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It’s summer in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana — and with the return of festivals and fireflies, it’s a most magical time to “explore the Fort.” For savvy event planners, the season and scenery easily and economically expand their group’s options for a healthier work-play balance.

Increasingly, successful conferences include a built-in work-play balance in exchange for boosted attendance and productivity. Event planners are seeking out venues that offer easy, affordable add-ons within reliable reach of the conference room. It’s a win-win for all!

Planners and attendees are making the most of offsite options, which means site selection hinges on readily available and accessible amenities. In the 2023 Meetings Today Trends Survey, event planners cited offsite restaurants (68.2%), historic landmarks (41.8%), and museums (34.2%) among the most utilized amenities for their attendees.

Grand Wayne Convention Center’s popularity (an 80% rebooking rate!) is partially due to its internal guest amenities and its strategic downtown Fort Wayne location. Here are a few enjoyment factors to balance those hard-at-work conference or trade show sessions:


Grand Wayne Convention Center is designed to (1) make the event planner’s job easier and (2) make the attendees’ experiences more pleasurable and memorable.

•  Customizable “privacy pods” allow attendees to take a personal moment or enjoy some quiet time. Movable 6-foot whiteboards double as room dividers or sectioned spaces.

•  Functional furniture invites guests to continue the conference conversation in more relaxed lounge settings. Swivel chairs, charging stations, sofas and side tables are accented by natural or soft lighting.

•  Complimentary guest experience amenities encourage participation and comradery: oversized SCRABBLE®, Checkers, and Jinga games, for example, or fully customized graphics and displays can carry the conference theme to the next level!

•  Onsite gourmet chef and professional F&B service teams make it easy to provide healthy, delicious meals and snacks! From farm-to-fork to carved ice sculptures, gorgeous table sets, and tailored lighting and sound ambiance, everything’s possible with our catering and technology options.  


Groups need to see and go beyond the confines of conference spaces. The added energy of outside experiences can create credibility and enthusiasm. In our case (and our neighborhood), Grand Wayne Convention Center connects directly with

• the Historic Embassy Theater, a gilded-to-the-max 1928 vaudevillian movie palace with auxiliary ballroom and rooftop, perfect for add-on receptions or appreciation events;

Botanical Conservatory, a lushly appointed garden space with tropical, desert, and exterior “garden rooms” that easily welcome guests into a natural experience;

Parkview Field, an award-winning, nationally and critically acclaimed multi-use ballpark with auxiliary indoor and outdoor event spaces and catering for family fun

Museums and performing arts, including the internationally recognized Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, numerous local theatres, galleries, gift shops, sports and entertainment venues; and

Food and drinks for everyone! More than 60 restaurants, pubs, coffee and dessert houses dot the downtown streets with plates to satiate every tastebud!

Modern meetings require more than PowerPoint presenters and self-serve coffee stations. Event venues like Grand Wayne Convention Center are gearing up, inside and out — rethinking the style and format of events and relinking their guests with all the good perks of the surroundings. Planners are no longer booking spaces — they’re booking experiences that pay dividends in attendance.

Our sales managers, event and guest experience managers, AV and catering teams have years (and years!) of expertise and creative ideas and connections to help you build a win-win, work-play experience. At the core for every event hosted at Grand Wayne Convention Center, our mantra is to “Make Good Memories.” It’s how we’ve earned our award-winning status as one of the Midwest’s best convention centers. We’re here to help simplify the process and our guests enjoy their stay in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Let’s talk about how we can help you create an amazing event. Contact one of our Sales Managers and tell us about your event!