Ideally situated near the Pacific Ocean with nearly perfect weather year-round and located within walking distance of dozens of high-caliber hotels and about 150 restaurants, there are ample opportunities for networking, face-to-face engagement and exploration during and after a tradeshow or other event while in Long Beach.
“It is a living downtown. It doesn’t roll up at night,” said Steve Goodling, president and CEO, Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The convention center is walking distance to the beach and has many great networking spaces.”
Echoing that sentiment, the organizers of the rotating International Quilt Festival have been coming to the Long Beach Convention Center for many years and rank it and the city highly among many venues and destinations.
“We love Long Beach. It’s a staff favorite,” said Ruth Polanco, show director, International Quilt Festival. “We love the entertainment and restaurants that are so close by. They are easy to walk to.”
The city is billed as an “Urban Waterfront Playground” by the visitors bureau and recently had LED lighting and other upgrades placed to create a safe, vibrant waterfront area. Part of a $40 million renovation package, the convention center and adjacent events venues also have undergone significant changes to make the entire facility one of the best for holding tradeshows and events.
New lighting, carpeting and other improvements make the already impressive convention center facility ideal for holding events large and small. There are more than 400,000 square feet of flexible exhibitions and meeting spaces among three exhibit halls, 34 meeting rooms, two theaters, two VIP rooms, a grand ballroom and the 46,000 square-foot Long Beach Arena, which also has been renovated. The arena has a new, state-of-the-art lighting and a new floor-to-ceiling curtain system capable of adjusting space within the arena to suit any size event and make it more intimate.
For networking events, the new Bogart & Co. dining, bar and kitchen space can be used by organizers of tradeshows and other events to provide networking and entertainment opportunities for attendees and others. A newly completed $1 million project, the Bogart & Co. facility is designed to resemble a New York City bar and sidewalk café.
While the convention center and adjacent facilities have undergone significant renovations, so has the city’s airport.
The nearby Long Beach Airport recently completed a $140 million renovation and is quick and easy to enter even with the standard federal security checkpoints. The airport has a new passenger concourse to handle the three million people who come and go each year. Once inside, the restaurants do not charge a premium for hungry travelers.
“You pay the same price at restaurants inside the airport as you would at the same restaurants outside of it,” said Goodling.
With a renovated convention center facility, improved airport and ample networking opportunities, Long Beach is poised to be a prime play in the West Coast tradeshow circuit.