Southwestern Louisiana has a vibe that’s all its own. Sure there’s the warmth and hospitality most people associate with the South, but there’s also the spiciness and sass of Acadiana. Here, a mixture of Native American, French, German and Caribbean cultures create a distinct Cajun and Creole identity comprised of excellent cuisine, French Colonial and Victorian architecture and folks that know how to have a good time.
As one of the largest cities in Cajun Country, Lake Charles has everything you need, and things you never knew you wanted when it comes to hosting a meeting or event. Along with a diverse collection of convention facilities, meeting venues and accommodation options, there are glittering casinos, the sweet sounds of zydeco music floating through the air, both fine dining and come-as-you-are eateries, a quaint historic district and expert-led tours of the mysterious and Spanish-moss draped wetlands. Best of all, as the widely proclaimed “Festival Capital of Louisiana,” you can plan your event around one of 75 annual festivals for a closer look at the regions eclectic culture.
Lake Charles is easy to access as well. Both American Airlines and United Airlines service Lake Charles regional airport, generally via a connection in Dallas or Houston—effectively connecting Lake Charles with the entire world. The city is conveniently located on Interstate 10, making arrival by bus or car as simple as can be. Once you’re here, taxis, rental cars, and limousine services are all available, but the city of Lake Charles trolley is a charming way to get around town if you’re not in a rush. Ready to explore all that this inviting city has to offer? Here’s everything you need to start planning your visit.
In Lake Charles, it’s extremely convenient to experience two of the cities largest gaming resorts because they happen to sit side by side. The Golden Nugget Lake Charles has a brand ethos that speaks for itself, so you can expect top-notch service, chic guest rooms and suites and incredible amenities, including a championship golf course, lakefront beach with private marina, spa, two-acre heated pool complex with a lazy river and one of the most fabulous casinos this side of the Mississippi River. To attend your meeting, you won’t even have to step off property thanks to more than 30,000 square feet of sophisticated meeting space. The 18,000-sq.-ft. Grand Event Center is ideal for large speaking engagements and presentations. Smaller banquet rooms, boardrooms and a terrace are available for smaller events.
In the rare instance that the Golden Nugget Lake Charles doesn’t have what your group is looking for, hop on the Casino Trolley for a quick ride to the luxurious L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles. The L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles has a refined elegance that touches every bit of the property. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and plush linens, and the glass-domed casino is a thrilling mixture of 80 table games and 1,600 slots. The 26,000 square feet of meeting space has unique design touches like paneled wainscot, beamed ceilings and richly colored fabrics for an extra bit of luxury. In addition to boardrooms, classrooms and a terrace, there’s the standout 14,140-sq.-ft. L’Auberge ballroom that accommodates 1,182 seated guests.
At the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, there are a wide variety of casino games as well as live entertainment and dancing. Practice your best boot scooting moves with Lake Charles locals at the Lone Wolf Lounge, or take your turn on the mic at one of its famous karaoke nights. Don’t stay out too late though. Seal the deals or lead teambuilding missions in some of its 13,500 square feet of meeting space. If horse racing is your game, stay at the Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel in nearby Vinton. After talks and presentations in the resort’s event center, you can enjoy the exciting thoroughbred racetrack, whether you decide to place a bet or not. You can also choose to enjoy the race over a delicious meal at Rosewater Grill & Tavern of The Lookout Restaurant, which both overlook the racetrack.
Does your meeting or event require a more traditional setting? Lake Charles has you covered. The three-level, three-part Lake Charles Civic Center is located on 64 acres of land in the heart of downtown Lake Charles. The 83,000-sq.-ft. center offers an amphitheater, exhibition hall, coliseum that seats 7,500 people and so much more. For added convenience, the center has on-site parking and a wide variety of local caterers that service the center.
The West-Cal Arena & Event Center, in nearby Sulphur, Louisiana, has 135,000 square feet of covered space and is flexible enough to host everything, from family reunions and weddings to sporting events and banquets.
While the Burton Complex has a banquet-style room within its walls, this complex is meant for sporting events. Burton complex has hosted NCAA basketball games, basketball tournaments, rodeo events, equestrian competitions and more within the domed facility that seats up to 9,000 people. Finally, the new SOWELA Technical Community College Regional Training Center is the ideal setting for trainings, classes and conferences thanks to its well-appointed computer labs and state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities.
Bring your smaller gathering to one of the more eclectic venues in Lake Charles for a taste of the region’s culture-melding history. The Cash & Carry building is a meticulously restored, 9,600-sq.-ft. warehouse built in the 1930s to house wholesale goods that were eventually sold to local businesses. After nearly falling into disrepair, the building was bought and restored by Rick and Donna Richard, earning a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The space features polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls and wood-beamed ceilings and is a beautiful setting for weddings and dinners.
Make a grand statement with your event at the Historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank, where both the exteriors and interiors are fit for royalty. The three-story, limestone-faced building is Neoclassical in style with two-story bronze arch windows and enormous double doors ornamented with lion head pulls. Inside, gold-framed glass double doors welcome you to the main hall where four chandeliers, 22 Corinthian pillars and coffered ceilings await. You can also hold events in the former bank vault, where the 21-inch thick, circular vault door is sure to be a conversation piece.
As the home of former Louisiana Gov. Sam Houston Jones, The Governor’s Mansion is classically antebellum brick mansion with huge white columns, a Juliet window and a fountain in front of the house. Inside, you’ll admire the classically Southern setting for a seated-dinner with beautiful hardwood floors and tons of windows for a breezy, natural light-filled venue. The Ballroom at the Charleston is another banquet-style space for dinners or it can accommodate smaller events like a company Christmas party. Both spaces are managed by the same company and offer a wide variety of décor and set up options.