George R Brown Convention Center is located in Downtown Houston, in between the Minute Maid Field (home of the Houston Astros) and the Toyota Center (home of the Houston Rockets and Houston Aeros). The Houston Convention Center was opened in 1987 and named for the millionaire and philanthropist whose corporation donated six of the eleven blocks on which the enormous facility is located. It is rated one of the ten largest such centers in the United States.
The Houston Convention Center replaced the facility that was later redeveloped into Bayou Place, a nightlife, entertainment, and dining complex in the Theatre District near the city’s prestigious Grand Opera. Many hotels are in the downtown area, and even if you don’t use Houston Convention Center hotels right next to the facility, you will still have easy access as the Downtown Houston district is relatively small and concentrated.
The kinds of George R Brown Convention Center events are varied, heavily sprinkled with commercial trade shows sponsored by national organizations. However, other events occur—from gun shows to Girl Scouts camp outs. There are cheerleader competitions, volleyball tournaments, college commencement ceremonies, job fairs, Texas State Bar exams, and political conventions. Even auditions for the television show America’s Got Talent have been held here. In support of the large scale conventions that are held here in the 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space, the Houston Convention Center has a grand ballroom, 100 meeting rooms, eight board rooms, and four conference rooms. There are 66 loading docks and drive-in entrances for exhibitors who bring large amounts of material by truck. There is a comprehensive business center and even a Starbucks café.
The George R Brown Convention Center is the home of the Explore Houston Visitors Center. This is the official tourist information bureau of the city. Here you get information as well as book tours, make restaurant reservations, and purchase tickets for museums, concerts, and theater productions. This is a full-service travel agency, and you can even purchase flights.
Two Houston Convention Center hotels are extremely close by and are both luxury hotels. The Four Seasons is only three blocks away and across from Discovery Green, a new urban park with a lake, swimming pool, and outdoor concert venue. The Hilton Americas is actually part of the convention center complex, and connected to it by several skywalk bridges. There are 1,200 deluxe rooms and suites that offer the finest in amenities, and there is a shopping area and swimming pool, fitness and health center. There are also several dining spots, bars and lounges, as well as an extensive business center. Other Houston Convention Center hotels include the Holiday Inn Express next to the Toyota Center, the Inn at the Ballpark next to Minute Maid Field, and the Courtyard Houston. Embassy Suites celebrates opening in 2011. You’ll find that the hotels have dining spots, but there are also a number of independent restaurants around the convention center. There is also some nightlife here, anchored by names like the House of Blues and Hard Rock Café.