Main Image: Paul Loftland; where to sleep photo: philadelphia marriott downtown; How to get there photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
Located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) is a landmark rife with history and spectacular architectural details. The site first served as the Reading Railroad Terminal. More than a century later, the dramatic arched roof of the original train shed sweeps over a sprawling Grand Hall. Following a LEED-Gold certified expansion in 2011, the PCC offers 1 million square feet of meeting space including seven exhibit halls, two ballrooms, 82 meeting rooms, and a 10-story glass atrium. Measuring 2.3 million square feet overall with 528,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, the venue is the 14th largest convention center in the country.
WHERE TO SLEEP
The 1,408-room Philadelphia Marriott Downtown occupies the head house of the former train terminal and adjoins the PCC, while the smaller 179-room Aloft Philadelphia Downtown is adjacent to the center's Broad Street entrance and has a direct interior connection to the venue. More than 9,000 hotel rooms are within a 15-minute walk.
WHAT TO EAT
The PCC's third-floor Overlook Cafe offers free Wi-Fi and a convenient on-site respite. The nearby Reading Terminal Market, one of the nation's oldest food bazaars and farmers markets, is considered a can't-miss Philadelphia experience. For client dinners, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse is a popular destination.
HOW TO GET THERE
Philadelphia International Airport is located 7 miles from downtown, and taxis charge a flat fare of $28.50 for rides to the Convention Center District. Uber and Lyft offer rides to the PCC area starting at $23 and $21, respectively. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) runs the Airport Regional Rail Line, which costs $6.75 from the airport to the station across from the PCC.
Exhibitors may load and unload noncommercial vehicles and use their own nonmotorized, nonhydraulic equipment to move items to and from the show floor.
Booths up to 600 square feet can be set up by an exhibitor's full-time employees.
Exhibitors are permitted to use ladders up to 6 feet tall and most power tools, but only in booths that do not exceed 600 square feet.
Exhibitors may install their own signage, floor coverings, and nonrented/nonpublic audiovisual equipment including laptops, computers, and tablets.
On-floor vehicle batteries must be disconnected and reconnected by electricians regardless of the size of the booth.
At the PCC, 120-volt power originates from floor boxes throughout the center, and 200-amp service originates from the ceiling.
Ceilings in exhibit halls A, B, and C have a clearance of 29 feet, while Hall D has 15-foot ceilings.
All food and beverage must be ordered through Aramark, the PCC's exclusive foodservice provider.
Union regulations and jurisdictions at the PCC are complex, so carefully read the fine print of the exhibitor services manual.
An on-site FedEx Office Print & Ship Center offers shipping and graphics-printing services.