The Pennsylvania Convention Center, which hosts a large range of events, is comprised of meeting rooms,
auditoriums, and a beautiful ballroom of almost 35,000 square feet. At this point in time, the center is the 14th largest building of its kind in the U.S. and is proud to provide the largest ballroom and Grand Hall in the Northeastern states.
The Old Civic Center
The Philadelphia Civic Center was the original venue used for events in the area. Built in 1930, it had a capacity of up to 12,000 for entertainment and business purposes. The center had a great life that included hosting musical acts such as The Beatles and The Jackson 5. In addition to its musical uses, the building hosted several national political conventions, college and high school graduation ceremonies, and at one point in time, even hosted President Lyndon B. Johnson. After many useful years, the center was unable to meet rising space requirements and plans for a new venue were established.
Reading Railroad and Reading Terminal Market
The Reading Railroad Terminal, was built above an open air market that came to be known as the Reading Terminal Market. The market itself had been in residence since 1853 and it took much negotiation before they accepted the new train station. Trains were forced to operate mainly above ground to compensate for the market. Much of the same process of negotiation and compromise was undertaken when the conception of The Pennsylvania Convention Center was brought to light. In the end, it was decided that the integrity and history of both the original market and train station would be preserved.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center, conceived in the 80’s, finally opened its doors in 1993. This massive building was built around and within the Reading Railroad train terminal and market. Due to resident urging, the historic market and train terminal were preserved within the construction of the new convention center by using most of the train shed for the Grand Hall. In addition, the rest of the train shed houses several smaller ballrooms and the market still houses stalls for shopping. The main entrance to the convention center, formerly the ticketing area of the train station, can be found at the intersection of 12th and Market Street. From there, the building extends all the way over to Broad Street. The building pays tribute to the historic Reading terminal and market , but doesn’t fail to deliver in the areas of modern architecture and technology.
The year 1995 saw the incorporation of a 1,200 room Marriott hotel into the convention center’s design. Along with the hotel, shops, restaurants, and a fitness center were added for additional functionality. Development and construction of the hotel saw to it that the center had increased space and could now offer sleeping quarters and entertainment to its guests. In 2006, The Pennsylvania Convention Center underwent an expansion of almost 800 million dollars. The completion of the expansion in 2011, brought the massive building to its present day size of more than 1 million square feet.
At the present time the convention center is host to many varied events each year. Its prime location, right in the center of Downtown Philadelphia, ensures that visitors have their pick of activities and sights to explore. Within walking distance, guests of the convention center can find dining, shopping, bars, major city sights and luxury hotels that are close by.In addition to renting out space for everything from weddings to international trade shows, the center is host to several annual events. With 1 million square feet of usable meeting space, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is a modern day wonder fit for any type of gathering.