by Michael C. Lowe | January 01, 2014
Why Here?

Several California cities -- San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego -- have plans to invest heavily in their convention facilities. San Jose already has added 125,000 square feet to its convention center, while Long Beach recently unveiled a $10 million event venue (above) in the Long Beach Arena.

Did You Know? 

San Francisco's Presidio served as a military base from 1776 to 1994 and is now a National Park Site complete with its own inn. The site offers several unique meeting spaces with breathtaking views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Scenic Space

San Diego's Town and Country Resort and Conference Center ( has more than 200,000 square feet of function space and can host up to 5,000 people in its 41,000-square-foot exhibit hall.

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Local Update
• Last fall, the Grand Hyatt San Francisco completed a $70 million renovation with the unveiling of a new top-floor meeting and event space. The 4,817-square-foot area on the 36th floor presents 360-degree views of the Bay Area, including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridge and bustling Union Square directly below. The property features 660 guest rooms and a total of 32,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,000-square-foot grand ballroom adjacent to an additional 10,000 square feet of flexible space for exhibits or dining for up to 350 attendees.

• The Galleria Park Hotel, part of the Joie de Vivre collection, completed a multimillion-dollar, 18-month renovation last summer. The project included a redesign of the property's 177 guest rooms, new landscaping and décor on the hotel's outdoor terrace, a remodel of its 2,000-square-foot meeting space and a new French restaurant.

• The 116-room Hotel Zetta opened last February with 2,760 square feet of event space divided among three meeting rooms and a chic lobby lounge. The property, originally built in 1913, is a few blocks from Moscone Center and features an on-site restaurant and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Meeting Hotels: Among properties in the Union Square area are the 1,908-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 1,496-room Marriott Marquis San Francisco, 1,195-room Westin St. Francis, 1,010-room Parc 55 Wynd­ham San Francisco-Union Square and 532-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco.

To find and compare these and other hotels in the area, and to send RFPs, go to

Convention Centers: Moscone Center; exhibit space, approximately 442,000 square feet in Moscone North and South; number of meeting rooms, 68. Moscone West; exhibit space, 3,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 38. (415) 974-4000;

Fort Mason Center; exhibit space, 130,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 11. (415) 441-3400;

Concourse Exhibition Center at the San Francisco Design Center; exhibit space, 125,000 square feet; no meeting rooms. (415) 490-5800;

Airport Transit: San Francisco International Airport, about 13 miles south of San Francisco's downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi, $45 to downtown

Taxes: Room tax, 14%; Tourism Improvements District Assessment, .75% or 1%; Moscone Expansion District, .3125% or 1.25%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15.0625% or 16.25%

Group Venue: Meeting planners can rent several intriguing spaces on the 25th floor of the 532-room Hotel Nikko, including a 1,560-square-foot area with unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Additional gathering spots on the same floor include a 1,058-square-foot room overlooking the peninsula and Silicon Valley, a 990-square-foot room with views of San Francisco Bay and four boardrooms. (415) 394-1111;

Contact: San Francisco Travel Association, (415) 974-6900;