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Decorated dining tables at an event in Philadelphia.

Tips for Choosing a Venue in Philadelphia

Date January 10, 2024

Tips for Choosing a Venue in Philadelphia

Decorated dining tables at an event in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has many great venues, from the massive Pennsylvania Convention Center to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art.

To help you find the ideal venue for your next event, here are some common questions about booking in Philadelphia. Use these tips for choosing a venue to ensure your Philadelphia experience is a success from start to finish.

1. Which Philadelphia neighborhood is ideal for hosting an event?

Most meetings and conventions take place in the Center City district, near the Pennsylvania Convention Center. With nearly 13,500 hotel rooms within a 25-minute walk of the Convention Center, many planners choose to host their offsite events nearby. Philadelphia’s walkability allows attendees to easily get from their hotel to the event venue within minutes.

There are plenty of excellent venues outside of Center City. Old City —where the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — is full of charming, historic event venues. Or have your attendees venture into Fairmount Park and meet in lush outdoor spaces.

To the right is the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In front of the center is a street filled with cars, taxis, and a SEPTA bus. There are people walking along the sidewalk in between the center and the street. The Marriott hotel is shown next to the center. Philadelphia City Hall is in the background.

The Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Market Street entrance is just steps away from local hotels and other downtown attractions. Photo by C. Cooper for PHLCVB.

2. What’s the best venue for your specific group?

Every meeting is different, and there are plenty of venue options to suit your group’s needs. If you’re hosting a corporate crowd with business on their mind, you can’t do any better than one of Philadelphia’s premier hotel venues. For smaller business events, consider Convene, with meeting spaces located throughout the city.

There are also plenty of fun, informal venues for groups looking to host an after-hours party or team-building night. Recreational venues such as Lucky Strike Philadelphia, Spin Philadelphia, or Craft Hall let your attendees work as hard as they play. You can also rent space at Rivers Casino or the Live! Casino & Hotel for networking and gaming fun.

Two blue and white Ping-Pong tables are shown in the middle of a room. The far back wall has a colorful mural painted on it. Underneath the mural, the wall is lined with cushioned booths with five small tables in front. On the wall to the right, another colorful mural decorates the space.

Photo courtesy of Spin Philadelphia, a Ping-Pong Social Club.

Philadelphia can also provide unique spaces for industry-specific events. The city is home to numerous life science labs and centers that are rentable as event spaces. There are also venues with historical and artistic significance that are perfect for groups hosting events in these sectors. Notable examples of such venues include Carpenters’ Hall, which served as the venue for the First Continental Congress. For art enthusiasts, the Rodin Museum boasts the largest collection of the sculptor’s works outside of Paris.

3. What size venue will you need?

Determining what size venue is best for your group depends on several factors. These include attendance numbers, activities, and room setup. A good rule of thumb for a standing-only event is six square feet per person. Adding seating and tables will increase how many square feet you need per person. The exact square foot per person ratio will vary depending on the seating layout. For example, for a classroom-style setup, you’ll need about 14 to 18 square feet per person.

The Pennsylvania Convention Center is over one-million-square feet and contains multiple exhibit halls, conference rooms, and ballrooms. Many hotels also offer multiple event spaces ranging in size. For example, Loews Philadelphia Hotel features multiple conference and event spaces in a wide range of sizes. These include three ballrooms, a grand Millennium Hall, and 24 additional meeting rooms ranging from 483 to 6,100 square feet.

A large rom is shown set up with rows of gray cushioned chairs. The chairs are facing a desk set up in the center. Two large screens are shown, one on either side of the main table up front. The carpet is a mix of gray, yellow, and orange designs.

The Regency Ballroom at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Photo courtesy of Loews Philadelphia Hotel.

4. Do you have any technical equipment needs?

When considering a venue, be sure to ask about audiovisual and technical equipment to ensure it fits your group’s needs. Double-check that TVs, microphones, projectors, and controllers are available. And don’t forget about electrical outlets and extension cords — it’s important to know how many are available for your group. With the rise of hybrid and virtual events, consider if the venue can live-stream your event or if they have technology and AV vendors available.

White desks are shown with black shares pushed up against them. Two large white screens are shown against windows that are letting in natural light.

Convene’s several Philadelphia meeting venues all come equipped with tech solutions planners need, such as projectors, screens, and other audio visual capabilities. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

5. What other amenities does the venue offer?

When selecting a venue, it’s important to consider small details that may not be top of mind. Inquire about the availability of a shipping and receiving area, signage, décor, and on-site lighting. Ask about any necessary items that need to be brought in or installed. Moreover, ensure there are sufficient restroom facilities to accommodate your group’s needs.

A spread of plates of food and drinks are set up across a table covered with a white tablecloth. The plate in the center has a salad made of green and purple leaves. A plate in front of the salad has three small desserts on it. There is one that appears to be chocolate, one that looks like a tart with three raspberries on top, and another pastry of sorts with a whipped portion and a piece of fruit as garnish. Glasses on the table are filled with water and a yellow juice. A window in the background is letting in natural light. Independence Hall is seen off in the distance.

Be sure to inquire about catering options at your preferred venue. Pictured: a table setting at an event at the National Constitution Center. Photo courtesy of Brûlée Catering.

6. How can my event have a positive environmental impact?

With over 10,200 acres of green space, Philadelphia has an abundance of outdoor venues. These spaces connect your guests with nature and provide plenty of room to spread out. The Mann Center for the Performing Arts and the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center are perfect for outdoor receptions or galas.

An outdoor patio set is set up. The chairs and sofas are brown wicker with beige cushions and red-orange pillows. Tables in front of the sofas are set with planters and candles. Behind the sofas, there is a high top cocktail table covered in a beige tablecloth. A flower is placed in the center. Beyond that, there are fountains spraying water into the air. Fall foliage is seen on either side of the fountain pool. Yellow and orange mums line a walkway to the left of the seating area.

An event setup at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Photo courtesy of Constellation Culinary Group.

You can also keep your meeting or event “green” by finding ways to reduce your event’s overall ecological footprint. The City of Philadelphia and its hospitality partners have made a commitment to sustainability. The Pennsylvania Convention Center has earned LEED Gold Certification due to initiatives around air quality, waste minimization, and energy and water conversation. Additionally, several hotels use eco-friendly cleaning products, linen-reuse programs, and energy management systems.

A massive hall is shown lit up in green. The floors are a mix of white and gray. They shine reflecting the lights above. Hanging from the industrial roof above is a sculpture made of blue and silver metals. A hallway at the end of the hall lights up leading to conference rooms.

The Grand Hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center shining in green. Photo by C. Cooper for PHLCVB.

We’re here to help you find the perfect venue! Reach out to one of our services team members by submitting an online RFP for more ideas on making your next meeting a success.