Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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AREA GUIDES AUSTIN THE LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD: SOUNDING GOOD TO MEETING PLANNERS BY GERAD CLAYMORE Ranked among the top cities for nightlife, safety, airport satisfaction and high-tech facilities, Austin offers all the amenities you'll need for work and play. Groups enjoy a compact downtownwith distinctive dining, outdoor attractions, world-class museums and more within walking distance from6,000 hotel rooms. When it comes to meetings and con- ventions, Austin is a city that planners and visitors always agree on. The state- of-the-art infrastructure, innovative meeting spaces and world-class hotels are nestled in the center,and the heart,of the city. Within a few walkable blocks you'll also find the famous Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail, legendary live music venues and some of the best mar- garitas in the country. With 900,000 sq. ft. of high-tech, high- ly desirable meeting space right in the heart of downtown, theAustin Convent- ion Center is just steps from much of what makes Austin so dynamic and engaging. In terms of space, there are five con- tiguous and column-free exhibit halls comprising 246,097 gross sq. ft. These halls feature a 43,300-sq. ft. Grand Ballroom, 1,500 retractable auditorium- style seats and 54,730 sq. ft. of meeting rooms and offices. Austin offers an ample amount of full service hotels that are sure to leave con- ference attendees comfortable and pleased while on their business trip. Because of the city's unique design, meeting planners have the luxury of choosing from a plethora of reputable hotels in the downtown area, just min- utes fromthe convention center. A landmark situated in the cultural heart of the city, the Austin Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol is next door to the 68 Austin Day Skyline famed Capitol and just steps from the University of Texas, the allure of the Sixth Street/Warehouse District, and Austin's burgeoning business district. This 363-room hotel offers more than 17,000 sq. ft. of flexible space as well as high-speed Internet access for a great, memorable experience. The Courtyard by Marriott Down- town showcases a contemporary new design package.Guest rooms are clean, comfortable and perfect for both busi- ness and pleasure travel in Austin. The Courtyard by Marriott includes several great amenities; 270 guest rooms and suites, 6,600 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, as well as complimentary in-room high-speed and wireless Internet access. While inAustin be sure to have con- ference attendees explore the urban and suburban activities the city has to offer. In January every year Austin resi- dents celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. March and Festival held at Huston- Tillotson University. This outdoor festi- val celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with performances by some of the city's finest jazz, blues and gospel musi- cians. Don't forget to check out some of the fine art and cultural museums this vibrant city has to offer. Paying homage to Austin's African-American heritage, theGeorgeWashingtonCarverMuseum features four galleries, a theater, dance studio,museumstore and library. There are plenty of free outdoor music concert series, such asBlues on the Green and Unplugged at the Grove.To Photo Credit: Austin CVB cool off, visit the Austin Ice Cream Festival or take a dive into Barton Springs, a 68-degree swimming hole. And, as the sun goes down, watch mil- lions of bats take flight from the CongressAvenue Bridge. Recently named "Best Domestic Airport" in the U.S., Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) makes it easy to get to and fromAustin by air.All major domestic airlines serve ABIA, with more than 150 commercial passen- ger flights per day,nearly 40 nonstop des- tinations and 80 direct (same plane) des- tinations. HOTEL • • • STATS • • • ROOMS Austin Sheraton Hotel At The Capitol 363 The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown270 DoubleTree By Hilton Austin University Embassy Suites Austin Downtown- Town Lake EXHIBITION FACILITIES Austin Convention Center Total Exhibit Space Largest Hall Largest Ballroom: Meeting Rooms 246,097 sq. ft. 79,525 sq. ft. 23,418 sq. ft. 54 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Austin CVB – (800) 926-ACVB (2282) The Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce (512) 459-1181 Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012: 149 265

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