Destination: San Francisco Meeting & Event Planning City Guide

  • San Francisco

Destination Articles

  • Weird, Wacky, Wonderful

    By Nikki Glouderman

    March 25, 2014

    Here’s an important thing to know about the San Francisco Bay Area: It’s a place where people really like to dress up in costumes. Each year, thousands of locals and visitors wear Santa suits, fish hats, zombie costumes, PJs and anything and everything in between to enjoy traditions and special events that embrace the zany.

    There are plenty of destinations that offer excellent cuisine, cultural attractions, natural beauty and meetings infrastructure, and San Francisco and its neighbors—including Berkeley, Oakland, Napa, Sonoma and San Jose—feature all in spades. But few, if any, destinations can rival the area’s healthy appetite for the offbeat.

    From costumed races to public pillow fights to lolcat festivals, the destination invites guests to let loose, have fun and be free to be who they want to be. For buttoned-up business attendees, this is an enticing quality that invites both laugh-filled team bonding and big-idea thinking. Hold a meeting here and expect business to receive a welcome boost of fun—just make sure attendees pack some silly costumes with their business suits.

     Above: Exploratorium, San Francisco, courtesy of Amy Snyder © Exploratorium

  • State of the Arts

    By Dan Johnson

    December 26, 2013

    California is recognized throughout the world as a hotbed of creativity and much of it is manifested in its ever-flourishing art scene. Original works by a diverse assortment of native California artists blend with those of creative visionaries from throughout the world in thousands of galleries, hundreds of major museums and dozens of fairs and festivals. Planners often arrange outings to these art attractions because they appeal to attendees and often ignite a creative spark that carries over to meeting sessions. A vast array of options is available in both Northern and Southern California, and unlike many other types of attractions, artwork is accessible year-round.

    Northern California is well known for its many thriving, dynamic cities and communities, a fact clearly reflected in the region’s fine arts. San Francisco in particular has several world-class art museums, galleries and events, and nearby Berkeley, the longtime countercultural hub, has many cutting-edge art options near the University of California campus.

    Napa-Sonoma arts are closely intertwined with the breathtaking beauty of the area’s wine country. Sacramento, a rapidly evolving city, boasts a blossoming contemporary art culture and an outstanding historical museum. The influence of Silicon Valley’s technological advances is often seen in the works of inventive artists from San Jose, its largest city, while much of the artwork in the Monterey-Carmel area draws on its inspiring ocean-side setting.

    Planners wanting to arrange trips to art museums, galleries and special events for groups meeting in Northern California have many attractive choices, and almost all the museums offer discounted group admission rates and special tours. Superb lodging and meeting places abound in these areas, too.

  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game

    By Holly Woolard

    March 26, 2013

    San Francisco's got game. So do Oakland and San Jose, and Santa Clara will be added to the list of Bay Area cities with professional sports franchises in August 2014 when the San Francisco 49ers begin playing at Santa Clara Stadium. Heck, even the San Francisco Bay has game and will be showcased this summer during the 34th America’s Cup racing July through September.

  • The Northern California Must List

    By Nikki Gloudeman

    December 31, 2012

    Northern Californians are quick to share an audacious opinion: Their region is the best in the world.

    A lofty claim, sure, but there are ample facts to back it up: Where else can you find scenic coastal towns, a world-class metropolis, a political hub, the epicenter of technology and a renowned ski resort? Where else can you explore one of the world’s most heavily visited wine regions and national parks? And where else can you do all this in a famously sunny and temperate climate? The reality is, few other places boast the diverse appeal of Northern California, and few serve as such an enticing, well-rounded meetings locale. Making the decision to book in this stellar region should be easy; a better question is what to do while here.

  • Outdoor Adventures by the Bay

    By Maxine Cass

    March 29, 2012

    “Strip down the business hierarchy. Get groups and corporate executives learning new skills together, having a blast exercising outside with blood pumping and endorphins flowing,” suggests Cliff Hodges, Adventure Out owner and CEO. “Think surfing, rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking and wilderness survival training as icebreakers.”

  • The United Nations of California

    By Sandi Cain

    December 28, 2011

    California is well known for its Spanish and Mexican heritage, but it also boasts roughly 70 other ethnicities, reflected in delightful museums, restaurants and cultural centers throughout the state.

Learn about San Francisco for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations

Destination Description

Smart Stats:

Number of Meetings Hotels: 215
Total Hotel Rooms: 35,000
Number of Special Events Venues: 580
Local Convention Centers: Moscone Center
Local Airports: San Francisco International, Oakland International, Mineta San Jose International
Local CVB: San Francisco Travel, Oakland CVB San Francisco CVB

Smart Snapshot:

San Francisco: What Makes San Francisco the Ideal Conference, Convention, and Meeting Destination

Internationally known for its culinary fetes, iconic fog laced landscape, and daunting city hills, San Francisco draws vacationers and is also a sought-after business meeting destination. Between meetings, sip a cappuccino with Ferlinghetti at City Lights Bookstore in North Beach, cruise the Castro with the ghost of Harvey Milk, hit the trails in the Marin Headlands or tune in at Golden Gate Park—be it history, art or culture, San Francisco has what you’re looking for to mix business with pleasure for your next destination meeting.

When taking advantage of San Francisco’s public transportation system, it’s easy to access the area’s many meeting venues, including the Moscone Center, which is sure to provide all of the meeting spaces and meeting room options a company could ever need. Whether riding on an iconic San Francisco Cable Car, or using the local train system Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Muni, you’re sure to arrive at your business meeting destination with ease.

Stepping outside the boardroom, attendees will love both the cultural and natural draws of the City by the Bay. The Embarcadero, San Francisco’s waterfront walkway, stretches all the way from the Giants’ AT&T Park through the Financial District to Fisherman’s Wharf and is a perfect example of integrating this stunning natural landscape into an urban setting.  Grab a bike or some walking shoes and walk or jog along the water. Watch for sea lions at Pier 39, try some cracked crab fresh from the bay, or even hop on a sightseeing boat to Alcatraz, San Francisco’s famed island jail.

With so much to explore, San Francisco is a great option for planning a meeting or corporate event.  But bring a sweater; although the fog is beautiful to look at, it packs a chilly punch.

Plan Your San Francisco Meeting Today!

If you’re thinking of planning a meeting or corporate event in San Francisco and need help finding the ideal meeting venue, conference room or convention center, explore our meeting planning properties in San Francisco.

Smart Meetings – Your Guide to Meeting Planning in San Francisco

Other Popular Event Destinations: