 people. Absolutely!
In 1996, Atlanta hosted the Olympic games. Needless to say, the city is equipped to handle any size of an event.
The World Congress Center alone has a 33,000-square-foot ballroom. It can accommodate well over 120,000 guests for a single event.
The Cons About Hosting An Event In Downtown Atlanta
The only drawback is that your guests have to accept the fact they are in downtown. That goes for any downtown in the US.
As you might know, downtowns tend to attract homeless people and street peddlers. For the most part, they behave. But, there are some bad apples. That’s why you still have to be on the alert.
Yes, the Atlanta Police Department has a very impressive presence there. And they have been doing a remarkable job pushing away the troublemakers. Kudos to them!
However, visitors still have to be vigilant while strolling down the busy streets.
Another drawback is this: If some of your guests decide to rent a car for sightseeing, parking is expensive and inconvenient.
In fact, from hotel rooms to snacks, everything seems to be more expensive. It maybe because city taxes are high.
The Lenox Mall Area In Buckhead
Bulkhead is an upscale and ritzy area. It’s where the celebrities hang out when they visit Atlanta. On a typical day, you might bump into some of the biggest names in show business.
Buckhead has some of the most exquisite hotels, restaurants, malls, and shopping centers. There, you will find Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Belk, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s.
Just like downtown, there are tons of hotel rooms. Pretty much all the luxurious hotels such as St. Regis Hotel, and Ritz-Carlton are located in Buckhead.
Now, if you are having a big event with thousands of people attending, Buckhead may not be the ideal destination for you. Why?
As far as I know, they don’t have any convention centers. You are pretty limited to the hotels’ ballrooms.
The city of Buckhead is also within 15 to 20 minutes from the airport depending on traffic.
In my opinion, I believe Buckhead is ideal if you are having a more intimate event in a hotel’s ballroom.
Having said that, regardless of where you choose to have your event, your attendees should make it a point to visit Buckhead.
But beware that just like downtown, Buckhead is very congested.
The Cumberland Mall Area
The Cumberland Mall area by far my favorite location for meetings in the greater area of Atlanta.
The Cumberland area offers almost everything you need to create an amazing experience for your event attendees.
As I mentioned before, I worked in the hospitality industry in that area for 15 years. That’s why I can confidently recommend it highly. Okay, I may be biased.
Let’s look why the Cumberland area is so attractive. For starters, it is not crowded at all. It’s wide open. Your attendees will truly have a great time.
It is also the safest. You have a nice combination of large venues, restaurants, shopping, and easy access to virtually everywhere.
It is not as expensive as Buckhead and downtown Atlanta. Parking spaces at hotels and convention centers are free and very convenient. And there are lots of them.
Well, that’s for now.
The Suntrust Park is going to be the new of home of the Atlanta Braves in the same area. That means there will be way more people and cars to accommodate.
As I’m writing this, it is under construction.
The grand opening is scheduled for early 2017. Many new hotels, restaurants and shopping centers will open their doors at the same time.
Let’s talk about the meeting facilities.
You will find the Cobb Galleria Center with a 25,000-square-foot ballroom space. It is connected directly with a walkway to the Waverly Renaissance Hotel and the Cumberland Mall.
The Waverly Renaissance has a dramatic 14-story atrium. It was recently renovated. Plus, there’s a cluster of other hotels right in the same area.
With a new baseball stadium on the way, expect some big hotel brands to show up on the scene.
The Cumberland Mall area is about 20 minutes away from the airport. It is at the intersection of two major highways with makes it easy to get to downtown and Buckhead within 15 minutes.
The Perimeter Mall Area
The Perimeter Mall area essentially a scaled down version of Buckhead. There are many great hotels, and restaurants as well. However, don’t count on big meeting spaces.
That said, it is still a very good area for hosting meetings. Unlike Buckhead, it has more room to breathe and walk around.
The Perimeter is a pretty good distance from the airport. Depending on traffic, it usually takes somewhere between 35 to 45 minutes to get there from the airport.
Top 50 Restaurants In Atlanta
I was tempted to write about our fantastic restaurants in Atlanta. Instead, I encourage you to visit the Atlanta Magazine’s site for a list of the top 50 restaurants in Atlanta.
Motivational Speakers In Atlanta
Fortunately, Atlanta is the home of some of the most sought-after motivational speakers. There’s no need to fly a speaker from out of town and worry about expenses.
The top tier speakers here are all my friend. We network and mastermind together. Many times, I’m not a good fit for an event. I refer them to the meeting planner, and they do the same for me.