Where you choose to hold an event speaks volumes about the experience you’re setting your guests up to have. There’s nothing wrong with traditional event spaces, but after a while, they start blending together. If you’re looking for something a little less cookie-cutter, all you need is a little creativity.
There’s power in delivering something unexpected. So skip the ballroom, take a hard pass on that exhibition space, and consider booking something a little outside of the box. We’ve got everything you need to know — including tips on how to choose, how to make the space your own, and eight unique event venues that are trending now.
Why Choose a Unique Event Venue
Event spaces set the tone for the event. Even before COVID-19, opting for unconventional locations was trending. In this post-pandemic world, it’s even more popular as many people look for creative ways to host outdoor events that feel special. Enter offbeat options.
After all, if you want to create an experience that guests will remember for a long time to come, unique event venues are the way to go. Think about it this way. How much do you remember about the last meeting you attended in a hotel conference room or the last wedding held in a ballroom? Now imagine the impression that those same events might make if they’re held in a cordoned-off alleyway or your local stadium.
How to Choose
The key to making it work is to choose event spaces that work best for the event. The look and feel of the venue are important, but its amenities are equally important (sometimes even more so). Here are a few tips about what you should look for:
- Capacity: Can it comfortably hold the number of guests you’re estimating will attend?
- Access to Utilities: WiFi and electricity are must-haves. If there isn’t any on-site, you’ll have to arrange generators.
- Parking: Guests aren’t going to want to pay a mint to park their cars or walk long distances to get from their parking spot to the event.
- Space: What’s the layout like? Will you be able to decorate and furnish it the way you envision?
- Restrooms: Proximity to restrooms is a must unless you’re renting facilities like luxury portable restrooms
8 Options to Consider
Providing a wow-worthy setting is party planning 101, no matter what type of event you’re preparing for. That’s the beauty of unique event venues, which give you an amazing canvas to work with when it comes time to make them your own with decor and furniture. Looking for inspiration? We’ve got eight great options, each with its own unique appeal.
One of the brilliant things about hosting an event in a parking lot is the sheer number of options available. Many buildings have attached parking lots. Better yet — large or small, these unique event venues offer a nearly blank canvas with ample open space for arranging chairs, tables, and tents. Add flowers or lifelike greenery using dividers like CORT’s boxwood hedges to soften things up and infuse the area with gentler scenery.
Built-in parking gives you one less thing to worry about. Parking garages offer lots of space to spread out, and rooftop views can sometimes be spectacular. Even without a great natural backdrop, you can create your own using drapery and dividers. Mirror an industrial or warehouse-chic setting or play up the great outdoors — the sky’s the limit.
For events that soar to new heights, you might consider an airport hangar. It serves up the unexpected in a fresh way. After all, when you think about the airport, you think about travel — not event spaces. Hangars are far enough away from any runways and terminals, and they offer spacious square footage ideal for events of nearly any kind. They typically offer easy access to amenities and parking and also give you a one-of-a-kind backdrop for photos.
For rustic charm, it’s tough to top a farmstead or barn. These unique event venues have become among the most popular options for weddings, but they work for a variety of other types of events too. As a bonus, farms often provide an ideal mix of outdoor space and indoor space that’s very open and ventilated.
Wilderness and Parks
Looking for something a little more off the beaten path or in the spirit of your love of adventure? A mountain summit, your favorite hiking trail, canyons, waterfalls, ravines, and sprawling parklands all provide gorgeous scenery and a memorable atmosphere sure to stun guests. Amp up the adventure or create a festival-like environment. But keep in mind that you’ll likely need permits, and you need to consider accessibility for guests.
Drive-ins are useful for more than just watching movies under the stars. They’re also quirky event spaces with plenty of parking built right in. Many outdoor theaters have pivoted during the pandemic to provide a venue for events of all kinds, ranging from community meetings to church services to weddings and more.
Blocked Off Streets and Alleys
Part street party, part whatever you want it to be. Check with your city or town to find out more about the possibilities. In many places, restaurants have been given permission to spill out into the streets to give them more space for outdoor dining. Local ordinances might allow for you to use alleys and streets as event spaces too, and not just for block parties.
Stadiums and Ballparks
In many states and towns, sports are a no-go. Even if your local teams are playing you could score expansive space at stadiums and ballparks during off times. This gives you plenty of room to spread out and create unique areas and foot traffic patterns. Most facilities have ample parking, handy restrooms, and other helpful amenities. One thing to keep in mind: In addition to furniture and decor, you might have to arrange for floor or turf covers to protect the playing surface.
Tips for Creating That Special Vibe
There are several party planning rules for creating a special vibe that makes events unforgettable. The first is to find an incredible venue that meets your needs and provides the kind of atmosphere you want. For a unique event, you need a show-stopping venue. Other rules include:
- Define the Space: Guests should know exactly where they are and what they’re there for.
- Stage the Venue: Rent furniture and fill the event space with decor and experiences that are in keeping with the location and the theme of the event.
- Wow Guests: Take event guests on a journey by giving them plenty of things to see and do during the event. The more unexpected, the better.
Special events require special surroundings. That’s why the venue you choose is so essential. But the same care should be taken with everything from decor to furniture, all of which CORT Events can provide. We carry on-trend, wow-worthy options to complement your vision and create the experience you crave.
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels