What You Need to Know to Plan an Event at the San Diego Convention Center

San Diego’s largest and best-known public venue, the San Diego Convention Center, opened in 1989. After completing an expansion in 2001, the Southern California venue now covers a total of 2.6 million square feet, including:

  • 615,700 of exhibit space
  • 123,400 square feet of breakout and meeting rooms
  • 2 large ballrooms

The distinctive fiberglass sails that cover the Sails Pavilion make the venue an iconic feature of the San Diego skyline.

The venue hosts hundreds of events every year, of all sizes. One of the most notable events held at the San Diego Convention Center is San Diego Comic-Con, which has been hosted here since 1979 and routinely attracts more than 130,000 attendees. The City of San Diego is a popular choice for events, thanks to its diverse and extensive array of entertainment and dining options and excellent public transit.

Location and Contact Information

The San Diego Convention Center is in the Marina district of downtown San Diego, CA, on West Harbor Drive.

Street Address: 111 West Harbor Dr San Diego, CA 92101

Executive Office: 619-525-5131

Event Services: 619-525-5428

Bookings: 619-525-5220

Booking Information

The San Diego Convention Center is a highly popular venue, and it’s important to start the booking process early. Submit an event inquiry least 18 months in advance if you’re interested in booking a space here.

For general questions and event inquiries, submit queries here.

Rooms and Spaces

At 2.6 million square feet, this California venue offers plenty of space for big events. There are dozens of meetings rooms in a range of sizes for smaller events and intimate occasions. Along with the iconic Sails Pavilion, special features of the San Diego Convention Center include its mezzanine-level outdoor spaces and illuminated outdoor skywalk.

See the San Diego Convention Center Facility Guide for comprehensive information on room dimensions and locations.

Sails Pavilion

  • 90,000-square-foot multi-purpose function space
  • Iconic glass-enclosed space with city and bay views
  • Customizable LED lighting displays

Exhibit Halls

  • 525,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space
  • Huge main exhibit hall can be divided into seven various-sized separate halls
  • Some halls are column-free

Meeting Rooms

  • Total of 204,000 square feet of meeting space
  • Up to 72 configurable meeting rooms
  • Located on ground and upper levels and the mezzanine

Ballrooms

  • Two elegant 40,000-square-foot ballrooms
  • Able to accommodate large general sessions or banquets
  • Can be divided into smaller rooms

Outdoor Spaces

  • Total of 184,000 square feet of outdoor event space
  • Open-air terraces and mezzanine with dramatic San Diego skyline views
  • Two-acre Plaza Park for special events
  • Illuminated skywalk and observation deck

Event Types at the San Diego Convention Center

With dozens of event spaces in a wide range of sizes and capacities, this conference center is appropriate for virtually any kind of event, including conventions, conferences, and trade shows. However, because the venue is in high demand, it’s vital to get an early start on booking inquiries.

As of 2023, the San Diego Convention Center is taking bookings for events scheduled to take place in or after March 2024. At the time of writing, the venue is not booking any private social events.

Exclusive and Preferred Vendors and Service

The following SDCC services are provided exclusively by these vendors.

  • Food and Beverage
    • San Diego Convention Center food provided by an in-house catering team
    • Creative catering specializing in locally sourced seasonal menus
  • Telephone, Networking, Wi-Fi, Cable TV, and Radio
  • Audio/Visual Services
    • Lighting design, audio, video, projection mapping, and stage design
    • Hybrid event support services available
  • Security
    • Only approved security vendors are permitted to operate in the venue. Event planners can choose from a list of pre-approved and qualified vendors.

Convention Center Amenities

  • Guest services offered to help visitors get the most out of the venue
  • FedEx Office Business Center for printing, shipping, mailing, and other business needs
  • Mothers’ lounges in lobbies A and E
  • Starbucks locations in lobbies A, C, and E
  • Private single-occupancy restrooms in lobby A
  • Water stations located throughout the building
  • Charging stations available in lower level lobbies

Nearby Accommodations

There are over 13,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center. And since it’s easy to get around in the city, there are plenty more options in neighboring districts. Hotels near the venue include:

  • Hilton® San Diego Bayfront
  • Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
  • Omni San Diego
  • Hotel Indigo® San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter
  • Comfort Inn® Gaslamp Convention Center
  • Days Inn® by Wyndham San Diego/Downtown/Convention Center 

Accessibility

The San Diego Convention Center is ADA-compliant. As such, provides all necessary permanent venue accommodations. This includes wheelchair lifts, as well as restrooms, doorways, and elevators that can accommodate wheelchairs. The front driveway of the venue has multiple accessible drop-off points for visitors.

Accommodations: Any temporary accommodations that are needed for an event are the responsibility of the event organizer. For instance, this includes assistance for people who are hearing or sight impaired and interpreters for people who speak languages other than English.

Service Animals: Guide, service, and signal animals are welcome in the venue, in accordance with ADA guidelines. Emotional support, comfort, and therapy animals aren’t included in this category. Any other animal visitors must receive written approval.

Transportation and Parking

San Diego is a famously walkable city and boasts excellent public transit that includes a trolley system as well as bus and rail services. The closest airport to this California convention center is San Diego International Airport, a 10-minute drive away.

On-Site Parking: The San Diego Convention Center has over 1,900 on-site parking spaces, but parking is not controlled by the venue itself. Underground parking is accessible via Harbor Drive, and a daily parking rate applies. Overnight parking and 24-hour parking are not available. A limited number of EV charging stations are available and there are 31 ADA-compliant parking stalls with nearby elevator access.

San Diego Trolley System: The SDCC has excellent access to public transport, with two nearby San Diego Trolley stations: the Convention Center station and the Gaslamp Quarter station.

FRED: The Free Ride Everywhere Downtown, or FRED system, provides free transport in the downtown area, with an app to download for checking the daily service schedule.

Dockless Scooters: Scooters are available for rent around the city, with stations near the convention center.

Public Safety and Security

The SDCC is responsible for security in all public areas of the venue, including lobbies, docks, and perimeter areas. When an event requires additional security services, event planners need to organize these services.

Get Southern California in your plans and the San Diego Convention Center on your event calendar. Ready to draw exactly the people you want to your next trade show, corporate event, or meeting? ProGlobalEvents can help.

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Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler

President

Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jack Connolly

Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.

 

Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.

 

In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

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Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.

Paul Miller

Chief Marketing Officer

Having served in a number of executive roles for companies in Silicon Valley for over 25 years, Paul has a client-side perspective of the corporate events industry. He has a broad set of experiences working for startups as well as global firms such as Applied Materials. At ProGlobalEvents, Paul helps the company to reach clients through traditional and digital marketing programs. With an extensive background in the High Tech sector, he’s also involved with technology strategy both internally and for clients. Paul is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, the Stanford Engineering Design School and Claremont McKenna College. In his spare time he is a also a principal member of the non-profit Gratitude Network which mentors award winning social entrepreneurs.