Hosting a successful conference starts with choosing the right venue. But in order to decide where to hold your event, you’ll need to consider several factors. Will there be enough hotels available to accommodate your guests? Will the venue be close to local restaurants and bars? To answer these questions, SmartAsset ranked the best cities in America to host conferences. To find the best cities for conferences in 2016, SmartAsset ranked 102 of the largest U.S. cities using the nine factors that included availability of hotels, hotel room rates, the average cost of a restaurant meal and the proximity of each city to a major airport.
1. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio has more hotels than most of the cities in our study. It also has a number of large venues like the Alamodome, a facility that seats more than 65,000 people. But those aren’t the only reasons why so many groups and organizations choose to hold their conferences in the Alamo City.
The city’s warm weather might make a trip to San Antonio seem more appealing. It’s also an inexpensive place to visit. According to numbeo.com, a three-course at a mid-range restaurant costs just $22.50, on average.
2. El Paso, Texas
El Paso is another affordable place for conference-goers. A single night at a hotel costs just $92, on average, according to Hotels.com. So a business trip to the city shouldn’t break the bank.
When you’re not waiting around for a meeting or workshop to begin, you can visit a museum, stop by a casino or tour a winery. Before you leave, you might want to check out Scenic Drive for a spectacular view of the city, its mountains and part of Mexico.
3. San Diego, California
San Diego is a popular city for conferences. But even if there are a lot of events taking place when you’re in town, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a place to stay. There are 255 hotels in San Diego and the average cost of a single night at a hotel is $147. That’s significantly cheaper than the average hotel room rate in New York City ($254) and slightly cheaper than the average cost of a hotel room in Los Angeles ($175).
4. Austin, Texas
Visitors come to Austin throughout the year for all sorts of conferences, festivals and events. Some of the city’s most popular venues include the Austin Convention Center and the Palmer Events Center, which has a 70,000-square foot exhibit hall and five different meeting rooms.
Compared to other major cities, Austin’s cost of living isn’t nearly as high. Plus, the state of Texas doesn’t collect any income taxes. But spending a night at a hotel in the city could cost a bit more than you expect. The average hotel room rate in Austin is $153. That’s the highest hotel rate among the top 10 cities in our analysis.
5. Irving, Texas
Irving is home to about 236,617 residents and has a low violent crime rate. As one of the safest cities on our list, conference attendees should feel comfortable traveling to the area. What’s more, it’s not an expensive place to visit. The average three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs $20 per person.
To find the best cities for conferences in 2016, SmartAsset ranked 102 of the largest U.S. cities using the nine factors that included availability of hotels, hotel room rates, the average cost of a restaurant meal and the proximity of each city to a major airport.
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