Our Favorite Venues for Corporate Events in San Francisco (and Beyond!)
San Francisco is an amazing place to host a corporate event. Many of the world’s biggest and best tech companies are here, and people that don’t already live here are eager to visit this beautiful city.
However, with so many events happening in the Bay Area, it can be a challenge to host an event that people want to attend in a venue that isn’t just another hotel/conference center combo. While those certainly have their place, today we’re sharing our favorite places for offbeat venues in San Francisco and Northern California.
Best When You Want “Warm with a Side of Industrial”: The Village
We absolutely love this charming venue! It has something surprisingly hard to find in San Francisco: brick walls. The three-story layout in this space is its real selling point; it gives us room to play, get creative with guest flow, and develop a uniquely immersive experience for attendees.
Need a plenary session, breakouts, tabletop exhibits, and an after party all under one roof? Check and check. Need an outdoor space in addition to multiple indoor spaces? No problem. Let’s get creative! This venue has an alleyway that can be closed down for private events, giving you yet another area of space to create an experience for guests. The location is just a stone’s throw from many major tech company HQs; making this venue one of our top picks for an offbeat space to host corporate events.
Best for Great Weather: Terra Gallery
When the sun comes out in this town, there’s nowhere we’d rather be. Actually, even when it’s foggy, we still love this venue because the giant wall of windows provides plenty of natural light. That’s why we absolutely love both the outdoor—and indoor!—space at Terra Gallery.
We adore a space that has built-in personality and this venue has that in abundance. Two floors totaling 24,000 square feet plus a large outdoor space means this venue can be nearly anything you want it to be. The long driveway makes for an excellent grand entrance and lends itself to a private, mini-campus-like feel. Perfect for a team off-site or high-level conference where you don’t want distractions. What’s more, the white walls have a rotating gallery of local artists, bringing just as much charm inside as outside. The staff here are absolutely delightful and the built-in greenroom and catering kitchen add to the list of reasons why we love planning events here.
Our Favorite Large-Scale Blank Slate Venue:
Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason
Sometimes, a blank slate is the exact kind of venue we need to create an event that is customized down to every detail. When we need a blank slate with ample options, we turn to Fort Mason. This federally-owned space has twelve different venue options within the multi-acre campus; ranging from the historic General’s Residence to a large pier that was once used for shipping out soldiers during WWI. These venues are exquisite and we especially love that they are part of the fabric and history of our city—not to mention the oh-so-amazing views!
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to this space, including that it’s federally-owned; which means that the rules can change at any time depending on what’s happening in D.C. (The entire campus is part of the National Park Service.) The second drawback is that you have to bring in everything since it only comes with four walls and a view. No worries! We have the best power distribution companies, catering tents rentals, and janitorial services all on speed dial.
The largest venue on the property is the Festival Pavilion with 50,000 square feet; making it a great canvas for so many different types of gatherings. This pier has great views, ample parking, very high ceilings, and views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Our first event here included a 40-foot wide stage, seating, lunch, and lounging; basically everything we could want in one beautiful venue. We’ve also transformed the Festival Pavilion into a black-tie worthy gala space with cars on display, a reception, and a dance floor big enough for 800 guests to dance the night away to the Four Tops. (Yes, THAT Four Tops!!)
Our Favorite Downtown View from the Bay: Cruise Ship Terminal
Oh, how we love the Cruise Ship Terminal at Pier 27! We’ve written a whole blog post about its challenges and benefits; read that here if you’d like an in-depth case study.
We absolutely love the views from this venue! They are among the best in the city and planning an event here gives us such a thrill. This venue is huge—it can hold up to 1,500 guests! It’s spread out over two floors and it’s perfect for a seated gala dinner or any large group gathering. Features like a built-in registration desk, new carpets, excellent exclusive vendors, and an amazing staff make working with this venue a joy. Transforming a cruise ship terminal into a multi-stage conference or decadent gala calls for pros, so be sure to call us first!
Most Unique History: The Mint
We couldn’t imagine a more appropriate venue to host an event about finance then a space that used to print our nation’s money. We loved hosting the 2017 #CASH Event at this stunning and unique venue. The Greek Revival style building dates back to 1874 and being here feels like stepping into a different time. The space is divided into multiple rooms; which is great for groups that need maximum flexibility. We’ve managed events with floor plans that included a Press Room, Green Room, Video Editing Suite, Event Office, Mothers’ Lounge, Speakers’ Lounge, Outdoor and Indoor Dining, even a Main Stage—with room to spare. The bottom floor is cozy and intriguing with brick walls and the old vaults open and ready to host whatever our imagination can dream up; though we all agree it would be perfect for a Halloween event! The Mint is located in the middle of the city in an area that’s often overlooked. Everything that makes this space quirky and unique can be used to a host’s advantage.
Do you have an event in 2019 or 2020?
Are you feeling inspired to go explore San Francisco now? We love being tourists in our own city and we encourage you to do the same! Enjoy Part 2 of this post where we share even more venues your guests will love.
If you’re planning a corporate event in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, or beyond, we’d love to hear about it! We’re here to help make sure that you and your guests get the most out of your event.
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.