Chihuly Garden and Glass gets just as innovative with events as Dale Chihuly did when he created his renowned glass art on display at the exhibition. Located at Seattle Center since opening in 2012, the space is one of many unusual places where planners can host events that leave a lasting impression.
The glass art exhibition hosts or co-hosts many types of Seattle events, including opening or closing receptions. It will host the upcoming Gather Party that kicks off Refract – The Seattle Glass Experience. The festival, in its inaugural year, takes place Oct. 17-20, and will include a mix of exhibits, parties, tours, and demonstrations throughout the region.
Planners can take advantage of the prime location of Chihuly Garden and Glass by working with neighboring venues such as the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) to create larger private events and even block parties for more than 1,500 attendees that span the Seattle Center.
The Frank O. Gehry-designed MoPOP, an outside-the-box meeting space that has the Space Needle as its backdrop, also offers planners plenty of options when it comes to private events, including an outdoor plaza, the JBL Theater, and learning labs with flexible walls. At 5,384 square feet of space and a 65-foot high ceiling, the aptly named Sky Church has a 33-foot x 60-foot HD LED screen, state-of-the-art acoustics, and a wide variety of lighting effects. The contemporary Blue Lounge offers a wet bar, galley kitchen, a 52-inch plasma screen, and a view of Sky Church below.
Planners seeking spectacular views for their attendees can look up to the Space Needle. Located at the 100-foot elevation, the SkyLine Level event space shows 360-degree panoramas of Seattle, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, and Mt. Rainier. It can handle up to 300 guests. The Loupe, at 500 feet above the city, has a revolving glass floor that allows persepctives of the structure and the city. The upper viewing deck, called Atmos and 520 feet above Seattle, also is available for private events.
For the traditional ballroom feel but with a twist, event organizers should check out AXIS Pioneer Square. Housed in the historic 1889 Globe Building, the 6,000-square-foot main space is an elegant downtown setting. The property’s adjacent Corner Gallery offers another 4,000 square feet of space. While the rooms can be broken up to accommodate various sizes of groups, when both rooms are combined, they can seat up to 350 people for a dinner, or 550 delegates for a cocktail-style reception.
Groups can experience the soul of the city all while getting views of the water at the MarketFront at Pike Place Market. Completed in 2017, the MarketFront connects downtown to the Elliott Bay waterfront. With its 30,000 square feet of open public space, the MarketFront houses multiple restaurants, a brewery, and shopping, plus views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The airy Pavilion showcases handmade crafts and specialty products from local artists and farmers, while Producers Hall provides space for other purveyors to create their culinary goods. The Grand Staircase, which leads up to Producers Hall, has landings where people can snap selfies in front of public art.
While Seattle is full of uncommon meeting venues, at the heart of the city is the LEED-Silver certified Washington State Convention Center (WSCC). The existing facility, now known as Arch, has 79 rooms, 205,700 square feet of total exhibit space, and 44,628 square feet of ballroom space.
Arch, which connects to five acres of city park, also has retail space onsite, as well as FedEx, concierge, restaurants, and the Phyllis Lamphere Gallery, which displays a permanent art collection of more than 100 works as well as rotating exhibitions.
In 2022, the convention center will get a new facility, Summit. The $1.7 billion Summit building, just a block and a half from Arch, will add 66 rooms, 248,450 square feet of total exhibit space, and 58,000 square feet of ballroom space to the WSCC. The main ballroom will feature a wall of windows with a panoramic cityscape backdrop, while a cascading wood stairway will offer views of Pike Place Market sign and Puget Sound. The additional facility already is providing the city with part of a $93 million package that will benefit the community for decades in such areas as providing affordable housing.
Outside of the city’s event venues, Seattle offers plenty of convention center hotels. The 1,260-room Hyatt Regency Seattle, which opened in December 2018, is the largest hotel north of San Francisco. The property offers 103,000 square feet of event space, including four ballrooms and 50 meeting rooms. It recently received LEED Gold Certification — the second highest green building rating in the world.
The 1,236-room Sheraton Grand Seattle, which completed extensive renovations in 2018, provides 75,000 square feet of flexible function space, including the 18,300-square-foot Grand Ballroom and the 9,440-square-foot Metropolitan Ballroom. Most of the meeting space features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light and offer attendees sweeping views of downtown Seattle. The property was the first to pilot a sustainability initiative, Make a Green Choice, that was later rolled into a Starwood global initiative, allowing guests to opt out of housekeeping in exchange for perks.
Whether you wow your meeting delegates with wine, the arts, or beautiful vistas of Seattle, they’re not likely to forget the remarkable setting — or your event.