Sometimes the hallmark of a great event is a memorable venue – a place that attendees may have never attended, a unique space local to the host city, or a fun spot that offers the opportunity for interaction. As meeting and event planners work to find new ways to make their events more exciting and stand apart from run-of-the-mill banquet hall settings, non-traditional venues are seeing a spike in meeting and event activity.

We discussed this very topic at a recent Planner Master Class with nearly 100 meeting and event planners. Here are 5 types of non-traditional venues that meeting and event planners are loving right now:

Sports Stadiums

Many professional and college sports stadiums have ample space for larger groups and the planners we spoke to have taken full advantage of that space! Field-view banquet rooms can be set up in a plethora of ways and the stadium can often provide the catering on-site. One planner at the Planner Master Class hosted a meeting at Wrigley Field on a non-gameday and as an added bonus, was able to offer her attendees a tour of the stadium as well. Another planner utilized Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin for a corporate seminar; in addition to the main general assembly, she was able to sell sponsors the smaller suites at VIP level to later use as smaller breakout networking sessions.


The meeting and event planners we spoke with agreed that food and alcohol is often a significant draw to getting people to attend their events in the first place. That being said, breweries have proven to be a great venue for events! Not only do breweries often have space large enough for a big group, the added benefit of offering brewery tours and tastings makes for a unique and memorable event experience. Many breweries can offer their own catering on site, and spaces without a kitchen are usually open to outside catering, according to a number of planners at the Planner Master Class.

Museums and Galleries

Looking for a venue with character but don’t want to provide your own decor? Check out event space at museums and art galleries! Already decorated beautifully, these venues are a unique break from sterile-looking banquet rooms that your attendees will love. One planner at the Planner Master Class held an event at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Museum and saw a jump in attendee registration when the venue was announced. Another planner noted that many local attendees may not go to galleries or museums in their spare time, so it’s fun for them to have an ‘excuse’ to check out new exhibits and spend time in a local landmark.

Cruise Boats

It doesn’t get more non-traditional than a venue on the water! A surprising number of Planner Master Class attendees have hosted meetings and events on large cruise boats. Planners agreed that the outdoor environment inspires a fun, exciting attitude going into the event and helps to maintain positivity throughout. Attendees have loved the open space, nautical themes, and interesting concept, and planners have loved the ease of organizing as cruise boats have on-site catering and staffing.