Major Conventions Held in Colorado
By Beth Buehler
Colorado is an ideal place for large groups to gather. Top-notch venues are available to host big conventions in both cities and mountains, and destinations like Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Keystone and Copper Mountain are communities that attendees desire to visit and linger longer.
Here are some places where major conventions held in Colorado can happen, along with some examples of upcoming meetings and events.
We’ll begin with Colorado Convention Center (CCC) in downtown Denver, the largest option in the state and surrounded by more than 13,000 hotel rooms within short walking distance, ranging from name brand to boutique properties.
CCC highlights include 584,000 square feet of exhibit space on one level, 63 meeting rooms totaling 100,000 square feet (also on one level), two sizeable ballrooms (35,000 and 50,000 square feet), and the 5,000-seat Bellco Theatre. CCC also is known for its extensive art collection and Big Blue Farms, where Centerplate grows produce used in on-site cuisine.
The convention center is in the process of increasing its capacity to hold even larger groups, expanding vertically to add an 80,000-square-foot, column-free ballroom (the largest in Colorado); expansive new pre-function space; and an outdoor terrace with Rocky Mountain and city views. The project is expected to wrap up by the end of 2023.
The wide variety of large conferences being held at CCC this year is impressive, ranging from the 2,000-person HelmsBriscoe Annual Business Conference, 5,000-person American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo and 8,000-person Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International XPONENTIAL in May to the American Veterinary Medical Association Annual Convention for 9,000 in July and the Association for Computing Machinery’s SC23 for 12,000 in November.
Some downtown hotels can host conventions and lodging for 2,000 on their own, such as the U.S. Department of State’s Cities Summit of the Americas in April and TechConnect’s Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo 2023 in May at Hyatt Regency Denver Colorado Convention Center. Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel is the chosen lodging and meeting venue for the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference in July for more than 2,000.
Click here to see other conventions and meetings being held at CCC, downtown Denver hotels, and beyond in 2023 and 2024.
Denver is closer to the exact center of the continental United States than any other city its size, making it easy for attendees to fly in from around the country. Plus, Denver International Airport is the third busiest in the world based on passenger traffic, resulting in plentiful flights, and downtown is only 37 minutes away via RTD’s easy-to-use A Line train.
Or hold a convention only 8.5 miles from the airport at Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora with 1,500 guest rooms and more than 500,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting, convention and event space. The resort can host groups of up to 10,000 and features everything needed on-site, including eight dining outlets, an indoor/outdoor aquatic center, and high-end spa.
Colorado Springs, Pueblo & Grand Junction
Colorado’s second largest city, Colorado Springs, also welcomes groups of up to 10,000 at the The Broadmoor, a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star property with over 315,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the new 125,000-square-foot Bartolin Hall. The largest annual event held at the 5,000-acre property is the Space Symposium, the premiere U.S. space policy and program forum. Held every April, last year’s convention welcomed more than 10,000 people from around the world, including speakers, attendees, exhibitors, media, volunteers, educators, and students.
Major conventions held in Colorado also happen at convention centers in Pueblo and Grand Junction, they are just smaller in scale. Both located in vibrant downtowns, Pueblo Convention Center has 46,700 square feet of meeting space while Grand Junction Convention Center is the largest between Denver and Salt Lake City with 24,100 square feet to host up to 2,670 people.
Colorado Ski Country USA’s 41st Annual Snowmaking & Slope Maintenance Trade Show & Conference was held at the Grand Junction Convention Center in early April and the Colorado County Treasurer & Public Trustee Association Summer Conference is on tap for June.
The largest option in the Colorado mountains is Keystone Conference Center with more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit, meeting, and event space, including three ballrooms and 50 meeting rooms. The venue can host groups of up to 2,000.
Smaller conventions should check out the slopeside Copper Conference Center with 16,000 square feet of function space and an additional 6,900 square feet at the adjacent Jack’s at Copper One.
Major conventions held in Colorado are sure to draw attendees with 300 days of annual sunshine and abundant free-time activities right outside convention center doors providing as a welcome bonus.
Top Photo: 2023 Meetings Industry Council of Colorado Educational Conference & Trade Show at the Colorado Convention Center, photo by InSync Photography
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 18 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and is on the team introducing Southwest Meetings + Events this spring. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.