Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine
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© 2018 by Hurray Brands for  Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine: Meetings, Special Events, Hospitality

East Coast Convention Centers

March 13, 2020

 

Throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. are a variety of East Coast convention destinations that offer ample space for everything from educational classes and board meetings to nationwide trade shows and conventions - along with everything in between.

 

Several of these convention facilities have exciting new developments that will add even more to their already extensive offerings.

 

Whether organizing a youth sports tournament by the ocean, attracting the masses to the city for a flower or auto show, or putting together a convention at a mountain venue that will make attendees feel like they’ve been transported halfway around the world, planners will find that convention centers offer an abundance of on-site resources along with a host of services and amenities, plus ample function space.

 

Atlantic City Convention Center

Atlantic City, NJ

 

What makes Atlantic City such an attractive convention destination? For one thing - its location!  The Atlantic City Convention Center is not only easily accessible, but boasts a beach resort that features world-class entertainment, dining (including celebrity chef restaurants and lots of local, historic favorites), as well as shopping.

 

In addition, Atlantic City is the second largest gaming destination in the country and is home to a world-famous boardwalk situated along the beach and Atlantic Ocean. For entertainment and nightlife, the options are virtually limitless, from country and rock to rodeos, boxing and midget car racing, all performed under the bright lights of casino resorts or at Jim Whelan

Boardwalk Hall.

 

Atlantic City is home to more than 17,500 first-class hotel rooms that complement the Atlantic City Convention Center’s 486,600 contiguous square feet of exhibit space, 45 meeting rooms (featuring an extra 109,100-square feet), ample pre-function space and a wide range of amenities. The Atlantic City Convention Center also has earned LEED Gold Certification, and recently completed a $9.1 million restroom renovation that overhauled 32 restrooms throughout the building. Among its pending capital projects are: a wave wall, Hall A carpet, and concession stand upgrades.

 

Meet AC is the convention and visitors bureau of Atlantic City – industry experts who can help with room blocks, contracts and so much more - and is available to help planners in locating the right space, attendance building, housing and more. For all convention attendees and exhibitors, Meet AC also offers a special discount program. When a delegate badge is presented, the delegate will receive special deals at local restaurants, attractions and shops.

 

Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center

Atlantic City, NJ

 

Overlooking the Absecon Inlet, the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean and Atlantic City’s Marina District, the Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center offers an innovative meetings experience on the East Coast coupled with a spectacular view. The 100,000-square foot meeting space expansion offers planners the unique experience to sleep, eat, and meet all in one location with more than 2,590 hotel rooms available. This versatile space has two 50,000-square foot ballrooms that can be configured 300 different ways, making more than 60 smaller rooms to accommodate meetings of all sizes. The conference center, the largest hotel-conference center complex from Baltimore to Boston, is a prime meetings destination.

 

Wildwoods Convention Center

The Wildwoods, NJ

 

From meetings and consumer shows to basketball and gymnastics tournaments to regional dance and cheerleading championships to national wrestling and mixed martial arts competitions, the Wildwoods and the Wildwoods Convention Center offer everything needed to host a successful meeting, convention, event and more. Nearby are more than 8,000 hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast rooms and over 3,000 vacation rentals to fit any budget. 

 

Located on the boardwalk, the Wildwoods Convention Center offers 260,000-square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 75,000-square foot exhibit hall (configurable into two 37,500-square foot separate areas); a 7,500-seat concert arena for live shows; 30,000-square feet of lobby and pre-function space; state-of-the-art sound/lighting systems; and ocean views from nearly every angle, as well as a team of experienced support personnel and service professionals.

 

An upgraded high-capacity Wi-Fi system has recently been installed at the center, giving attendees unlimited free Wi-Fi service for up to 10,000 visitors simultaneously. New carpet has been added throughout the entire facility, including in the Starlight Ballroom, all meeting rooms and public spaces, the ballroom lobby and exhibit hall lobby. In addition, over the past year, three new high-definition video webcams were installed on the roof of the center that offer 180-degree views of the beach, ocean and amusement piers. The center boasts impressive dining options for all groups and events, as well, with an executive chef and expert catering staff to meet the needs of any event.

 

Home to numerous events throughout the summer season, the Wildwoods is a neon-lit slice of Americana. Its boardwalk stretches for 2.5-miles and offers a pure sensory overload with over 100 rides and attractions, carnival-style midway games, arcades and retail shops and eateries. More formal options offer waterfront seating and serve up everything from fresh seafood caught daily to Italian cuisine. There are various Doo-Wop-themed diners to explore, as well.

 

Cape May Convention Hall

Cape May, NJ

 

Cape May County is a multifaceted host location for meetings, conventions and special events. Though most widely known for its world class beaches and resort hotels, it offers much more than a “beach day” for attendees and guests. During their free time, there’s a lot for attendees to explore, including museums, historical sites, nature tours, the arts, golfing, water sports, wineries, breweries and more.

 

When it’s time to get down to business, Cape May Convention Hall offers flexible spaces for meeting the needs of planners. Its main hall, which features floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Atlantic Ocean, is designed to host larger events, trade shows and meetings. An airwall can be used to separate the main hall into two rooms for smaller functions. Another meeting space is offered next to the main hall for groups of 40 or fewer, which has a large screen for audio-visual presentations. A smaller conference room can be used as an additional breakout space for groups of up to 12 people. It has a wraparound deck that faces the beach and ocean for breaks, think tanks or as a cocktail area.

 

Cape May Convention Hall offers event organizers complete flexibility in planning their event. They can bring in caterers and vendors of their choosing, and the hall’s location offers a definite “wow” factor with its expansive views of the Cape May beach and Atlantic Ocean. The venue is within walking distance to hotels, inns, shopping, entertainment and various five-star dining options, too.

 

Bayfront Convention Center

Erie, PA

 

The Bayfront Convention Center at Bayfront Landing, located on the shores of Lake Erie’s Presque Isle Bay, offers more than just breathtaking views – it provides the world-class facilities and amenities for meetings, trade shows, or events.

 

The Bayfront Convention Center boasts 120,000 square feet of event space and is attached to the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel and Courtyard Erie Bayfront, giving access to nearly 400 hotel rooms.

 

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Philadelphia, PA

 

Last year, the Pennsylvania Convention Center expanded exhibitor rights, in partnership with the unions servicing the center, in a 10-year labor agreement, creating some of the most progressive work rules of any major urban convention center in the Northeastern U.S.

 

In 2020, the Pennsylvania Convention Center  also will deploy $16 million in planned capital investments, making technological enhancements and continuing to improve the attendee

experience. Part of the formula for bringing in more meetings and conventions to Philadelphia are the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (PHLCVB) business development divisions, which are dedicated to three key market segments: PHL Life Sciences, PHL Diversity, and PHL Sports.

 

The convention center is located in the center of Philadelphia’s historic downtown, offering more than 679,000-square feet of exhibit hall space with seven halls and 82 meeting rooms, plus the largest ballroom in the Northeast.

 

Valley Forge Casino Resort and Event Center

King of Prussia, PA

 

Valley Forge Casino Resort (VFCR) in King of Prussia is an ideal host venue for executive board meetings‚ corporate conferences and special events, but it also has ample space and outstanding services for accommodating trade shows and conventions, too.

 

The largest full-service hotel, and only full amenity gaming resort, in suburban Philadelphia. VFCR has 39 separate meeting rooms and over 100‚000-square feet of meeting‚ banquet, and exhibition space. Just minutes from the King of Prussia Mall and a short drive from Philadelphia, planners will appreciate the property's attentive and professional staff ready to assist in the planning process.

 

What's more, the hotel offers 479 guestrooms and suites, the 54,000-square foot Valley Forge Event Center with a flexible floor plan that can accommodate a variety of set-ups, unique indoor and outdoor function spaces, technology and audio-Visual services, along with full-service catering.

 

The Valley Forge Casino Resort Event Center was renovated in early 2019 and features 25 fully-programmable HD video displays, energy efficient and customizable LED lighting, a covered load-in area, integrated audio system, rejuvenated restroom facilities and more.

 

Lancaster County Convention Center

Lancaster, PA

 

Lancaster City is considered a cultural hotbed for the exploding culinary and arts scene, recently dubbed “The New Brooklyn” by the New York Post.

 

Whether a planner is seeking to hold a small corporate retreat, a convention, or any other event, Lancaster offers a variety of unique meeting venues in a picturesque location perfect for any occasion. In addition, the area is conveniently situated within driving distance of or a quick Amtrak ride to major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York City.

 

Sitting within the picturesque Historic District of Lancaster and within a short walk of many of Lancaster City’s most sought-after historic sites, top-rated restaurants and art-driven streets, Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square’s $39.4 million renovation and expansion project is redefining the Lancaster skyline. It now boasts 416 spacious guest rooms that feature sleek designs and advanced amenities, a signature Marriott M Club, plus three premier dining options headlined by Chef Ryan McQuillan.

 

Providing more than 90,000-square feet of combined space in total - along with the adjacent Lancaster County Convention Center for hosting conventions, events and trade shows - this integrated facility is ideal for groups ranging in size from 5 to 5,000 in a location that is convenient to northeast metropolitan cities, but not as demanding on event budgets. The hotel’s new 12-story East Tower has added an additional 110 guest rooms. Each of these rooms and 10 “City Suites” feature advanced amenity offerings, sweeping views of Lancaster City via floor-to-ceiling windows, and sleek design features for ultimate guest relaxation and convenience.

 

Built within the remarkable façade of the 110-year old Watt and Shand building, the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square respectfully pays tribute to its celebrated past with exterior architecture representing a masterful Baroque-revival design amidst neighboring buildings that date back to the mid-1700s. Its luxurious interior exudes a modern, cosmopolitan look. Additionally, the convention center houses the iconic Montgomery House, a historic venue with four floors of intimate, elegant meeting and event spaces.

 

In addition to being one of the region’s premier convention and special event destinations, the Lancaster Marriott is now a culinary mecca for visitors and locals, as well. The opening of Plough and The Exchange were two big moments from this past summer that have further elevated the guest experience on-site.

 

The Exchange is a high-energy cocktail bar offering a vibrant social experience in which to discover a whole new way of looking at the historic city. Atop the highest tower in Lancaster City - sitting 12 stories above historic Penn Square - the refined rooftop restaurant features an extensive, beverage-driven menu serving twists on classic and creative cocktails, thoughtful wine and beer selections showcasing seasonal and local flavors, plus inventive plates in an

atmosphere that promotes easy conversation amid a lively music selection. The Exchange is the spot where friends gather.

 

Plough pays homage to Lancaster’s rich heritage while embracing modernity and offering a sophisticated, yet clean, modern-American menu with concepts driven by Chef Ryan McQuillan. Creatively prepared in an open kitchen that can be seen throughout the dining room, dishes incorporate quality ingredients sourced from the region’s lush farmlands, including the oldest working farmers market in the nation.

 

A sleek bar floating in the center of the room invites guests to dine and socialize while enjoying handcrafted cocktails and spirits, wine by the glass selected from an extensive wine wall, or pints with a focus on crowd pleasers and those with local flair.

 

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Pocono Mountains

Pocono Manor, PA

 

Its location in the Pocono Mountains makes Kalahari Resorts and Conventions an easy choice for attendees. Less than two-hours from New York, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Scranton and Allentown, the property is convenient for guests, but just far enough for them to feel like they’re a world away.

 

Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is known for going above and beyond, delivering unbelievable service and premium amenities. And now, they’ve expanded their event and meeting space in Pocono Mountains. The 205,000-square foot space features 33 meeting rooms, three breathtaking ballrooms, magnificent pre-function spaces, additional load-in/load-out capabilities, extensive registration and client office spaces.

 

The modular meeting spaces feature the stylish amenities for which Kalahari Resorts and Conventions is known. In the state-of-the-art space, guests will find high-def monitors and projectors along with remarkable lighting and AV controls for colorful and sharp presentations. They’ll have free access to high-speed Wi-Fi with capacity to increase to 10 GB or more with advance order, plus ergonomic chairs designed to keep attendees comfortable for up to 10 hours - an important factor in attendee satisfaction.

 

One thing meeting planners have always loved about the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions experience is that the meeting space, guestrooms and leisure activities are all under one roof. And that’s not going to change as Kalahari’s Pocono Mountains location doubles in size. Guests have easy access to the world-class Spa Kalahari and Salon.

 

They’ll also enjoy the enticing dining experiences, including Double Cut, the property’s signature steakhouse experience; Mondo Sortino’s Italian Kitchen; and B-Lux Grill and Bar. Guests can visit Kalahari Fitness or explore a variety of entertainment options, including America’s Largest Indoor Waterparks, which are always included with overnight stays.

 

In addition, when guests plan their meeting at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, they will get a dedicated and experienced team to assist them. The Kalahari team will provide advice and ideas that help planners meet their meeting goals and objectives. From media and activity suggestions to catering and room layouts, Kalahari’s skilled team can take care of everything.

 

Hershey Lodge

Hershey, PA

 

Offering everything from thrilling coaster rides and chocolatey adventures to premier dining and luxurious spa treatments, Hershey maintains the charm of America’s sweetest small town while serving as a convenient, full-service meetings and convention destination.

 

Hershey Lodge is one of the largest convention resorts in Pennsylvania and is located within a three-hour drive from five of the major metropolitan cities in the Northeast. Its location is ideal for groups traveling throughout the Northeast corridor, and the property prides itself in offering outstanding service and catering options.

 

Hershey Lodge features 665 well-appointed guest rooms and more than 100,000-square feet of flexible meeting space. Groups of 10 to 4,000 can be accommodated throughout its 35 function rooms. On-site audio-visual services are available, and Hershey Lodge offers one-of-a-kind team building activities, such as the “Chocolate Challenge,” where groups work together to build free-standing structures out of Hershey’s candy products. Or, attendees can take part in classes that pair chocolate with wine, spirits and beer, or martini mixology and sweet treats.

 

On-site are four full-service restaurants, including a newly reimagined chophouse, Revelry, as well as a coffee shop, lobby bar and cabana snack bar at the indoor pool complex, Hershey's Water Works.  Resort guests receive access to 45 holes of golf at Hershey Country Club, and all overnight guests of Hershey Lodge get free admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story Museum. An Official Resort of Hersheypark, Hershey Lodge can offer the best price on park tickets, free shuttle service to and from the park, one-hour early access and more.

 

Opening summer 2020 is Hershey’s Chocolatetown, where guests can eat, play, shop and gather year-round. The $150 million transformational expansion is the largest in company history. Meeting space at Hershey Lodge was recently renovated, too, and guest rooms are currently undergoing renovation.

 

Chase Center on the Riverfront

Wilmington, DE

 

Wilmington has a dynamic and evolving social and dining scene. Options along the Riverfront area include: an IMAX theater, mini golf, indoor trampoline park, riverboat tours, bike rentals, outdoor ice skating rink in the winter (and beer garden in the summer), the Delaware Children’s Museum, The Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Theater Company, Frawley Stadium - home of the Delaware Blue Rocks baseball team, Michael S. Purzycki Riverwalk, Russel Peterson Wildlife Refuge, and many restaurant choices.

 

Chase Center on the Riverfront has a proud and unique heritage. Originally a shipbuilding facility during World War II, it later became the First USA Riverfront Arts Center, hosting world-class exhibitions. In 2005, it transitioned to a multipurpose special events facility, and was renamed Chase Center on the Riverfront. Today, it hosts all types of events, from small meetings and large multiday conferences, conventions and trade shows to social galas, weddings, community events and other celebrations.

 

A key feature of Chase Center is its direct connection to the luxurious 180-room Westin Wilmington Hotel, which offers extra convenience for event attendees. This modern hotel is pet-friendly and provides event spaces for smaller groups. Together, the Chase Center and Westin comprise 90,000-square feet of meeting and exhibit space, including ample conference rooms,

a 250-seat auditorium, an open exhibit area and several beautiful ballrooms.

 

In addition, there are two new hotels on the Riverfront landscape, the 120 room Homewood Suites by Hilton Wilmington Delaware and the 114 room Hyatt Place.

 

Additional outlet venues are just steps away from the Chase Center, including the Osprey Room at the DuPont Environmental Education Center, the Loft at the Riverfront Market, The Riverboat Queen, which charts its course on the Christina, Brandywine and Delaware rivers for up to a two hour round-trip cruise, and Frawley Baseball Stadium, which can play host for groups of up to 300 guests in its outdoor picnic area whether on a game day or not. The same team member who works with event planners on the main conference at the Chase Center also will be their point of contact at any of these outlets - and all can be conveniently master billed.

 

Chase Center on the Riverfront boasts a collaborative team adept at planning and executing events in traditional and unique venues, both within the center and also at its outlet venue locations across the Wilmington Riverfront. A one-stop-shop for meetings and events, from boutique board meetings to extravagant galas and regional conferences and trade shows, its flexible space can be set to accommodate nearly any type of event.

 

Exciting news at the Chase Center includes the addition of its new Executive Chef, Jim Berman, who is ready to take an already award-winning culinary program to the next level of

creativity and diversity. Menus at the center are designed to be inclusive for all guests regardless of dietary restrictions or allergies, however, the culinary team can create a custom

culinary program, as well.

 

Roland E. Powell Convention Center

Ocean City, MD

 

The Roland E. Powell Convention Center is getting ready to break ground for its next expansion phase, which essentially will add a new 30,000-square foot exhibit hall, as well as other enhancements. Among these will include: a 15,000-square foot Bayfront Gallery; new upper level ballroom restrooms; a loading dock renovation; boardwalk and Rip Rap improvements; Wetlands mitigation and improvements; the demolition of the existing Sunset Room structure; renovated support spaces for convention center staff; along with HVAC upgrades.

 

This new phase of expansion comes at an estimated cost of $37-million. Construction is slated to begin in April of 2020 with an expected final completion date in December of 2021. Another offering of the convention center, its Performing Arts Center showcases varying types of performances and professional shows, and also offers planners an enhanced, upgraded feel as a venue for any keynote or general session.

 

The town of Ocean City has recently experienced a building boom with new properties opening as well as major renovations to many existing properties, resulting in the area now having more than 10,000 hotel rooms and over 28,000 condominiums.

 

Ocean City has a wide variety of activities aside from the beach and boardwalk, including some new offerings like the OC Foodie Tours, Seacrets’ Distillery Tours, bowling at Alley Oops, plus golfing, jet skiing, kayaking, fishing and boating excursions, to name just a few.

 

In addition, Ocean City is home to interactive and historical museums that offer insight and understanding of the town's Eastern Shore culture and heritage. For dining, over 200 restaurants offer everything from crabs and fresh seafood, to fine dining or festive ethnic cuisine. Winery visits and craft beer excursions also are popular.

 

Wicomico Civic Center

Salisbury, MD

 

The Wicomico Civic Center, Wicomico County’s versatile centerpiece, offers a 30,000-square foot arena with spectator seating for up to 6,000 people, a 10,000-square foot auxiliary area, ten meeting rooms and in-house catering. The building also can be customized to suit an event’s needs. For example, the arena floor can be a regular floor, but it also has been transformed into a dirt track or an ice rink.

 

The Flanders Room has partition walls that allow it to be one large room or up to seven

individual rooms. On the other side of the building, the Da Nang Rooms are the same way, and can be split up between one and three rooms. The Wicomico Civic Center plays host to all kinds of events, including conferences, meetings, social events, live music, family entertainment, sporting events and more - all year round - and the center features free parking, as well.

 

Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Wicomico County is less than a 3.5-hour drive from 25 percent of the U.S. population. The Wicomico Civic Center is part of Wicomico County’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, so all divisions within the department work together seamlessly. In addition, Ocean City, MD is only 30 minutes away.

 

The civic center completed a $3 million renovation in 2018, which included installation of new seats in the arena, along with new carpeting, lighting fixtures, ceilings, signage and fresh paint throughout the building. The newest addition to the Wicomico Civic Center is a large, full-color electronic marquee that displays event information outdoors. Plans are underway for additional updates.

 

The venue also serves a memorial to U.S. veterans. Wicomico County veterans are honored with a memorial outside, there is a Wicomico County Veterans’ Tree of Honor inside, and the meeting rooms are named for battles fought by the United States like: Normandy, Midway, Flanders and Da Nang.

 

Baltimore Convention Center

Baltimore, MD

 

The Baltimore Convention Center plays host to a wide range of functions, including conventions, meetings, banquets, trade shows, and more. It is home to 300,000-square feet of contiguous exhibition space, approximately 85,000-square feet of meeting space (50 meeting rooms), and a multifunctional ballroom (over 36,000-square feet).

 

Together with its business partners, Centerplate (catering), Projection Presentation (audio-visual), M.C. Dean, Inc. (telecommunications) and Edlen Exhibition (temporary utility services), the center brings together all of the essential elements needed for producing successful events.

 

Long a catalyst for economic growth and tourism in the region, the convention center has bolstered tourism and spurred growth for other projects - from retail to restaurants and attractions - since it first opened over 40 years ago.

 

The Baltimore Convention Center is surrounded by unique neighborhoods that offer world-class dining, from fresh seafood like Maryland crabs to a variety of authentic, ethnic cuisines. A rich cultural experience awaits attendees, as more than 30 museums that feature everything from modern art to national historic moments in time are situated nearby. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the National Aquarium and famed Inner Harbor are just steps away, as well.

 

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Washington, DC

 

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, at 2.3-million square feet, is equipped to handle events of all sizes, from small groups and breakout meetings to events for 500 up to 42,000 attendees. One of the most energy-efficient buildings for its size, the convention center includes a range of mixed-use exhibit spaces, 198,000-square feet of flexible meeting space, the largest ballroom in the region, as well as a $4-million art collection.

 

The convention center offers an event planner tremendous flexibility to create unique experiences. Designed to host large conventions and trade shows along with mid-sized to small meetings, it boasts state-of-the-art technology, welcoming interior space, and easy access to public transit. The center also hosts some of Washington, DC’s most exclusive galas and fundraisers.

 

Events DC, which oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, also manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, The Fields at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, which is home of MLB’s World Series champion Washington Nationals. It is the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the U.S.

 

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

National Harbor, MD

 

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is located on the banks of the Potomac River in the National Harbor and just minutes from downtown Washington, DC. The venue offers over 545,000-square feet of flexible meeting and exhibit space, 1,996 guest rooms, on-site restaurants including the award winning Old Hickory Steakhouse, plus entertainment, an award-winning spa, and a stunning indoor atrium.

 

From boardrooms to ballrooms, conferences to celebrations, relaxed receptions to formal

presentations, Gaylord National’s employees are extensively trained to handle meetings of every size, whether for a group of 10 or 10,000 attendees.

 

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center’s function space includes five ballrooms, 101 conference and breakout rooms, over 75,000-square feet of outdoor event space (including an 11,000-square foot pier), multi-cultural experience and expertise for all types of events, plus shuttles to downtown Washington, DC and Reagan National Airport. In addition, the Harbor

Circulator Bus runs daily, Water Taxis provide quick and easy access to Old Town Alexandria, Georgetown, Mount Vernon, The Tidal Basin, and the Washington National’s Baseball Stadium, and the property is located in National Harbor, which boasts plenty of dining, shopping and

entertainment options, as well.

 

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