Raleigh Convention Center

Coordinates: 35°46′25″N 78°38′28″W / 35.77361°N 78.64111°W / 35.77361; -78.64111
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Raleigh Convention Center
Side facing McDowell Street along with Shimmer Wall
Address300 S. Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
Coordinates35°46′25″N 78°38′28″W / 35.77361°N 78.64111°W / 35.77361; -78.64111
OpenedSeptember 5, 2008
Banquet/ballroom12,000 people (15,000 for theatre-style)
Enclosed space
 • Total space500,000 square feet (46,000 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floor150,000 square feet (14,000 m2)
 • Breakout/meeting32,600 square feet (3,030 m2)
 • Ballroom32,617 square feet (3,030.2 m2)

The Raleigh Convention Center is a convention and exhibition facility in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina that opened in September 2008. The architect was Tvsdesign with the participation of local firms O'Brien/Atkins Associates and Clearscapes.[1]


Located at 500 South Salisbury Street, the three-level 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) building contains a 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) exhibit hall, twenty meeting rooms and a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) ballroom.[2]

The ballroom on the highest level can seat up to 2,715 persons (banquet-style) or 3,630 persons (theater-style). The exhibit hall on the lowest level can hold up to 790 booths or seat up to 6,800 persons (banquet-style) or 9,600 persons (theater-style). Extensive acoustics work was performed to not only provide sound isolation between adjacent activities within the center, but also to control noise output to the surrounding community.[3]

The facility is more than double the size of the older convention center that was erected in 1977, renovated in 1997, and torn down in February 2006.[4] There had been controversy about the older building as well as the site of the new building.[5][6]

The building cost $225 million to construct.[7] A new Marriott hotel named Marriott City Center was built to provide lodging for visitors and now connects to the Convention Center.[8]

The west-facing wall of the new convention center boasts a large public art piece called the 'Shimmer Wall', which was completed in 2009.[9] It contains 80,000 aluminum panels backed by LED lights.[10] The piece is 44 feet tall and 210 feet wide.[9] It is a work of a local artist Thomas Sayre.[9] 'Shimmer Wall' features a giant oak tree, which represents Raleigh's nickname, the 'City of Oaks'. The wall was sponsored by Cree Inc., a local company that manufactures LED lights.[11]

National Agents Alliance held its NAA Leadership Conference on Sept. 11-14, 2008 and was the first convention held in the new center.[12]


In February 2023, the City of Raleigh announced a $425M expansion that will add 500,000 sqft of meeting space, a 50,000 sqft, and an additional capacity of 20,000 people. In addition, the Red Hat Amphitheater will be relocated and built in a more permanent style.[13]

Raleigh Convention Hotel and Downtown Development Project[edit]

In the late 2010s, the City of Raleigh would realize the lack of hotel space near the convention center and began a project to build a new hotel and office building next to the convention center. However, due to Covid, this project was put on hold, until it was resumed in summer of 2022. The city would then realize more need for residential spaces over office spaces in downtown and modified the plan to better accommodate this. The city is currently accepting design proposals and will select a plan sometime in 2023 with the project expected to be complete in 2028. While exact building heights are still unknown, based on conceptual renderings, it is expected that the hotel will rise to roughly 550 feet tall and the residential building will rise to roughly 800 feet tall.[14]

Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater[edit]

On June 4, 2010 the City opened the Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater adjacent to the Convention Center, which seats around about 6,000.[15] It got a sponsor name (Red Hat) in September 2012.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Twardy, Chuck (Aug 31, 2008). "Charming modesty: Raleigh's new convention center performs its job but calls little attention to itself". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "The Facility". Raleigh Convention Center. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  3. ^ "Raleigh Convention Center Acoustics". Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Raleigh's Convention Center Destroyed". abclocal.go.com. February 19, 2006. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  5. ^ Nielsen, Kim (September 13, 2002). "Convention Center site battle". Triangle Business Journal. Archived from the original on March 5, 2003. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  6. ^ "The long, winding road to a new center". The News & Observer. August 31, 2008. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Costs For Raleigh's New Convention Center Go Up Again". WRAL-TV. November 28, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  8. ^ deBruyn, Jason (April 19, 2013). "Despite losses, convention center officials maintain facility success". Triangle Business Journal. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "What's behind downtown Raleigh's 'Shimmer Wall'". ABC11.com. January 7, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  10. ^ Davies, Helen (September 9, 2021). "The Trendiest Shimmer Walls For Branding And Design". frontsigns.com. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  11. ^ "Shimmery Gift Given To Capital City". WRAL-TV. May 16, 2007. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  12. ^ "National Agents Alliance Holds First Conference in Raleigh's Convention Center" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  13. ^ The expansion will add 500,000 sqft of meeting space, including ~30 additional breakout rooms. A 50,000 sqft or 30,000 sqft “flex hall” will be added across the street from the RCC to host large events and breakout groups.
  14. ^ "Raleigh Convention Hotel and Downtown Development Project".
  15. ^ a b "Red Hat buys naming rights to Raleigh Amphitheater". WRAL-TV. September 4, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2021.

External links[edit]