by Alex Palmer | July 05, 2017
When it comes to meetings, big things are happening in the Bay Area, from an expanded convention center to new hotels. The Moscone Center is in the midst of an expansion that will see its largest hall of contiguous space almost double to more than 509,000 square feet. A new 50,000-square-foot, column-free ballroom will open, as well as expanded lobbies, new outdoor terraces for receptions, and an enclosed bridge between buildings -- all slated for completion next year.

"But even as two-thirds of Moscone Center are undergoing expansion construction, San Francisco continues to be one of the most desirable meetings destinations in the country," says Joe D'Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel.

Upcoming hotel inventory includes the new 196-room Virgin Hotels San Francisco, and 221-room Hotel Zoe (with 1,950 square feet of meeting space), both opening this summer. This fall the 203-room Yotel San Francisco will open in the center of the city's tech-driven heart. These properties come after the opening of the 159-room Hotel VIA as well as the $60 million redesign of the Hotel Nikko San Francisco earlier this year.

But it's not just the hotel inventory that's making this a good time to visit San Francisco.

"Our restaurant scene remains stellar -- in fact, no place in the U.S. has more Michelin three-star restaurants than the San Francisco Bay Area," adds D'Alessandro. "And our arts and cultural community is as vibrant as ever with new excitement generated by the greatly expanded SFMOMA and the historic and now cutting-edge Curran Theater."

But these days, groups seeking great meeting options in the Bay Area are looking beyond San Francisco. Thanks to convenient transportation, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit, and the fast-expanding meeting options in SF's neighboring cities, planners are finding that their events can conveniently (and cheaply) span more than one city. The city of Concord offers a number of meeting-ready hotels, including the 324-room Crowne Plaza Concord and 329-room Hilton Concord -- as well as more than 75,000 square feet of meeting space. This fall, the city will complete a pedestrian-friendly, open-air shopping destination, The Veranda, which will include a movie theater, restaurants, and retail shops.