More Event Venues Meeting Planners Should Know About

I have been busy or I am lazy (or both), but either way it has been a while since I have made any significant additions to our Meetings Resource Library. It’s time to remedy that.  For those who are not familiar with the MRL as a tool for planners, my job is to share cool stuff I find and then keep it all on the website in a searchable library so other people looking for cool ideas can find them.

There is no particular rhyme or reason connecting these new additions. But put them all together and add them to the Meeting Resource Library… and throw in all of the future blogs I am working on and… it’s good. With that said, in no particular order, here goes…

The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

Originally built in 1909 as the Scottish Rite Temple, this historic SF landmark went through many lives before opening as the Regency Center in 2002 featuring three distinct venue spaces.

The Ballroom: A beaux-arts treasure boasting 35-foot ceilings, 22 turn of-the-century teardrop chandeliers, blonde hardwood floors, a horseshoe-shaped balcony, and a built-in stage ideal for larger banquets and receptions featuring live entertainment. It can hold 700 guests in a theatre setting and up to 1,400 for a reception.

The Social Hall: With blonde hardwood floors and beautifully arched and beamed ceilings, this basement venue has two large rooms separated by open archways. One half includes a 40-foot bar so think reception and then dinner etc. Together, both rooms can hold about 600 for a reception.

The Lodge – The original meeting hall for the Scottish Rite Freemason, the Lodge is a dramatic space for a max 300 guest reception. A magnificent example of Gothic architecture featuring 35-foot arched open beam ceilings with dark wood paneled walls and stained-glass windows, 31 hand-painted backdrops that enhance the built-in stage and a fully functioning 1909 Austin pipe organ.

The Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

The Warfield opened in 1922 as a vaudeville and movie palace. Since opening, all the big names in entertainment played on the Warfield stage, and I mean ALL the big names (from Al Jolson, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Chaplin to Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead and The Clash… and still going strong. The lobby features marble, guilt and chandeliers, and opens to a grand staircase to the balcony. The main 2300-seat theater is a classic and is available for corporate meetings, private concerts, banquets, receptions, and whatever.

The Village at 969 Market, San Francisco, CA

Three floors and 17,000 square feet of event space for up to 1,000 guests paired with in-house state-of-the-art AV (including a 75-foot projection wall).

The 4,978-square-foot ground floor, the 4,978-square-foot third floor (with a separate entrance and lots of natural light) and the 1,002-square-foot lower level provide all sorts of options for any type of corporate event. As you would expect with a venue located in the heart of San Francisco, Madrone Studios, their on-site AV company provides constantly upgraded cutting edge tech. And to complete the picture, they offer farm-to-table catering services with a full-time, in-house chef and culinary team.

Villa de Martini, Rancho Mirage, CA

This lavish, recently updated 14,000 square foot estate, on three private acres was once the private oasis of the American film star, Marion Davies. As the mistress of newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, Marion hosted many lavish events for the Hollywood elite in this unique estate.

Still keeping with old-world elegance, it is generously appointed with ten unique guest rooms. It’s expansive living room is the epitome of Hollywood glam with an Essex baby grand piano and sumptuous sofas and divans decorated with faux fur throws and silk and feather pillows. The private media room offers a large screen TV and serves as a game room as well as a family room with a large fireplace. Have the butler plan a gourmet dinner prepared in any one of the five on-property kitchens or a countryside picnic complete with mint juleps and finger sandwiches on the lawn of the estates overlooking the pond and waterfalls. And of course, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Just two blocks from Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco, the 4,000 square foot space is perfect for a reception for up to 400 guests. They feature two connected rooms, each with their own bar, complete AV, and coffee bar. 111 Minna Gallery showcases a unique blend of local and international artists, world-class DJ’s, live performance, and film screenings in an elegantly urban and ever-changing event space.

Blanco, San Jose, CA

Located on historic San Pedro Square, Blanco serves corporate event and meeting needs of Silicon Valley companies during the week, and weddings and social functions during the weekends. It features a combination of individual spaces; the 3700 square foot Great Room and a rooftop garden for up to 200. Live streaming is built into the building as is full AV, lighting and F&B. Blanco event offers planners registration, event app and badge printing in a single solution.

And of course, location, location, location.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA

The Boardwalk is a classic seaside amusement park with over 40 rides and attractions, game arcades, and private ocean-front (outdoor and indoor) event spaces. They can accommodate groups from 50 – 5,000 (yes… I said 5,000) with exclusive oceanfront event spaces.

Their group picnic menu is BBQ-style and Group activities typically include rides, games, and beach volleyball. They can also arrange team building and coordinated beach games, DJs or a band. Plus just about anything else. It’s a great place to have a party.

Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay, CA

Sam’s Chowder House oceanfront property in Half Moon Bay is a unique coastal location for a special event, private dinner or teambuilding. Perched on a hillside, Sam’s has a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean and Pillar Point Harbor, and provides direct beach access through a staircase down to the sandy beach. The restaurant has substantial outdoor patio seating, as well as heaters, cozy fire pits, and Adirondack chairs. Six indoor and outdoor venues, including private rooms and a beachfront lawn, seat from 10-300, and a full restaurant buyout is also offered. A good option.

The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Oakland, CA

With spaces for events from 30 people to 3,000, the historic aircraft carrier USS Hornet is a unique event space and backdrop for any event. Located on the water (what a surprise… it’s a ship), the Museum is a great central location for visitors throughout the Bay Area. They also provide complimentary parking for over 500 vehicles.

They also offer add-ons that can enhance an event beyond what a more traditional venue space can offer including full ship buy-outs, overnight accommodations, historic tours, ghost tours, flight simulator rides, and more (more, as in it’s a big space so lots of options)

Hornblower Cruises & Events, San Francisco CA

There is something about being on the water. Amazing views of the San Francisco Skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Bay Wildlife. Hornblower Cruises and Events’ San Francisco operates a fleet of 7 yachts. Hornblower says their NorCal fleet can accommodate anywhere from 2-1,500 people. I want to know why it’s not 1-1,500. I digress. Their Pier 3 “port” is also available for private events and can accommodate up to 5,000 guests.

They can also assist in planning all of the extra on-board activities… team building, entertainment, holiday party, or anything else unique to what you need.

Giants Enterprises, San Francisco, CA

No longer just a venue (and a great venue at that), Giants Enterprises is now a full-service event management company. Originally created to bring groups into the Giants Oracle Park, they have now expanded to help companies produce events throughout San Francisco, on the Bay and across the country. Thanks to their vast network and organizational resources (as in money and connections) Giants Enterprises can help planners create and execute innovative, entrepreneurial events. And don’t forget, they still have the SF Giants and Oracle Park… that’s big.

Rosewood Sand Hill, Menlo Park, CA

Rosewood Hotels is synonymous with really, really nice. Silicon Valley’s Rosewood Sand Hill is no exception. Conveniently located near high-tech hubs, the Stanford University campus and some of the nation's foremost venture capital and private equity firms (aka Rich People). this 121 guest-room high-end full-service resort on 16 acres features a 2,769-sq.-ft. ballroom, three boardrooms and three meeting rooms. If you have the budget and want to impress your attendees, this fits the bill.

This boutique Silicon Valley Hotel (now a participant in the Hilton Honors program) offers 224 guest rooms, over 5,000 sq. ft. of indoor space and 3,500 sq. ft. of outdoor space. Enjoy complimentary shuttle service to destinations within a 5-mile radius (with advanced reservation).

And for those of you that appreciate Planet Earth, their Rooftop has been home to eight colonies of Honey Bees since 2015. Their Beekeeper harvests honey four times a year and guests can try this truly local honey in some of their favorite cocktails and menu items. They continue to expand the rooftop garden and recently started harvesting herbs, tomatoes and peppers for their restaurant.

This peaceful 378-room retreat on the Bay, with great views of the city and the Golden Gate, offers 17,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a 4,000 square foot event patio next to the Marina, and complimentary shuttle service within three miles of the hotel (including BART stations and the Tideline Ferry).

That’s it for the moment, but we will keep adding to the Meeting Resource Library so planners can continue to use it to get ideas and make easy connections with vetted suppliers.

Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

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