5 Reasons to Host Your Next Event in Abilene

5 Reasons to Host Your Next Event in Abilene

Located just two hours west of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area under the wide West Texas sky, Abilene is a spectacular destination for conferences, meetings and sports tournaments. With our one-of-a-kind venues and a state-of-the-art convention center, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces and an array of hotels to choose from, we have everything you need for your next event.

Yet we here at the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau take it to the next level. Our professional staff is happy to assist you with finding discounted group rates at restaurants, lodging services, media and public relations, volunteer support and more. Read on to see what makes Abilene such a hot and happening meetings and events destination, then submit your RFP to get the ball rolling.

Unique Venues Offer Something New

From banquet spaces in historic homes to spacious auditoriums with the latest AV equipment, you’ll find it all here in Abilene. The Abilene Convention Center is a great option for large conferences and meetings due to its more than 2,000-capacity auditorium and exhibit hall, along with its meeting rooms of varying sizes. Located in the heart of downtown Abilene, the convention center is surrounded by historic buildings with outdoor and indoor meeting spaces and ballrooms ideal for after-hour networking events, such as the SoDA District Courtyard. One of our most unique venues, the courtyard features three distinct meeting spaces that, together, can accommodate up to 500 guests. Imbued with ample historic charm, this venue offers a breathtaking backdrop for weddings, receptions and even art exhibits.

For equestrian competitions, parties, concerts or trade shows, look no further than the Taylor County Expo Center. One of the most impressive equestrian centers in the Southwest, this venue hosts notable annual events throughout the year, including the Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo in May and the West Texas Fair & Rodeo in September. Best suited for larger events, the center’s offerings range from classrooms that can accommodate at least 500 people to a 7,500-seat coliseum. Keep an eye out for the improvements that are part of the $56 million expansion and renovation project set to wrap up in 2020.

To take your off-premise or after-hour events for a walk on the wild side, host it at the Abilene Zoo. The indoor Education Classroom and the outdoor Karibu Outpost comfortably accommodate up to 49 people, while the sprawling Pavilion provides stunning lake views for up to 150 standing guests. For much larger gatherings, rent out the entire zoo after hours and your guests will enjoy free admission, use of the Pavilion and Karibu Outpost and access to the swan boats, Giraffe Encounter and train for additional fees. The zoo is available for private functions from April 1 to Aug. 31 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

These are, of course, just a handful of our distinct venues. See all your options and get tips on selecting a facility here.

A Wide Range of Caterers Serve Up a Taste of Abilene

Out here in West Texas, we’re known for our savory steaks, slow-cooked barbecue and delicious Tex-Mex. Bring some of the flavors of Abilene into your next event with one of our many food trucks that cook up creative and oh-so-delicious cuisine. The Toasted Traveler slings crowd-pleasing grilled-cheese sandwiches that pair perfectly with a bag of kettle chips or a bowl of homemade tomato-basil soup. Meanwhile, 1881 Food Truck delivers gourmet street tacos served on fresh tortillas, lobster rolls and garden-fresh sides and sauces best followed by the tantalizing desserts and pastries. Jay’s BBQ Shack, on the other hand, brings smoked brisket, ribs, sausage and more cooked with the expertise of local barbecue expert Jay Stearns.

Of course, there are plenty of other caterers here in Abilene. Check out our list of caterers and catering facilities and see some of your other food truck choices here.

Big-Name Hotels Have Everything Your Guests Need

Guesthouses tucked away on scenic ranches, affordable hotels with all the essentials and high-end suites with lounges and restaurants. Spanning all price ranges, our selection of group-friendly hotels suits any budget. Whether you opt for more affordable options or high-end hotels with on-site dining, fitness centers and transportation to and from the airport, you’ll find all the room you need. Some of these properties include their own meeting spaces, presenting opportunities for hosting your event all in one place.

See a full list of our hotels here. Booking more than 25 rooms? Contact us and we’ll get bids from our hotels to secure you the best rate.

It's Easy to Get Around

Coordinating transportation for your attendees and guests is one of the cornerstones of event planning, and here in Abilene that process is a breeze. If you need to transport larger groups, charter a bus with VIP Sports Getaway or Bilbrey Tours. The latter offers a 54-passenger bus with comfortable reclining seats, while the former has options that can seat 18, 20, 25 and 56 people.

Car rentals are also available, with such major agencies as Avis, Enterprise and Hertz on hand at the Abilene Regional Airport. Speaking of which, our airport has 12 flights with 564 seats daily from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on American Airlines – American Eagle. We’re just as easy to reach by car, as we are less than 200 miles from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Midland and Lubbock, and Austin and San Antonio are within 250 miles. All this means that Abilene is easy to reach and even easier to get around, leaving you with none of the worries of how to get your folks from here to there.

Local Entertainers Can Take Your Event to the Next Level

What does a cowboy poet, a barbershop quartet and a group of fiddlers have in common? They can all add a touch of our local flair to your event. The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau can line up singers, full bands and musicians that will elevate your guests’ experiences. When it’s time to get your attendees up and moving, book a walking tour of historic downtown Abilene with “Gus McDusty,” a flamboyant frontiersman who relates our early history through an endless stream of clever rhymes. For fieldtrips to the Abilene Zoo, Frontier Texas! and The Grace Museum, consider a Round-Up Pass that grants admission to all our top attractions for a discounted rate.

If you’re looking for the perfect place for your next meeting or event, add a bit of West Texas charm when you host it in Abilene. Get to know our conventions and meetings services and submit your RFP here.