Our Top Corporate Event Venues in New York City
Oh, how we love New York City! Over the past 20 years, we’ve had the opportunity to help many clients host events in this vibrant city; we even have a fabulous Project Manager based in Manhattan!
Today, we’re sharing details on our favorite corporate event venues in Manhattan (stay tuned for our post on Brooklyn venues!), along with a few tips for hosting corporate events in the Big Apple. With so many options to choose from in this dense city, it can be hard to know where to start, so we’re highlighting our absolute favorites and even including a couple of our dream venues.
Like KE’s hometown of San Francisco, New York City is an amazing place to host events. Everyone wants to visit, and many companies have a substantial presence in the city, particularly in Manhattan. That said, there are certainly some challenges to hosting a corporate event in Manhattan or Brooklyn. New York is the only city that challenges San Francisco in terms of price and legal restrictions, so it’s important to keep a few tips in mind when planning an event here.
Tips for Hosting a Corporate Event in New York
Book early! Space is at a premium, so large events requiring flexibility are hard to come by. Many companies that host an annual event have booked it multiple years in advance. PRO TIP: Many venues offer first right of refusal to returning guests, so building a long-term relationship with a venue can help secure your dates.
Remember: Nothing is cheap! While there are venues that offer great value, nothing in this city is cheap. You’ll definitely want to keep that in mind if the budget is tight.
Keep guest list size in mind. Events are incredibly popular here. If you have large attendee goals, it’s essential that your planning is hyper-organized with a long planning window to snag the venue of your choice. However, smaller guest list sizes (200 people or less) give you more flexibility and options for your venue options.
Best Corporate Event Venues in Manhattan
We love all of New York City, but Manhattan has our hearts; especially for KE Founder Maggie Kennedy who’s a Bronx native! Kennedy Events event producer Malia Stevens is a Manhattanite to her core, and her many years of residential and professional expertise make her an expert on the city’s best and most exclusive venues. Here are a few of her favorites.
Need something big in a great location? Look no further than the Metropolitan Pavilion. This venue is a treasure in Manhattan, thanks to its size and extreme flexibility. It’s a dedicated event space, which is hard to come by in a city that multi-purposes everything.
In addition to the size and flexibility, we love this venue because it allows so much room for customization and creativity. They have excellent A/V setups in place, and it’s perfect for an event that needs specific branding and decor. We’ve hosted multiple events here, including ONUG (two years in a row) and Sales Machine.
What makes this space unique is the staff. They have an in-house event coordinator whose services you can opt to use or not. We’ve found that the person in this role plays an essential part in coordinating the quirks of the building, including the challenges of managing multiple vendors using a shared NYC-sized loading dock and making sure the event set up maximizes the space options while meeting fire code regulations.
In addition, this venue provides a unique service: you can opt to book all of your rentals through them, so all rentals are in place when you arrive and your load-in time is cut down substantially. This is a great option if time is tight or if you’re booked up against another event.
Perhaps one of the things we love the most about this venue is the in-house A/V team. We think that A/V teams are the unsung heroes of an event, and it shines through here brightly. Frank and the entire team from World Stage A/V are professionally trained in theatrical lighting and stage management, so it’s easy to trust that they will do a great job—and they always do! We think that this alone gives amazing value when renting this venue for a corporate event.
Cipriani on 42nd Street
If you’re looking for old-world charm and splendor, then Cipriani is the place. This venue is an offshoot of an iconic Venetian establishment and brings the glamour of Venice into the middle of Manhattan. The space is perfectly suited for seated dinners, galas, and non-profit events.
There are multiple Cipriani locations across Manhattan, but we’re partial to the 1921 former bank building on 42nd Street. It books up far in advance, so we highly recommend contacting them well ahead of time if this is a must-have venue for you. The building is already so decadent that it’s a great option for someone who wants a nearly turnkey space. Perhaps the thing we love the most about this space is the excellent, highly professional staff. It’s one of the most professionally run venues we’ve ever worked in from the in-house planners to the maître d'. Every staff member brings such a sense of calm and delivers beautiful service. As event planners, for us this is solid gold; the in-house team handles internal things so well that it allows us to put all of our focus on other elements of the event that are most important to the client.
Every Cipriani location has a built-in, permanently rigged A/V system, which means that customers get a lot of bang for their buck. Although nothing is cheap in New York, the quality here is so high that it delivers great value.
On top of all of this, Cipriani offers a style of dinner service we’ve never seen anywhere else. At seated meals, there is one server for every two diners, which means that everyone gets their food hot at the same time. It’s a beautifully choreographed service that is both elegant and practical. (If Cipriani is booked, another great alternative is Gotham Hall; it’s a great space with elegant ambiance and luxury.)
The Whale Room
Although it’s more formally known as the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t call this room by its most distinguishing feature: The Whale Room.
Named for the 21,000-pound blue whale model suspended from the ceiling, this room is a magical monument to the wonders found under the ocean and you can host an event here! We love this space because it’s unexpected, yet absolutely magnificent. It’s perfect for a gala, a seated meal, or a large reception. It’s the kind of venue that’s sure to sell out quickly because it feels so special to get to be in a space that’s iconic Manhattan.
Temple of Dendur
You may not know the name, but you certainly know the space. The Temple of Dendur is an iconic exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made famous in pop culture by movies like “Ocean’s 8” and “When Harry Met Sally.”
Hosting an event here puts the “special” in that special event you’re planning. There are some challenges in hosting an event here: it’s terribly difficult to secure a date, you have to work with their preferred vendors, and the load-in is tricky because you do have to work around both the museum hours and their visitors. Honestly, it’s still completely worth it, and we’d love to host something at this iconic Manhattan venue.
Do You Have a New York City Event Coming Up?
We’d love to hear about it! Manhattan is home for us (our company is bi-coastal), and we know every quirk and perk of this city. We’d love nothing better than to chat corporate event strategy with you. Send us a note and we’ll be in touch!
Maggie Kennedy is the co-owner of Kennedy Events; a large-scale event management company based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Our team creates stress-free conferences and events with a positive impact, which allow our clients to resonate with their audience. Kennedy Events specializes in producing flawless product launches, award ceremonies, fundraisers and multi-day conferences while keeping our eye on retention and engagement goals