Ironically, Atlantic City was the best-known destination, with 100 percent awareness and the most visitation, at 75 percent.
Glaringly, New Jersey’s historic sites,
performing arts venues, festivals and museums ranked lowest (between 24 percent
and 20 percent) for visitation. Yet, the
abundant group-capable choices within
these and other categories are fundamental to the Garden State story, and in many
cases, synonymous with
America itself. From a
field of many, here are
reasons to book
By 1915, the
factory complex surrounding Thomas Edison’s laboratory
in West Orange,
N.J., was the scene of
great industry, as some
10,000 workers brought
the master inventor’s ideas to life.
Preserved with time-capsule perfection
as the Thomas Edison National Historical
Park, Edison’s offices and labs today are the
ultimate choice for inspiring tours.
After marveling at the heavy machine
shops and exhibits, including original mo-
tion picture equipment and phonographs,
groups can visit nearby Glenmont, home to
Edison and his wife Mina from 1886 until
his death in 1931. Set with-
in private Llewellyn
is available for
Great minds also gather at the Westminster Hotel in nearby Livingston. Ideally
situated just 20 miles west of New York
City and 20 minutes from Newark Liberty
International Airport amid a concentra-
THOMAS EDISON NATIONAL
HISTORICAL PARK HEAVY
The superb beaches, boardwalks and attractions along New Jersey’s 130-mile coastline power much of the state’s $43.4 billion tourism industry, while also attracting groups looking to mix meetings with a refreshing change of
scenery and perspective. With several major convention facilities along its coast,
New Jersey is a “shore thing” for doing business at the beach.
Expanding its meetings infrastructure and enhancing its business market appeal are strategic imperatives for Atlantic City. Dramatically validating this direction
is the $125.8 million, 100,000-square-foot Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront
Conference Center ( www.caesars.com/harrahs-ac), which instantly ignited current
and future year bookings since opening last September--including the 2,000-plus
delegates participating in MPI’s 2016 World Education Congress this month.
With its own distinct footprint, the new
venue vitally complements the Atlantic City
Convention Center ( www.meetinac.com).
At 600,000 square feet, it’s the largest convention facility in New Jersey, offering nearly
500,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit
space, plus 45 meeting rooms and ample
Opened in 1929, the city’s original
convention facility, Boardwalk Hall (www.
boardwalkhall.com), is among the world’s
top grossing mid-size multipurpose venues,
seating 14,770 for events and also offering the 3,200-seat Adrian Phillips Ballroom.
Details on how Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City ( http://tropicana.net),
Resorts Casino Hotel ( https://resortsac.com) and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
( www.theborgata.com) are investing in the city’s meetings future are explained in
this month’s cover story.
As Meet AC President and CEO Jim Wood says, “We have a singular intent to
grow our meetings business.”
Roughly 90 minutes north of Atlantic City, resurgent Asbury Park, the Victo-
rian-era beach resort immortalized in Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 debut album
Greetings From Asbury Park, hosts conventions, sporting events, concerts and
other gatherings at historic Convention Hall ( www.apboardwalk.com). The
11,730-square-foot venue, which debuted with the annual meeting of the New
York Friars Club in 1930 and hosted many rock legends from the 1960s on, can
flexibly accommodate up to 3,600 people. Groups of up to 900 can also rent the
giant breezeway of the Grand Arcade, which connects the Convention Hall with
the historic 1,600-seat Paramount Theatre.
Just above the Cape May peninsula about
an hour south of Atlantic City, The Wildwoods
and its famed Doo-Wop hotels, neon-lit
boulevards and yesteryear ambience has been
a family-friendly draw for generations. Built
directly on the beach—among the widest on
the Jersey Shore—the Wildwoods Convention
Center ( www.wildwoodsnj.com/cc) is uniquely
attractive in its own right.
Connected to the destination’s nationally
acclaimed 38-block Boardwalk and its arcade
of attractions, the convention center accentuates its prime location with versatile hosting of
conventions, tradeshows, concerts and events
for groups of 10 to 10,000 people.
Key measurements of the 260,000-square-foot venue include 86,700 square
feet of unobstructed exhibit space; 75,000 square feet of meeting space with
15 breakout rooms; 23,440 square feet of lobby and prefunction space; a
11,700-square-foot ballroom; and a 7,500-seat arena. Plus, there is a windowed
wall opening onto a 6,600-square-foot outside deck with spectacular beach and
ocean views; a translucent Teflon-coated roof admitting sunlight during the day;
and outdoor parking for 700 vehicles. This month, an RFP is scheduled to go out
for an adjacent headquarters hotel.
WILDWOODS CONVENTION CENTER
COURTESY CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT