The City of Arlington has had several reimaginations over the years. It was a frontier outpost and the site of the historic Battle of Village Creek. Thanks to its rich soil fed by the waters of Trinity River and its proximity to the Texas and Pacific Railway, it was an agricultural center and market town for neighboring farms. And, most surprising of all, it was once the largest gambling destination in the country, drawing the famous and infamous, including Clark Gable, Mae West, Al Capone, and Bonnie and Clyde. And now Arlington can add another moniker to its list: a top destination for meetings and events.

Today, tourism is one of the most  important industries for this city sandwiched by Dallas to the west and Fort Worth to the east. In fact, 14.5 million visitors experience Arlington annually.

Arlington’s central location just minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) makes it an ideal meeting place for almost every traveler. DFW serves more than 24 scheduled airlines, providing nonstop service from more than 200 U.S. domestic and international cities combined.

“Arlington is a fantastic destination for groups and meetings with our convenient 15-minute access from Dallas Fort Worth Airport, growing collection of full-service hotels, and broad variety of entertainment districts and venues—all providing countless memorable experience opportunities for attendees,” says Chad Enloe, vice president of sales for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Here are some additional reasons to choose Arlington for your next conference, corporate meeting or private event.

A Venue for Any Size Group
Whether you’re planning a large convention or a more intimate gathering, Arlington has you covered. First and foremost is the convention campus located in Arlington’s Entertainment District. Here you’ll find Esports Stadium Arlington + Expo Center. The 90,000-square-foot venue opened in 2018 and has the most extensive and technologically advanced LED/audio setup available. The venue can accommodate up to 2,500 guests.

Esports is set within the Arlington Convention Center, which is conveniently connected to the 311-room Sheraton Hotel. The hotel has its own meeting space, totaling more than 21,000 square feet.

For more nontraditional options, consider Texas Live!, AT&T Stadium or the Globe Life Field, all also located in the Entertainment District. Texas Live! is a destination in and of itself with entertainment and dining. The 200,000-plus-square-foot venue boasts a 100- foot media wall and can host parties for up to 10,000 guests. Too big? Not to worry. Thanks to its flexibility of space, with a beer garden, lounges and an outdoor event pavilion, it can accommodate a range of group sizes, including those for as little as 20 people. Anchoring the venue is Live! By Loews – Arlington, a 14-story, 300-room resort with 35,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, as well as an event lawn, outdoor infinity pool and rooftop private terrace.

“Live! by Loews – Arlington is redefining hospitality with a first-of-its-kind sports resort in the heart of Arlington’s sports and entertainment district,” says Marcela Ceccacci, director of sales and marketing for Live! by Loews. “Our meeting space embraces the destination and includes floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views in the pre-function space, along with multiple outdoor venues that showcase both AT&T Stadium and the new Globe Life Park.”

Home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium is also a flexible event venue for up to 8,000 guests. The stadium offers hospitality suites, End Zone Platforms, an amphitheater and field-level clubs. You can even hold an event in the post-game interview room or take over the same field the Cowboys play on. The field has more than 98,000 square feet of space for anything you can imagine: concerts, trade shows or expansive gala banquets. To give you an idea of the size of the stadium: The entire Statue of Liberty can fit inside with a little room to spare.

If you’re more of a baseball fan, the newest kid on the venue block is Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field which will open in time for the 2020 season. Located just south of the existing base- ball park (which will become home to an XFL football team), the climate-controlled venue will include a retractable roof for sunny days.

Think way outside of the venue box with some of Arlington’s out-of-the-ordinary venues, such as Six Flags Over Texas or the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. The Bowling Museum can accommodate 275 guests. The 18,000-square-foot museum has two breakout rooms and a small movie theater. It also has free on-site parking. American Way maga- zine named the museum a must-see.

If a tad more adrenaline is what you’re looking for, the 212-acre Six Flags Over Texas—Dallas Fort Worth area’s largest attraction—can oblige. Reward your employees and their families with a visit to the park. Full park buy-outs are available, but smaller spaces, such as the private picnic pavilion, can be reserved as well. Discounted group tickets are also available if you just want to treat your team to a day outside of the office.

Post-Meeting Fun Galore
Okay, you’ve got the space reserved. Now, what are your group’s plans post-meeting? How about a charcuterie board party by Inspirations Catering and Events? The team at Inspirations will teach your group how to create a beautiful board worthy of a fancy dinner party or casual potluck. No cooking is required: All of the food is pre-sliced and chopped, and specialty dips are prepared and included. All you and your team have to do is use the boards as a blank canvas to create your favorite spreads.

Or inject the agenda with a little caffeine courtesy of the Texas Coffee School. Learn how to taste and evaluate a cup of joe the same way industry professionals have been doing the world over. The “coffee cupping” class includes five to six varieties of freshly roasted, small-batch seasonal coffees from regions around the world. This hands-on activity includes tips on brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home.

If art is more your style, explore the pieces at the AT&T Stadium, an architectural master- piece in and of itself. Making art accessible to the general public, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his family have created a gallery of sorts within the stadium with 16 commissioned, site-specific works of art along with 43 additional museum- worthy works. Group tours are available.

Hearkening back to Arlington’s days as the original Las Vegas, Top O’ Hill Terrace was an old speakeasy, brothel and gambling mecca frequented by the rich and powerful. The property even had an escape tunnel and secret room for hiding the gambling paraphernalia during raids. Ironically enough, today the one-time den of inequity is on the campus of Arlington Baptist University. This unique piece of history is a must- see for your group.

Your team can also look to the stars at The Planetarium at the University of Texas Arlington. Boasting a 60-foot diameter dome and the latest Digistar 5 DLP Projection system, it is one of the biggest and the most advanced planetariums in Texas. The Digistar 5 system projects stars, galaxies, planets and virtually anything else you can see in the sky onto the dome. The Planetarium is available for private functions and can seat about 150 people.

And for when your attendees want to head outdoors, Arlington has plenty of natural beauty to offer, as well. Lake Arlington is a great spot for fishing and boating and  includes a 10.8- mile paddling trail. Trinity River has its own River Legacy Paddling Trail that extends 8 miles along the west fork of the river. Or check out the new Texas Rangers Golf Course—the only Major League Baseball branded course in the world. 

With its casual college town vibe, thriving music and arts scenes, and independent cowboy culture, Denton is a city of originals. So, it only makes sense that planners looking for a unique location would choose the north Texas city.

 

Grapevine’s event venue options are expanding. This summer, the community will welcome Hotel Vin to its historic district. Part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the 120-room Hotel Vin embraces the city’s historic past, while offering the innovation and amenities of today. The hotel will feature 10,327 square feet of indoor meeting space—including a 4,232-square-foot ballroom with panoramic views of Main Street and the community plaza—and 4,140 square feet of outdoor event space.

 

Texas’s Big Bend Country is a beautifully orchestrated mix of extremes—from mountains to plains and deserts to forests. Named for the curve the Rio Grande River makes as it traces the border of Texas and Mexico, it’s home to Big Bend National Park, an 880,000-acre wilderness playground that is ripe for engaging outdoor activities and team-building exercises. When traveling to the region for a retreat or conference, here are some spots to stay.

Lajitas Golf Resort