If Texas wasn’t on your radar before, it will be soon enough
The Lone Star State, a destination already replete with hospitality, dining and entertainment up and down its alleys, main streets and avenues can find ways to make itself even more appealing for its visitors. Several of Texas’ main hubs—Fort Worth, El Paso, Austin and Houston—are developing at lightning speed, creating venues that you’ll want to take your groups to year after year.
Fort Worth: Record Visitation and a Burgeoning Hospitality Scene
In 2022, Fort Worth achieved record visitation, at 10.8 million visitors, and a 25% direct visitor spending increase for its second consecutive year. With the growth of hotels, restaurants and upcoming attractions Fort Worth has seen and will continue to see, the increased visitation makes sense.
“Fort Worth has one of the most convenient meeting packages in the country,” says Terran Fleenor, senior manager of public relations and content strategy. “Chic Western amenities such as new and renovated hotel offerings, restaurants and exciting tourism venues are why meeting professionals are drawn to Fort Worth for their events.”
New F&B Scene
Big culinary industry names and restaurants are beginning operations in the Fort Worth area, with recent openings in summer 2023 and more planned for the year ahead. Recent restaurant openings in Fort Worth include Le Margot, 61 Osteria, Dreamboat Donuts & Scoops, Musume and Maiden.
Graham Elliott is the first Michelin chef to come to Fort Worth. He opened Le Margot this summer, a French bistro with a touch of local flavor, serving up French staples like beef tartare and coq au vin, a French stew where chicken is braised in red wine. Chef Elliott also recently opened F1 Smokehouse, an upscale barbecue restaurant, and will open an Italian concept in 2024 that has not yet been named.
While some, like Seattle-born Elliott, have come from afar to open up their restaurant, others, like Fort Worth restauranteur Adam Jones and Chef Blaine Staniford, stayed local and built from there. In January 2023 duo opened 61 Osteria, a restaurant that features a Texas-sized menu of traditional Italian dishes, like Rosemary Focaccia, various delectable pastas and seafood dishes. Groups can enjoy all this in 61’s 40-person private dining room.
Chef Parker Howard, also a Fort Worth native, opened Dreamboat in early May. Since then, the restaurant has been serving up plant-based donuts and ice cream to those who favor a sweet vegan treat.
Maiden Fine Plants & Spirits also provides a plant-based F&B experience, although its focus is more of a pre-donut variety. The restaurant features four-course and eight-course seasonal tasting menus, featuring dishes like Greek potato pave and mango sticky rice brulee, as well as a “Tea Time at Maiden” menu, which features sweet treats and sandwiches and an attractive selection of teas, some caffeinated and others not.
Musume recently opened in the new Sandman Signature Hotel (more on that below) this summer. The restaurant originated in Dallas, but has brought its selections of contemporary Asian cuisine and the largest sake program, with more than 120 choices, to Fort Worth. Private dining rooms are available, including one in a redesigned bank vault.
Blackland Distilling opened its doors in 2019 and uses technology and Texas-grown grains to produce a range of spirits, including its flagship Prairie Gold Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. TX Whiskey, the largest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi, is known for its small-batch, hand-crafted whiskeys, which includes blends and straight bourbon. TX Whiskey offers tours and can accommodate up to 300 guests in its event space and has ample outdoor space for even more.
Fort Worth is also a barbecue lover’s paradise, with a number of barbecue joints serving up some of the most well-loved brisket, ribs and sausage in the state. Goldee’s BBQ opened in 2020 and shortly after was voted the “Best Barbecue Joint in Texas” in 2021 by Texas Monthly. Goldee’s incorporates elements from the team’s diverse backgrounds into their dishes, such as the Laotian sausage. Panther City BBQ, another popular spot, blends the team’s Mexican heritage into their barbecue, offering a Tex-Mex twist with dishes like elote topped with brisket and street tacos.
Fort Worth’s Hospitality
New hotels in Fort Worth are marking their place in the city’s cultural hub, offering up luxurious and classy stays and retreats, as well as ample indoor and outdoor space, in various districts in Fort Worth. While this is the case, other long-time properties and venues continue to be ideal locations for groups.
Fort Worth Convention Center spans 14 blocks of Fort Worth’s Central Business District in the middle of the city’s downtown area. The convention center’s total exhibit space spans 253,226 sq. ft., which includes various spaces that can accommodate any meeting professional’s event, like a 28,160-square-foot ballroom and a 55,000-square-foot event plaza, which connects to the Fort Worth Water Gardens.
In 2009, Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and investor, held a private meeting at The Ashton Hotel. Whether he used all three event spaces in the property’s just over 4,500 sq. ft. of space is unknown but he was quoted as saying, “I can’t think of a better place to hold a private event than in Fort Worth at The Ashton.” This boutique property houses 29 guest rooms and 10 suites in Fort Worth’s downtown area.
The building The Sinclair, an Autograph Collection Hotel sits in has taken on various forms since its creation in 1929. What began as a bank later turned into an office building and housed The Sinclair Oil Company in the 1930s, the hotel’s namesake. In its latest form, meetings in the 164-room Sinclair can be had in its roughly 7,500 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The building itself is just over 100 years old, but the 226-room Kimpton Harper Hotel inside contains all the modern features and amenities you and your group will want, from its art-filled guest rooms to its 24th-floor lobby. The property also has two F&B options, Refinery 714, a bar that grants a relaxing setting with a view, and il Modo, named Fort Worth’s Best Italian Restaurant and Best New Restaurant by Fort Worth Magazine in 2022. Il Modo also has a private dining room for up to 12 guests.
Hotel Drover, Autograph Collection is a recent opening in Fort Worth Stockyards. Fittingly, the property’s 200 guest rooms features the rustic look of The Stockyards, with a touch of luxury. Hotel Drover has nearly 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across five venues, with more space at the 25,700-square-foot Stockyards Station.
Tom Gaglardi, owner of NHL’s Dallas Stars, opened Sandman Signature Fort Worth Downtown Hotel in July 2023. The building once housed the historic 20-story W.T. Waggoner Building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The now 245-room property can host your group for meetings in its 6,748 sq. ft. of meeting space, this includes the property’s partnership with the 6,000-square-foot Century Hall, an industrial space with exposed brick and piping.
The 200-room Crescent Hotel opened November 2023 in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. The property features 14,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space across 10 meeting rooms; its Crescent Ballroom features glass floor-to-ceiling doors that open into an outdoor space, allowing for attendees to get some fresh air while they network. Canyon Ranch Wellness Club and Spa, one of the first day spas by the wellness brand, is located in The Crescent.
The boutique Bowie House, Auberge Resorts Collection, opens in December. Of its 106 rooms, 12 are 700-square-foot lofts and six are suites, most which are between 850 and 940 sq. ft. Its largest, the 1,900-square-foot Goodnight Suite, features a 10-person indoor dining room.
Arts, Attractions and Entertainment
Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District has been a visitor recommendation for a while now, filled with much Old West entertainment, like rodeos and Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky tonk, as well as Texas-themed shopping and dining. And you’d be remiss if you forgot about the Fort Worth herd, driven twice a day through the district at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a daily basis.
A new addition to Fort Worth’s Stockyards is Mule Alley. This new area features well-known stores and restaurants, including Wrangler, Second Rodeo Brewing and the recently opened Hotel Drover.
Dickies Arena ranked as the fourth highest-grossing venue across the globe in 2022, hosting high-tier performances from the likes of Shania Twain and Pearl Jam in 2023. The arena is home to 90,000 sq. ft. of space, including a 10,500-square-foot exhibit hall.
The National Juneteenth Museum is scheduled to open June 19th, 2025, designed to give visitors a history on Juneteenth and will be the center of discussions and exhibitions around the topic of slavery in the United States.
Austin: Cocktail Classes and Indie Cinema
After nearly a decade of the idea being floated around, Austin Convention Center will soon undergo a redevelopment and expansion, with closure and demolition scheduled to begin in 2025 and to reopen in late 2028. What currently stands at 376,000 sq. ft. of convention space is targeted to nearly double.
Many restaurants in Austin work closely with local farmers, giving their visitors a taste of Austin and the locals a reminder of what their city is about.
Austin native Bryce Gilmore is owner of three restaurants, Odd Duck, Barley Swine and Sour Duck Market. Gilmore’s first restaurant first took the form of a food trailer in 2009 in partnership with his brother Dylan, working with local farmers. The following year, Gilmore opened Barley Swine, which takes a more selective approach to its menu, offering a seasonal tasting menu with an appetizer, main dish and dessert.
Sour Duck Market was born out of the previous two restaurant’s need to expand. The third iteration from Gilmore, Sour Duck Market, comes in the form of a bakery, cafe, bar and beer garden. All three restaurants allow for group bookings.
Truluck’s has two Austin locations, next to the city’s Arboretum Shops and in the downtown district. Specializing in seafood, with a slight lean toward crab. For more than 30 years, Truluck’s has been serving Florida Stone Crab, available Oct. 15 to May 1, bringing it fresh from the Florida Keys within 24 hours of being caught.
Both locations offer group dining experiences, with slight variances in their spaces. The downtown location offers group dining for up to 12, indoor (for up to 56) and outdoor (for up to 40) seating on its second-floor mezzanine, or a buyout of the entire restaurant for indoor seating for up to 156. The Arboretum location offers four private dining rooms, which range in accommodation from up to 24 seated (The Atlantic Room and The Pacific Room) to 48 seated (The Capri Room).
For large groups and a particularly Texan cuisine experience, Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is an ideal choice. With homemade sausage of all types, smokehouse food, a daily pig roast and a wide selection of beer, Banger’s sounds like a fantastic way to end a day with colleagues. The full venue can be rented out and has a capacity of 700. Banger’s has other, smaller options as well, such as the 3,185-square-foot ground floor deck and the 1,848-square-foot second-floor balcony. If your group stops without a private booking, you all might drop in on a live music night from local artists.
Treaty Oak Distilling is much more than a distillery and brewery that serves up a nice selection of different whiskies, it’s home to live music and events, as well as The Rickhouse, an open-air bar that offers a selection of craft beers and cocktails, and Alice’s Restaurants, which serves Texas barbecue, as well as beer and, of course, Treaty Oak Whiskey. Treaty Oak also hosts private indoor and outdoor events.
As for on-property experiences, there are a few offered, in addition to a 45-minute general tour, which includes a discussion of the process of mashing, fermenting and distilling alcohol, as well as a Q&A and sampling of the its straight bourbon whiskey and gin.
Groups can book the distillery’s Single Barrel Select program, which is an in-depth bourbon tasting, where, after choosing attendees choose their favorite bottle, they can wax dip their own bottle to take home. The venue also offers a brisket class, where groups will get the chance to learn about cooking brisket, including meat selection, trimming, seasoning, slicing, cooking on smokers and grills, and wood selection, as well as common mistakes.
Lastly, there’s also the Bar Essentials Cocktail Class, which includes instruction on how to use bar tools, plus the history of and how make three cocktails.
Entertainment and Experiences
Austin City Limits (ACL) Live at The Moddy Theater a live music, performance and private event venue, and the home of the “Austin City Limits” television show. Attendees can tour the venue, privately or publicly. The property’s total venue capacity stands at more than 2,700 guests, with a concert floor that can hold 1,100.
For 40 years running Esther’s Follies on Austin’s Sixth Street has been providing its visitors with magic laughable moments. Esther’s is an entertainment venue home to comedy sketches, magic shows political satire and musical numbers. Show buyouts are available for groups of 150 or more; party reservations are available for groups of 60-plus.
Zach Theatre is the longest-running theater in Texas. Across four venues, the theater is the host of a great variety of musicals like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and The Little Mermaid. Along with the main venues, Zach Theatre offers numerous event indoor and outdoor spaces. Serra Skyline Lounge and Terkel Terrace grants views of the Austin skyline. The 6,700-square-foot Bobbi Pavilion features a Sperry five-pole tent and enough space for 550 guests right in front of the theater.
Austin Film Society (AFS) Cinema is the organization’s two-screen art house theater founded by acclaimed director Richard Linklater, created as a way to build a filmmaking community in Austin specifically and Texas generally. AFS Cinema features a bar and cafe, as well as a rentable 4,675-square-foot production hall. Its two theaters—one seats 260, and the other seats 160—are available to rent out as well.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa has the space to accommodate large events in its 76,000 sq. ft. of space, including large outdoor spaces, like the 10,400-square-foot Hill Country Lawn, and indoor spaces, like the 14,532-square-foot Brazos Ballroom. In the dining realm, Omni Barton Creek takes the same approach of going big, albeit geographically rather than spatially.
Every other year, Omni’s culinary series, “Flavors of the World,” presents guests with an opportunity to give their palate a taste of international cuisine. The property’s guests have had flavors from Spain, Chile, Italy, Argentina, France and Washington state. Its approach to cocktails takes a different path as well, grouping drinks by their flavor profile, which can be fruit, botanical and earth.
Hilton Austin is big on physical activity. Home to the first hotel location of F45 Training, a fast-growing fitness experience, offers circuit-based group fitness and stretch sessions for up to 75 attendees in its 1,236-square-foot studio. A mingling of golf, tacos and cocktails can take place at the Topgolf Swing Suite offered in Hilton Austin’s Austin Taco Project.
The hotel features 112,183 sq. ft. of meeting space, including The Reverbery, a meeting venue inspired by the design of Austin recording studios, complete with a staging area.
Houston: An Investment for the Better
Houston and Houston First Corporation is set to receive $2 billion from Texas to improve its convention center district’s hotels, venues and other developments for the next 30 years. The legislation is an amended 2012 law that provided the same deal for Dallas and Fort Worth previously.
With this, visitors should expect to see an improved Houston as the years go by. Even now though, meeting profs and their attendees can lay witness to a destination already attractive in many ways.
Post was built in 1934 as a depot next to Houston’s Grand Central Station. It later took on the form of a USPS in 1961, before being renamed to Barbara Jordan Post Office, named after the South’s first female African American legislator elected to U.S. Congress. In 2015, the U.S. government decommissioned the post office and sold the building.
Today, Post serves as a mixed-use building, full of more than 20 F&B options, places to shop, a five-acre rooftop park and plenty of venues to have events. The space has a long list of ongoing public events, like nights dedicated to different forms of dance, farmer’s markets, outdoor and indoor art exhibitions and more.
The food at Post is as extensive as it is inventive. It’s a place where you can get everyday items, things like coffee, burger and fries, maybe an ice cream cone, but visitors will also find creations at Elotex, which serves elote (Mexican street corn) in a cup, which can be served with various sauces and different kind of chips, and Twisted Grilled Cheese, an establishment that specializes in all things grilled cheese, from the five cheese classic to a smokehouse brisket.
Post offers five indoor and outdoor venues for public and private events, including Outpost, a 5,400-square-foot area on the east side of Post’s rooftop that features views of the Houston skyline; X Atrium, an 12,760-square-foot indoor space that features an aesthetic staircase that forms the letter “X”; surrounding the staircase is plenty of space designed to make your event as imaginative as your mind will allow. There’s also the 28,600-square-foot Jordan Plaza, an outdoor space that sits right in front of the building.
Outside Post, Houston has a wide range of places to eat. The Canadian-based Moxies opened its second U.S. location in Houston in 2017 and brought with it international and Canadian dishes, like globally recognized poutine, beef vindaloo and The Loaded Cheeseburger, topped with two cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. Groups can enjoy with publicly or privately in Moxies Houston’s 10,400 sq. ft. of event space, encompassing four spaces. A full restaurant and patio buyout can accommodate up to 440 people.
One mile from George R. Brown Convention Center is butcher shop and restaurant B&B Butchers & Restaurant. While the menu is full of items that’ll make you want to pack your bags and pay a visit—the Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, B&B Hash and Brisket Ravioli seem to be a few fan favorites—its four private dining rooms are equal crowd pleasers, including the industrial upstairs dining room and the patio, which seat 70 and 80, respectively, or can be combined.
Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center can be accessed via skywalk from Hilton Americas-Houston. But before heading to the convention center, meeting profs can take advantage of one of the largest ballrooms with a pre-function space, included in Hilton Americas-Houston’s 91,259 sq. ft. of event space.
Blossom Hotel Houston Medical Center opened in 2022 steps away from Texas Medical Center, one of the United States’ largest medical and research communities. It was named one of the 10 Hottest New Hotels in the U.S. for 2022 in TripAdvisor’s 2022 Travelers’ Choice Awards shortly after its opening. Along with its convenient location for medical/pharmaceutical meeting planners, the 267-room property has a sizable amount of meeting space, more than 9,000 sq. ft.
JW Marriott Houston by The Galleria completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its 516 guest rooms, suites and corridors, following a touch up of its meeting and public spaces, lobby and executive lounge in 2019. Following its full renovation, JW Marriott Houston offers up 41,500 sq. ft. of meeting space across 26 meetings rooms.
Thompson Hotel Houston opens this month inside a 35-story hotel condo tower, as part of The Allen, a mixed-use development. Following the completion of the first building Lifestyle Pavilion, which includes a fitness center Texans Fit; two restaurants, Toca Madera and Meduza Mediterrania; retails spaces; and an office building, the second building will be completed near the end of December with the opening of the hotel property on the tower’s lower section (floors eight to 15), just above it is where Residences at The Allen, on floors 16 to 35, will sit.
When the 172-room property opens, it will house 17,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, across five meeting spaces, two of which can be divided into smaller, more intimate spaces.
Properties in Greater Houston
Just north of Houston sits two destinations that feature big city offerings in a cozy environment: The Woodlands and Conroe.
The Woodlands Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton sits on Lake Harrison, giving the sense of an oasis in the woods as visitors drive up the property’s tree-lined path. After the beautiful drive to the property’s doors, guests can lay their head in one of its 402 guest rooms, along with its restaurants and bars, lagoon-style pools and lazy river. The Woodlands Resort features 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, it’s largest being the 13,420-square-foot grand ballroom.
There’s also the pet-friendly Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center. The 334-room property sits right next to The Woodlands Waterway, a body of water that runs through the city, where people can kayak or dine next to as the sun sets. The property features more than 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across 27 venues.
As you travel higher along the Texas roads from The Woodlands, you’ll soon reach Conroe, a city with a population of just over 103,000. Conroe is an outdoorsy place, home to cabins in addition to the more standard hotels, presenting itself as a great place for retreats. Lake Conroe/Houston KOA, for instance, is a campground that features RV sites and 34 cabins, many of which are lakeside. The property features two event halls and an outdoor pavilion.
On the less outdoorsy side is Hyatt Regency Conroe and Convention Center, 10 minutes from downtown Conroe. Here, you’ll find 250 guest rooms, including 13 suites, and 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Dallas: Five-figure Room Add
Like other cities in Texas, Dallas is seeing and will continue to see a rapid, immense level of growth in its hospitality offerings, from food and entertainment to hotels and event venues, the city expects to see more than 20,000 rooms added.
Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is on its way to a new look and more event space. Scheduled for completion in 2028, the improved convention center will offer 2.5 million sq. ft. of space, including 800,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and a 105,000-square-foot ballroom.
The food and beverage offered in Dallas is wide ranging and eclectic in its cultural influence. Just in 2023, a long list of F&B options have opened up in the city, giving meeting profs and their groups more places to dine and venues to spend time.
Crown Block is at the top of Dallas’ Reunion Tower, serving steak cuts and seafood alongside a nice view of the Dallas skyline. The Crown Room, Crown Block’s event space, features that same 360-degree view of the city but in a private setting. The space can accommodate a group of 200 seated guests. For smaller groups, The Crown Room can be made semi-private for groups of up to 150.
Brooklyn Dumpling Shop placed its first Texas location in Dallas in May 2023. The restaurant serves a wide selection of dumplings that fit in the traditional camp—pork, shrimp and vegetables, chicken—as well as others that lean more on the creative side, like bacon cheeseburger, mac and cheese, and pepperoni pizza; dessert dumplings are also on the menu, with offerings like apple cinnamon and peanut butter and jelly.
Joa Korean BBQ in Dallas’ Koreatown is led by two Michelin-recognized chefs Minji Kim and Ben Lee. The restaurant once went by the name Nuri Grill but its new name (Joa means “I like it” in Korean) and look is meant to be more inviting and casual than its previous iteration. The restaurant has an appetizing selection of beef, pork and seafood dishes, as well as soups, stews, noodles and alcoholic beverages as accompaniments.
Saaya serves up Mediterranean small plates, or mezze, alongside hookah and karaoke. Saaya has a decadent menu, from its selection of cold and hot small dishes, like hummus, sumac fries and falafel, to Lebanese pizza (Manakeesh) and larger grilled dishes (Mashawi), designed for sharing, like the kebab and shawarma platter. Saaya also rents out its spaces for private events.
If you’re familiar with the “Salt Bae” meme that took the internet by storm early 2017, you may’ve also heard about the Turkish man behind the meme Nusret Gokce’s restaurant in Dallas, Nusr-Et. Gokce has six restaurants across the United States, with two locations in New York. The menu features appetizers and main dishes that are sure to make groups impatiently wait. Among the more modestly priced salmon, lobster and steak dishes there are dishes under the “Saltbae Golden Experience,” which includes gold encrusted meals, like $180 Golden Burger and the $950 Golden Tomahawk.
In early 2024, Good Surf will bring endless surf to Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood. Powered by citywave technology, which allows the waves to rise up to six feet tall, this new beer garden and restaurant/artificial wave experience is bringing endless surf to Texas, along with F&B.
If groups would rather take a speedrun instead of visiting individual F&B spots, Food Tours of America hosts several themed food and culture tours around the city that are anywhere between 2.5-3.5 hours.
These tours include the JFK Food & Culture Tour, which, in addition to food tasting, highlights the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, the motorcade route and grassy knoll assassination site, overview of the Dallas Arts District, among others; and the Deep Ellum Foodie Lovers Tour, which includes stops at three restaurants, stops at local artisan shops and photo opportunities in front of Deep Ellum’s murals. Private tours allow up to 100 guests.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas is fresh off a $22-million renovation earlier this year; its 218 guest rooms, corridors, spa, restaurants, decor and lobby have all been updated. The property claims to have the largest ballroom in the Dallas area, the 9,548-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, included in its total 23,941 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Two new properties have opened in Dallas in 2023, both of which are a “first” in their own right. JW Marriott Dallas Arts District is the JW Marriott’s first Dallas property and Hotel Swexan is where Dallas-based real estate development firm Harwood International decided to open its first hotel property.
JW Marriott Dallas brings an additional 267 guest rooms across 23 floors to the city. Additionally, the new hotel features three restaurants, one of which, Vincent’s, is located on the property’s 11th floor and takes inspiration from Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Vincent’s features 3,811 sq. ft. of event space, as part of the property’s 22,218 sq. ft. of space. Its location in the Arts District places it nearby several art and science museums, such as Crow Museum of Asian Art, Dallas Museum of Art and Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Hilton Anatole can arguably be divided into three parts: part art and antique museum, part event space haven, part team-building experience. The property is home to the largest U.S. collection of art and antiques, featuring pieces that have been in the palaces of kings and emperors, including two pieces of the Berlin Wall, a propeller from British ocean liner RMS Lusitania and a white marble Vietnam Statue. Before checking out these pieces of history, meetings and events can be had in the property’s 600,000 sq. ft. of event space across 79 venues and nine ballrooms. And after, groups can wind down in the JadeWaters pool complex, which features a swim-up bar, adults-only leisure area and two water slides.
The 134-room Hotel Swexan brings a touch of Switzerland to Dallas’ Harwood District. The property was designed with Japanese architect Kengo Huma to create a space with clear European influence that can be witnessed all throughout the property, including its 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Hotel Swexan also features five F&B options, including a Texas-inspired steakhouse, a European-inspired cafe and a rooftop pool bar.
Several hotels are underway and scheduled to open in the next few years. In 2025, InterContinental Dallas will make a return to the city at Cityplace Tower, a 42-story mixed-use building in Uptown. The new property will occupy eight of the building’s floors, featuring 223 guest rooms, as well as more than 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The Knox, Auberge Resorts Collection is set to open in 2026 in Dallas’ Knox Street neighborhood and will feature 105 guest rooms and suites, and 53 residences.
Arts and Entertainment
It may be called Sweet Tooth Hotel but its name is as imaginative as what you’ll find inside. Founded in 2018 as a pop-up attraction in downtown Dallas, the “hotel” later became a long-term project, showcasing artwork by local and national artists in various rooms. Each year, the museum features new artists who work in different kinds of media, including intricate crotchet design and mixed media. Sweet Tooth Hotel has a 300-person capacity for private events.
House of Blues Dallas is a nonstop entertainment factory, the host of artists, musicians and comedy acts of all types all year long. While, with just the right timing, you can bring your group to any one of these shows, House of Blues also has 65,000 sq. ft. of event space you can rent on your own time. This space is distributed among seven venues, from the 1,000-person Music Hall to its two 60-person event rooms.
Another Round mixes indoor mini-golf and your favorite drink among colleagues. Along with the courses 18 holes, Another Round also features a pickle ball court in its patio ($10/hour to reserve, free for walk-ins) and a golf simulator for up to five guests. The venue has more than 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor space to host private events.
Its sister venue, Round Two, is an arcade bar that has more than 50 arcade games, four retro console tables and board games of all kinds. Round Two hosts private events of up to 120 guests.
Immersive Gamebox is an interactive gaming experience designed with fun and collaboration in mind. With the use of technologies like projection mapping and 3D motion tracking, players must get physical with the gaming environment around them. In teams of 2-6, players can play 11 different games, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. The venue allows rentals from one Gamebox to full buyouts.
Born out of a football and bowling pin mishap in 2001 at an Indy 500 tailgate, fowling, the combination of football and bowling, has been making waves across the United States. Fowling Warehouse, which first opened in Hamtramck, Michigan, has made its way to Plano, just outside of Dallas, as Fowling Warehouse DFW, the company’s first location the south.
The 71,000-square-foot venue features 40 fowling lanes and an 11,000-square-foot VIP lounge that comes with six private lanes.
Properties in Greater Dallas
All around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are several smaller, and just as appealing, destinations that offer pleasant stays. Denton, north of Dallas and Fort Worth, offers a plethora of properties that are perfect for business travelers and groups, such as Courtyard by Marriott Denton, which offers 2,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 92 guest rooms.
Plano is also north of Dallas but sits more to the east of the state. Guests who stay in Plano will find several attractive hotels, such as Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Plano Parkway at Preston Road, which features 137 total guest rooms, including 12 suites. Three separate meeting rooms span across 1,500 sq. ft. of space. The property is 9 miles from North Texas’ Grandscape, a new entertainment destination that features restaurants, shopping and experiences of all kinds.
Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park in Plano offers 299 guest rooms and more than 30,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor space, including Prairie Ballroom, which can host up to 1,300 attendees, and a large foyer with large windows that grant beautiful outdoor views.
Texican Court is located in Irving’s Las Colinas mixed-use development and features an environment that’s a mixture of luxurious and rustic design. Just outside the property, guests will find plenty to do, such as play lawn games, chill by the fire pits or take a swim in the property’s circular swimming pool. The property features 152 guest rooms and 3,500 sq. ft. of meeting space. If additional space is needed, the property sits nearby Irving Convention Center Las Colinas, equipped with 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibit space. Just across the street from the convention center is its official hotel, The Westin Irving Convention Center Hotel at Las Colinas. The property features 350 guest rooms and more than 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Northwest of Dallas in Grapevine, you’ll find numerous large-scale hotels and resorts, such as Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center and Gaylord Texan Resort & Conference Center. Hilton DFW Lakes features 63,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including an amphitheater, ballrooms and outdoor venues, accompanied by its 397 guest rooms. Gaylord Texan houses a whopping 1,814 guest rooms surrounding its garden atriums, four restaurants and bars. For meetings large and small, groups can expect 490,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the property’s lakeside event venue, Glass Cactus.
Frisco’s Omni PGA Resort Frisco is anchored to the home base of PGA of America, as part of a 600-acre mixed-use development. The resort features 500 guest rooms and suites and 10 ranch houses, as well as 127,000 sq. ft. across 19 meeting rooms.
The resort features four on-site pools, including a rooftop infinity pool and 13 dining options, including Ice House, which serves beer, wine and cocktails, and has six live hitting bays; and Margaret’s Cones & Cups, server of sweet treats.
El Paso: El Sur del Texas
El Paso is perhaps one of the more historic cities in Texas. In the architecture of its venues and hotels and the stories behind them, one may get the feeling that El Paso is the older and wiser brother of its more modern counterparts.
Formerly El Paso del Norte in what is now Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, despite being founded as U.S. city El Paso in 1854. The Mexican influence still runs incredibly deep, giving it a markedly different look and feel than its geographical counterparts.
Adventuring in El Paso
El Paso’s landscape makes it an ideal place for outdoor adventures like hiking, climbing and just generally getting out for fresh air. The city is home to numerous hiking trails for all difficulty levels. At these trails, visitors should expect gorgeous view of El Paso’s mountains and valleys, and maybe the occasional hawk sighting.
Aztec Cave Trail is a 2.4-mile roundtrip trail that features a constant yet challenging incline. Once the top is reached though, those who make the summit are met with views of McKelligon Canyon.
Franklin Mountain State Park is home to more than 100 miles of trails that range from quick 30-minute loops to strenuous hikes estimated to take up to six hours to complete. North Franklin Peak in the Tom Mays unit of the park fits into the latter category, which takes hikers on an 8-mile trip to the highest peak in El Paso, at an elevation of 7,192 feet. Despite the name, Cardiac Road, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. This trail is a 3-mile loop in the Northeast side of the park.
Lazy Cow Trail in Frankling Mountain State Park is 6.8 miles. With its modest elevation gain—406 ft.—it makes for a relatively easy route despite its length.
Cave Climbing allows visitors to engage in outdoor-like action without the possible interruptions of all the outdoor elements. If climbing makes any member of the group a bit nervous, there’s no need to fear, first-time visitors are provided an orientation and fall-safety test. Cave Climbing offers private events as well.
Rent a UTV Off-Road Adventures offers guided 1.5-hour UTV tours through some of El Paso’s more than 25 miles of trails and scenic landscapes. You can also rent an ATV or a Slingshot, although these two do not come with guided tours.
El Paso Venues
El Paso has several outdoor and indoor spaces around the city that make for ideal spots for meetings. McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre is situated in the Franklin Mountains, so groups can have their fun right in the beautiful mountainous landscape the Southwest United States is known known for. The amphitheater has 1,503 seats divided into three sections and 57 ADA-accessible seats.
Plaza Theatre is a performing arts theater that was built in 1930 and has been noted as a National Historic Building of Significance. Its main space, Kendall Kidd Performance Hall, seats 2,050 and the Philanthropy seats 200. On the theater’s roof is Alcantar Sky Garden, which doubles as a rooftop garden and outdoor space that can accommodate 130 seated guests.
Arts Festival Plaza is located between El Paso Museum of Art and Plaza Theatre. It has been used for various events in the city, including the yearly Downtown Street Festival and Plaza Classic Film Festival, and is available for outdoor private events.
In 2022, El Paso Convention Center underwent a $3.1-million renovation, which included improvements to its furniture, new carpet, a new digital marquee and more. The convention center houses 133,100 sq. ft. of space, including its outdoor Convention Center Plaza at the convention center’s entrance. Abraham Chavez Theater stands right out next to the convention center with its distinctive sombrero-like-shape and large, almost oblong-shaped windows at the theater’s entrance. In addition to its more than 2,000-seat theater area, the lobby is more than 5,000 sq. ft.
Ardovino’s Desert Crossing (ADC) is an outdoor venue and full-service banquet facility that hosts music shows, farmers markets on a weekly basis, as well as a monthly Sip and Paint Party. ADC features multiple event and dining rooms for private groups, including its Cigar Room that seats up to 12 and Sunset Hall that can seat up to 180.
El Paso Hospitality
Hotel Paso Del Norte, Autograph Collection was built in 1912 in El Paso’s downtown, surrounded by views of the Franklin Mountains. The property features 350 guest rooms and 32,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across 17 spaces, including the salon, which comes in two different configurations. The property is home to four restaurants and bar: Sabor, which serves Mexican-style cuisine, 1700° Steakhouse, The Dome Bar in Hotel Paso’s lobby and the 10th-floor bar and restaurant El Mirador.
The 130-room Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park underwent a renovation in 2020, overhauling the property’s lobby, giving part of it the look and feel of a living room. Large light fixtures that have a striking resemblance to chandeliers now hang just above the Ambar Lobby Bar. The bar also features a two-story tall back-lit amber glass that makes it tough for the eyes to pull away from. More than 7,600 sq. ft. of meeting space across four meeting venues, including its 17th-floor rooftop bar and restaurant La Perla.
Stanton House’s 42 rooms can serve as the locale for your next small group. More than 100 years ago, in 1912, the building was built as Roger’s Furniture Building. Today, the space is home to lofts, executive suites and Taft-Diaz, the property’s recently opened speakeasy-style restaurant that provides a Latin-centric menu—think agauchile and ajo blanco chilled soup—accompanied by wines of all types; the space can also host private events.
Marriott El Paso is minutes from El Paso International Airport (ELP), offering 296 guest rooms, 13,398 sq. ft. of meeting space across 16 meeting rooms and two restaurants, one of which is the Southwestern Red Rim Bistro, which has a private dining room and boardroom.