by Kim Campbell No two special event venues are exactly alike. Venues vary greatly in size, style, service, and the types of events they can accommodate. Certain types of venues offer overnight accommodations, for example, while others focus solely on the event space. While some venues are flexible, with the ability to accommodate a variety of event styles, others are designed to accommodate a specific event niche, such as weddings or government events.
In this post, we explore the types of venues everyone in the hospitality and event industries should know about. Whether you’re a planner looking for a modern meeting space for a tech-heavy corporate presentation, a hotelier looking to expand your event offerings and scope out the competition, or anyone in between, we hope you'll find inspiration from this guide.
1. Convention centers Convention centers are sizable indoor venues used to house large groups of people with a common interest or goal. Most convention centers consist of multiple buildings that offer several private exhibition halls. They tend to be relatively bare in design with high ceilings and the ability to house thousands of event attendees. Convention centers offer an expansive, malleable indoor space for hosting trade shows, conventions, public meetings, rallies, and more.
2. Conference centers Similar to convention centers, conference centers are also large, flexible event venues. Typically offering higher levels of service than standard convention centers, most conference centers also include overnight accommodations and multiple different meeting room types. For example, The National Conference Center, located in Leesburg, Virginia, offers 250 meeting rooms, 951 guest rooms, and a 40-acre property for event attendees to explore.
3. Hotels Hotels are popular venues for business meetings, conferences, parties, weddings, and so much more. Not all hotels offer event space, however. Large private events may be best suited for hotels that have in-house restaurants, offer staffing services, or boast impressive decor. 4. Resorts Resorts are fantastic venues for events that require overnight lodging, dining service, and transportation. Offering high-end services, on-site recreation, catering services, and meeting space, the Ocean Creek Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for example, is a dream venue for weddings, banquets, reunions, and even corporate conferences. 5. Breweries and wineries In addition to hosting parties, showers, weddings, and other private events, breweries and wineries are also great venues for corporate events. Folktale Winery & Vineyards, for example, features seven meeting rooms and 6,000 square feet of event space, giving it the flexibility to accommodate an array of social affairs. 6. Restaurants There are few better ways to celebrate than with fine dining and five-star cocktails. Many top-tier restaurants offer private bookings for parties, corporate dinners, rehearsal dinners, and other special events. Planners can treat attendees to impeccable service and a meal they’ll never forget by booking a private dining room or entire fine dining restaurant. 7. Bars and nightclubs When planning a private party, networking mixer, or product launch, many planners consider booking a laid-back casual venue like a bar or nightclub. Booking a bar, nightclub, or similar types of venues for corporate events can quickly turn a product pitch into a party. 8. Golf courses Whether it's an 18-hole municipal course with meeting space in the clubhouse or a massive golf resort with hundreds of thousands of square feet available, golf courses are one of the most popular types of venues for events. From weddings and corporate meetings to networking events and charity fundraisers, golf courses present a large opportunity for planners and venue owners alike. 9. Social clubs and lounges Social clubs and lounges offer event services similar to a nightclub, but at an elevated level.
Usually more sophisticated and luxurious than a standard nightclub, social clubs pair event services with high-end hospitality while encouraging individuals with a similar goal or interest to gather. In Atlanta, for example, members of the bustling tech scene flock to the Tech Square ATL Social Club for their events. Offering 1,200 square feet of event space, TSQ ATL is "centered around cultivating data-driven connections and offering continuous support by providing exclusive access to a shared workspace, community events, custom programming, mentorship opportunities, and so much more."
10. Community centers Community centers and other recreational facilities offer low-cost event space for planners on a budget. Many community centers rent multipurpose rooms and basic event services at an hourly rate. Anyone looking for a space to host their next business meeting, seminar, or small party would be wise to contact local community centers and nearby recreation centers to confirm the types of events their facility can accommodate.
11. Museums, aquariums, and zoos In addition to housing incredible works of art, historical artifacts, and other treasures, many museums also host events. Planners can add sophistication, culture, and a sense of prestige to any event by hosting it in a museum. Aquariums and zoos, on the other hand, may not provide as much meeting space, but the opportunities for unique event experiences are endless.
12. Art galleries Networking events, fundraisers, parties, and other private events can all be hosted at art galleries. Most art galleries change exhibits and rotate exhibitions regularly, making these types of venues an excellent choice for repeating events. Planners can host non-profit fundraisers or quarterly networking meetings to ensure that donors and repeat guests never get bored with the setting.
For example, The Mad Art Gallery is a trendy St. Louis special event venue located inside of a 1930s Art Deco police station. The gallery showcases art from local and emerging artists and is a popular venue choice for individuals hosting exhibitions, corporate events, weddings, or other private soirees.
13. Historical and cultural estates Get away, gather, and celebrate special occasions at an event venue that has cultural or historical significance. From couples getting married in a private manor to planners organizing community events at venues that had a major impact on local culture, anyone can celebrate the magic of the present moment – surrounded by the beauty of the past – by booking a culturally-significant venue.
14. Theaters Whether it's a historic, live entertainment theater like Altria in Richmond, Virginia, or a massive movie theater like Regal L.A. Live in Los Angeles, theaters are choice venues for entertaining clients, hosting conferences, or even getting married.
15. Colleges and universities Often on the hunt for additional funds, colleges and universities are excellent options for events on a budget. Educational institutions typically feature large lecture halls, exhibit halls, and other event spaces, and many are willing to rent out unused event space at an affordable rate in an effort to bring in additional revenue.
16. Retreat centers Retreat centers are venues that often feature overnight accommodations, activities, meals, entertainment, high-end spa services, and much more. Great for overnight or weekend events, retreat centers specialize in hosting secluded, comprehensive, and meaningful events. The Innabah Camp & Retreat Center, for example, specializes in providing memorable and inspirational experiences. In addition to operating as a summer camp, Innabah hosts meetings, spiritual retreats, and community events. 17. Cruise ships Whether you’re celebrating a life event or recognizing star employees, you’re almost guaranteed a good time when you book a cruise ship for special occasions. A totally unique event venue for a party or high-energy special event, cruise ships offer exquisite dining services, gorgeous views, and lavish entertainment for event attendees. For those on a tight budget, or with a smaller guest list, steamboats, ferries, and other boats offer great event experiences as well.
18. Stadiums Typically reserved for big blowouts, stadiums and arenas can accommodate anywhere from a few hundred people to tens of thousands of people. In fact, some of the world’s largest stadiums can hold more than 100,000 attendees. Stadiums and arenas are typically used for hosting concerts, brand-wide conventions, large sporting events, touring entertainment, and other high-attendance events that require a high production value.
What are the most common types of venues for events? While most events fall into one of three primary categories — private, corporate, and charitable — the types of venues available may vary based on location. Additionally, individual budgets, event sizes, venue pricing, and other factors may affect which venues are most commonly booked in your area. Conference centers, museums, hotels, and restaurants are popular options for many planners. Many planners seek out special event venues specifically, as they offer flexible event services and have the ability to accommodate everything from small meetings to massive weddings.
What are the most expensive venue types? Venues that offer high-quality service and services tend to be the most expensive types of venues. Popular luxury retreats, destination resorts, enormous stadiums, and wedding venues with long waiting lists are among the highest priced.
What is the best type of venue for business meetings? While business meetings can be held just about anywhere, hotels, conference centers, and university spaces are a few of the most popular.
Kim Campbell Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.