Group-Friendly Attractions in Downtown Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium

The special-event possibilities in and around the downtown convention district are attractive and convenient. This applies even to meetings taking place in the airport district, home of Georgia International Convention Center and two adjacent business hotels; midtown, an arts and cultural hub with 4,600 hotel rooms and 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; and Buckhead, an upscale northern district with 5,400 hotel rooms, 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and dozens of restaurants.

The College Football Hall of Fame is situated between GWCC and Centennial Olympic Park. Opened in 2014, the hall of fame is a 94,000-square-foot facility with interactive stations offering blocking and tackling lessons, video displays of great game moments, plus equipment and other football-related memorabilia.

Many meeting groups use the indoor, 45-yard-long artificial-turf as a centerpiece for a reception. Attendees can partake in contests ranging from throwing and kicking footballs to playing beanbag toss and miniature golf.

“Many planners encourage their attendees to wear a jersey or T-shirt from their favorite college teams, and it adds a lot to the energy and uniqueness of the event,” Vaughn says.

Set on the edge of Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. With five separate galleries and more than 10 million gallons of water, the aquarium is one of only two in the world that houses whale sharks and one of only four with a manta ray: It also contains beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, piranha, electric fish and hundreds of other species. The aquarium’s Oceans Ballroom hosts 1,200 for receptions, but the entire aquarium can be rented out by large convention and trade-show groups.

World of Coca-Cola, adjacent to the aquarium, is just a few blocks from where John Pemberton created the original soda formula. The 92,000-square-foot building features exhibits about the secret formula, as well as dispensing machines, advertising signs and soda-fountain counters from various eras, tasting stations for more than 60 Coke products from around the world, a functioning bottling line producing commemorative eight-ounce souvenir bottles for attendees and a 4-D theater.

Just steps from GWCC and Centennial Olympic Park is CNN Global Headquarters, where groups can take tours of the television studios to understand the demands and pace involved in creating live television news. Also on site is the 1,059-room Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.

Further Reading:

Guide to Atlanta

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