Best of in-person and hybrid venues.

Venues are leading the way in getting people back together. They now have the technology to connect even the biggest hybrid audiences and the experience to help people meet safely just about anywhere.

In honor of all this, we thought it was a good time to go through our recent articles on in-person and hybrid venues and pull out a few of our favorite spots. We also did a quick lap around the internet and added a couple new venues that caught our eye. So without further adieu, here are our top in-person and hybrid venues of 2021. 

Pro Tip: If you see a space you like and want to start planning right away, check out our article on what to ask a venue before booking.

CANVAS studios 360-degree wraparound LED Screen featuring small zoom squares with peoples faces on the left, and a beach scene with two zoom screens on the right. A man stands on the stage in front of the screens.

Convention centers have all the tech, and more! 

CANVAS, the all-new hybrid event venue at the Monterey Conference Center, sports a 360-degree wraparound LED screen, interactive stages, the bandwidth to support 30,000 virtual guests, and comfortable seating for 125 in-person attendees. 

A similar screen was also added to the newly renovated TCF Center in Detroit. Think of this technology as similar to changing the backdrop on your Zoom, only it actually looks realistic. It’s also the same tech used to make vivid backgrounds for shows like the Mandalorian

Beyond tech, convention centers also used the past 18 months to regroup, renovate, and come back better in every way. 

Some of our favorite improvements include McCormick Place’s best-in-class GBAC health and safety certification, Orange County Convention Center’s addition of three unique hybrid venues of different sizes, and Long Beach Convention Center’s public initiative to host more hybrid events. 

The bottom line is — Before booking a venue, check with your local convention center. They may have the space, equipment, and all-new features to help bring your event to life.

GIF montage of the Rooftop Cinema Club rooftop movie experience. lawn chairs sit on an artificial grass top atop a city building.

Indoor and outdoor movie theaters offer unique experiences.

Rooftop Cinema Club offers private outdoor movie screenings with food, drinks, popcorn (of course) at event spaces in Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, New York, and London, UK.

People have been watching a lot of TV in their homes lately, and not everyone is back in the theaters. A private screening experience is a perfect way to give people that experience of the movies again.

An outdoor screening also ticks all the event boxes. It’s outside, there’s built-in A/V, and it’s an experience that you can tailor to your event. You can use the space for a company party to premier a presenter’s film or even a new way to screen a favorite movie and connect with attendees. The possibilities with movie screenings are endless. 

Theater rentals are also on the rise in general. On the high end, luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York offer an unbeatable small theater experience. On the more affordable end, AMC offers theater rentals to groups of all sizes in theaters across the country.

E-Sports Stadium -- Arlington picture with the light up stage and sitting audience in frame

E-Sports are pros at connecting in-person and virtual attendees. 

The E-Sports Stadium — Arlington is a 100,000 sq. ft. hybrid event space with a 2,500 seat stadium, an onsite broadcast studio, a built-in 85 foot long LED wall, and an immersive sound and lighting design. 

E-Sports stadiums also have the bandwidth to handle the most demanding streaming needs and the equipment to bring virtual and in-person attendees face-to-face. In a way, the rise of Twitch and online gaming has helped E-Sports stay ahead of the curve for hybrid events. 

Similar E-Sports venues are also located at the Anaheim Convention Center, the SAP Center in San Jose, Copenhagen, and many other cities worldwide. 

Basically, if you need onsite production, lots of in-person seating, and an unbeatable knowledge base for creating immersive hybrid experiences, check out E-Sports. You’ll be in good hands.

Man filming a person giving a presentation to an LED screen with an audience being broadcasted onto the screen.

Boutique venues take hybrid to the next level. 

Worre Studios in Las Vegas is a boutique hybrid event studio that uses an immersive, 360 degree, 4K LED screen, allowing presenters to interact with up to 250k virtual attendees. 

Boutique event studios are reimagining what’s possible at events. They are investing in the best tech, best broadband, and pushing people to connect with the virtual world in ways that we just hadn’t thought of a little while ago. 

These studios, like Worre, are also extremely flexible. They understand that things change and are designed to expand or dial-back your virtual or in-person needs depending on your audience.

We’ve also had our eye on other boutique hybrid event studios like Bespoke Studios in San Francisco (featuring a unique lounge-link environment and a rooftop), along with the spacious and highly configurable Experience Factory in Alberta, Canada. 

Pro-Tip: We think that there will be many of these hybrid forward spaces opening in the future. Check with your local event professionals to find out if there is one opening soon near you.  

GIF montage of Log Still Distillery with barrels and a shot of the distillery logo.

 Distilleries and breweries are the perfect way to unplug in-person. 

Log Still Distillery in New Haven, KY, sits at the heart of Dant Crossing (a 350-acre area of forest and farmland which is also a destination for food, lodging, whiskey, and events. 

Craft distilleries pivoted in 2021 to not just making whiskey but also to making whiskey an experience. Complete with fully functional event spaces. Dant Crossing is now a destination for in-person events and getting people out of the typical buttoned-up event space. 

Breweries, like Angel City in Los Angeles, also make great venues. They are spacious, the beer is good, and breweries are fantastic for taking people away from their screens and computers. Let’s be real — beer is best offline. 

During a time that events are all about being hybrid and virtual, the local brewery or distillery might be the perfect place if you just need an old-school in-person event space.

Audience watches a Hilton Hotels presentation from the floor of the hotel ballroom as a man presents onstage.

Hotels have everything, literally. 

Omni Hotels recently launched Ready, Set, Go Hybrid with three distinct event spaces. A virtual event studio, a small hybrid event venue, and a highly customizable large hybrid event program. 

We have to say, these additions are a great way to bring a little structure to the rapidly evolving world of hybrid and virtual events. It’s easy to say you want to go virtual or hybrid and then rent a space, but what if that space is only one size fits all? Omni solves this problem with separate hybrid spaces that are built purpose-first. 

Many other hotels launched large-scale hybrid programs this year including Hiltons International EventReady program, Marriott International’s Connect with Confidence, and Accor’s All Connect

Hotels obviously also offer onsite food, top-notch health and safety plans, and lodging — all of which make them a perfect venue choice.

Venues took the ball and ran with it in 2021.

If there’s one thing we’ve figured out this last year, it’s that venues used 2021 to add everything organizers could need and want for planning events. 

Convention Centers used their spaces to invest in technology, connectivity, and creating safe, in-person events. Boutique venues might be the wave of the future and the most cutting-edge choice. And when we just want to unplug, a brewery or distillery may be the way to go. Lots of new venue choices for upcoming events, and they are all worth checking out!

December 14, 2021

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December 14, 2021

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