What you should know:

Over the past several years, a lot of money has been invested in revitalizing the stretch of downtown that hugs the Alabama River. The central meeting property is a 347-room Marriott Renaissance hotel with a 14,000-sq. ft. ballroom that's connected to a 73,000-sq. ft. convention center and a world-class amphitheater. It's a good drive-in destination for attendees in Jacksonville, Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, northwest Florida, Jackson, Miss., and points in between.

What will surprise you:

It’s easy to create themed itineraries with Montgomery’s wealth of historic, cultural and sports-related attractions. People used to go home to the suburbs after dark, but no longer. Downtown revitalization has sparked new interest in dining, playing and staying in town, and is constantly creating new attractions and amenities for meeting planners.

The 411:
  • • 73,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall in convention center
  • • 1,800-seat performing arts center
  • • 50 hotels

Want to surround your group with culture?

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival produces contemporary and classic productions year-round. It is the only American theater company allowed to fly the flag of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company. The Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center has an impressive collection of Alabama art, which is displayed around the hotel and its 73,000-sq. ft. convention center. The 342-room hotel also is home to the 1,800-seat Performing Arts Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that attracts comedy acts, popular musical artists and Broadway-quality shows. In-room televisions are wired to allow planners to send messages instantly to delegates.

Want to break out of the boardroom?

The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is a 28,000-sq. ft. natural history museum at the Montgomery Zoo; banquet space for formal dinners and casual picnics also is available. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has an amphitheater, an outdoor terrace and indoor gallery space. Old Alabama Town has several restored 19th and 20th-century structures. The double-A Montgomery Biscuits, a Tampa Bay Rays affiliate, play games at the Riverwalk Stadium; group ticket and banquet facilities are available.

Want attendees to get away from it all?

The Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill is just a few miles outside of town, but it has the feel of a remote resort, primarily because it’s nestled among 1,600 wooded acres. It also is surrounded by the three legendary golf courses of Capitol Hill: the Senator, the Judge and the Legislator (named in homage to Montgomery’s role as a capital city). In addition to 74 rooms, the hotel has two “golf” villas, each with eight bedrooms, and a five-bedroom Presidential Cottage, which has a helipad, a koi pond and a garden that’s popular with wedding planners. Meeting space includes a 25-person boardroom and an 8,500-sq. ft. ballroom with covered patio space (capacity: 175) overlooking the 17th hole.

Want themed venues?

The Rosa Parks Museum is dedicated to the civil rights activist. The Hank Williams Museum spotlights the legendary country singer and his music. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church & Dexter Parsonage Museum are national historic landmarks where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his journey as a spiritual and civil rights leader.

Want group dining?

Vintage Year has a seasonal menu, an award-winning wine list, and a private dining room for small groups. Dawson’s at Rose Hill serves Italian cuisine in a historic home. Bandana’s is available for private breakfast meetings, dinners and weekend gatherings; off-site catering is available from parent company A Social Event Catering. Nobles Restaurant & Lounge and The Olive Room are stylish restaurants with live music and catering departments. Other recommended restaurants include Sinclair’s, Jubilee Seafood and Silver Spoon Café, all of which have catering departments.