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If there's a big event happening in downtown Atlanta, chances are a part of it — if not the whole thing — is taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center, or GWCC. The 3.9 million square-foot convention center, the fourth-largest convention center in the United States, is located at 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW and is near the Georgia Dome sports and entertainment venue, CNN Center, Philips Arena and Centennial Olympic Park, making it convenient to hold events and activities in conjunction with events that are also taking place at these venues.
Background and Notable Events
The GWCC opened in 1976, becoming the first convention center in the country to be established and operated by a state. It consists of three buildings — A, B and C — and features a total of 12 exhibit halls, 105 meeting rooms and two ballrooms. The convention center also offers other basic amenities, such as a Starbucks coffee shop, a FedEx office and IT support, to cater to exhibitors and attendees.
In March 2008, the convention center was badly damaged by a tornado that hit much of the downtown area. While the facility sustained roof and water damage, which led to the cancellation of several weeks' worth of events, restoration was completed on a timely basis. and the venue was reopened to host a robotics championship in mid-April.
In addition to the plethora of industry trade shows and conventions that the GWCC plays host to each year, it also annually hosts a two-day Southeastern Conference (SEC) football fan festival, which occurs in conjunction with the annual SEC championship football game every December at the Georgia Dome. The GWCC also hosted a similar fan festival prior to WWE Wrestlemania in 2011.
You can get to the GWCC either by private vehicle or public transit. While the convention center offers over 5,600 on-site parking spaces for those who wish to drive in themselves, the venue is also a stop on the MARTA rail system's Blue and Green lines for those who don't want to deal with the hassle of traffic or parking.
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