In recent years, the Tampa area has became quite a popular destination for businesses and organizations hosting major events, such as conventions and tradeshows. While area hotels and resorts are often large enough to accommodate such events, those seeking something larger with top-notch amenities often turn to Tampa's excellent Convention Center, located in the heart of the downtown area.
What makes the Tampa Convention Center the ideal choice for such events is indeed its location. Sitting directly on the city’s picturesque waterfront, this venue is close to everything convention goers might be seeking, including some of the city’s best hotels, restaurants, and nightlife spots, including those in Channelside and Ybor City. Shopping opportunities are also close by and some of Tampa’s best attractions – like the Florida Aquarium - are within walking distance or easily reached by car or public transportation.
About the Convention Center
The Tampa Convention Center is not only modern and attractive, but its design can accommodate anything from small lecture/workshop type events to mega-conventions to trade shows that will literally attract thousands of attendees.
At 600,000 square-feet, the facility is enormous. Meeting space includes 36 breakout rooms, 10 of which boast amazing waterfront views. (Actually, there’s a total of 2,000 feet of waterfront-view space available.) For companies or organizations seeking exhibit space, the Tampa Convention Center has 200,000 square-feet of it; about 125,000 square-feet are totally unobstructed, which means there are no poles and other structures that may get in the way. The space may also be divided into 75,000 sq. ft., 100,000 sq. ft. and 125,000 sq. ft. sections, and the Convention Center’s 30-foot-high ceilings make it the perfect place for tall exhibits, vehicles, or other large objects that may be included in displays. In all, about one-thousand 10x10 booths can fit in this exhibit area. Riser seats are also available as are concessions.
The Tampa Convention Center also boasts a 36,000-square-foot ballroom that’s able to be divided into four sections. Complete food service and preparation is available in the ballroom, which can accommodate more than 4,000 people for general sessions.
If pre-function space is required, an 80,000-square-foot area is available, which includes a 21,000-square-foot registration level.
For those who really want to enjoy the Tampa Convention Center’s beautiful waterfront location, two outdoor areas are available. The 14,600-square-foot Riverwalk is often used for elegant evening banquets and receptions, and The Garden, an outdoor area surrounded by plants and trees, is available for receptions of up to 500 people.
Everything at the Convention Center is state of the art, including all the audio-visual equipment that is made available to businesses and organizations leasing the space via several in-house suppliers. Other services offered in-house include catering, business services like faxing and copying, security services, and parking valets.
In addition, the Convention Center’s guest services department can provide greeters, badge checkers, ticket takers, and other personnel for the convenience of the company or organization leasing space for their event. An ever-present front door concierge is on duty to provide convention goers with the pertinent information they’ll need, including directions for both inside and around the Center. The concierge offers maps, brochures, and other information to help make guests’ stay in Tampa as enjoyable and convenient as possible. He/she can also assist with dinner reservations and in securing tickets for other area events, much like a hotel concierge.
In 2006, an all-suite hotel was built directly beside the Tampa Convention Center. The two are connected together by a skybridge and this 20-story hotel is a convenient place for convention goers to stay, especially when transportation to and from the Center is an issue.
Myriad groups make use of the facilities of the Tampa Convention Center, staging everything from annual conventions to once-a-year holiday parties. Some recurring annual events include:
Planning an Event
The Tampa Convention Center is owned by the city of Tampa. Those interested in considering the center for their next major event should contact the Customer Service staff at the Convention Center to check availability and determine whether their needs can be met by this excellent venue.
The Tampa Convention Center stays busy all year round so those considering its use should plan far in advance in order to secure a spot on its schedule of events.