Being set between two meeting hubs as huge as Dallas and Fort Worth might make one think it would be easy for a smaller city to get lost. That's not the case with Arlington, the Texas city that's been punching above its weight when it comes to venues and attractions for meeting planners, this past summer more than ever.
Last month, the city saw the opening of Texas Live! in the center of the city's bustling Entertainment District. Just a short walk from the Arlington Convention Center and Sheraton Arlington Hotel, the $250 million development includes the 5,000-capacity outdoor event pavilion Arlington Backyard (hosting a full calendar of live music acts); a PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Texas Bar that can accommodate 1,500 and boasts two mechanical bulls; and a 35,000-square-foot, two-level Live Arena, which will house concerts and festivals. Not to mention a cornucopia of dining options, including Guy Fieri's Taco Joint; Troy's, a new restaurant from legendary Dallas Cowboy Troy Aikman; as well as Pudge's Pizza, a restaurant from former Texas Rangers catcher Pudge Rodriguez.
According to Jon Hixon, vice president of sales at the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, "This new addition to the city bolsters the lure of a centrally located destination (DFW International Airport is eight miles away), the presence of a top-flight research institution in the University of Texas at Arlington and the focused customer service that keeps groups like the Texas Girls Coaches Association coming back again and again."
But that's just phase one. Next year will see the debut of a $150 million flagship Live! by Loew's hotel and Grand Event Center. The 302-room property will offer 35,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,500-capacity grand ballroom, executive boardroom, and 1,500-square-foot outdoor terrace overlooking Johnson Creek and the Entertainment District.
Coming in March 2020, Globe Life Field, the $1.1 billion new home of the Texas Rangers, will open next door to the Entertainment District, boasting 40,000 seats, a retractable roof and state-of-the-art technology throughout the venue. Those who prefer their sports a bit more virtual can look forward to the opening of Esports Stadium Arlington within the current Arlington Convention Center. The 100,000-square-foot stadium will hold up to 1,000 spectators, making it the largest and most flexible esports stadium in the world. It will be available for groups, providing meeting planners with the most technologically advanced space in North Texas.
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This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.