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Convenient Location and Affordability Make Greater Ontario, California, a Prime Meetings Location

Ontario Convention Center exterior

Just 35 miles east of Los Angeles, Greater Ontario, consisting of the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, is often referred to as the “Gateway to Southern California” and offers a convenient alternative to groups sourcing the L.A. area in want of big-city amenities with a small-city feel. And while the region is within easy reach of L.A., it also presents a more affordable option for budget-conscious groups. 

Transportation is a major plus, too—Ontario has its own international airport, which is only a few miles from the convention center, and typically has less traffic than its bigger-city counterparts. Additionally, the Cucamonga Station is in the works, a “multimodal transportation hub” that is set to be a stop on the nation’s first true high-speed rail system, Brightline West, connecting Las Vegas to Southern California. From the Cucamonga Station, travelers will be able to access California Metrolink to key points in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and more. 

The railway will also bring major environmental benefits, with the fully electric, zero-emission system to soon become one of the greenest forms of transportation in the U.S. The station will also be home to commuter bus transit services and shuttles to and from Ontario International Airport.

Brightline West Rancho Cucamonga Station rendering
Brightline West Rancho Cucamonga Station rendering

Once in Greater Ontario, planners will find that venues are abound for many group sizes. The city of Ontario is home to the state-of-the-art Ontario Convention Center and other large venues like Toyota Arena, which houses 11,000 seats and can be used for private events in addition to its regular rotation of 125 events  annually, including performances, concerts and sporting events.

Also not far from the convention center is fan-favorite Topgolf, where attendees can unwind in an approachable golf atmosphere that caters to all skill levels and places a premium on interaction. 

Just two miles to the north, Rancho Cucamonga makes up the other part of the Greater Ontario area. Framed by the San Gabriel Mountains, Rancho Cucamonga is easily accessible from Ontario and opens up a variety of options for enjoying the outdoors.

[Related: Dream Big: California Leads the Way for Memorable Meetings]

Ontario Convention Center 

The Ontario Convention Center is undoubtedly one of the shining venues in the Greater Ontario area for groups. The contemporary facility offers 225,000 square feet of flexible, column-free exhibit space and meeting and prefunction space. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the building give way to mountain vistas, and the location of the convention center is hard to beat, sitting just two miles from Ontario International Airport, less than three miles from Toyota Arena and offering 6,000 hotel rooms nearby.

One of the shining stars at the Ontario Convention Center is its culinary offerings. The Greater Ontario region has a rich history in agriculture, so it’s no surprise that local food sourced from farmers in the area and custom menus are celebrated at the center. The award-winning catering team is led by Executive Chef Daly Cruz, who has been working in the culinary field since age 14. Whether a group has specific dietary restrictions or wants to explore regional or international cuisine, Cruz’s team can create menus for sit-down dinners, galas, casual gatherings or even offsite catering for special events.

The Great Outdoors in Greater Ontario

Rancho Cucamonga
Rancho Cucamonga

It’s hard to compete with the weather in Southern California. In Greater Ontario, you’ll find abundant sunshine and mild temperatures year-round and many ways to enjoy the beautiful climate. 

Within Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, there are a variety of outdoor activities for attendees to enjoy as a team or on their own before or after a meeting. 

The Pacific Electric Trail is a nearly 20-mile paved trail popular with road bikers, runners and walkers that offers scenic views of Greater Ontario. Active attendees can take to the trail for group exercise that is also an easy way to explore the local sights. Organized walks for a cause could also be organized here for groups that want to raise money to benefit charity.

LoanMart Field—home to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate—is an outdoor baseball park that is group-friendly. Group tickets can be purchased for 20 or more people and different sections of the field can be reserved for private events, like the suites or dugout decks. Pre-game picnics with your group can also be arranged at  the field. 

If the timeless game of golf is on the agenda, a course is within easy reach in Ontario. Whispering Lakes, a historic, city-owned course that hosted PGA tournaments in its heyday, can host tournaments and has outdoor space available for post-play events.

[Related: Opportunities in Laguna Beach, California, for Unique Meetings and Events]

Nearby Attractions to Greater Ontario

While groups might opt to meet in Greater Ontario because of its affordability and convenient location near an airport, that doesn’t mean some of Southern California’s most famous attractions aren’t within reach. On the contrary, Greater Ontario’s location and accessibility is one of its major benefits. The magic of Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is just an hour’s drive away. The wellness oasis Palm Springs is also nearby, clocking in at just over an hour’s drive. 

Greater Ontario is located in Cucamonga Valley, which used to be one of the oldest wine regions in the Inland Empire. While many of the wineries have since ceased to exist, three family-owned businesses remain, offering groups a chance to sample some SoCal grapes: 

  • Galleano Winery: Founded in 1927, this winery is the oldest prohibition-era winery in Cucamonga Valley and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers historic tours on Sundays and tastings Tuesdays-Sundays.
  • San Antonio Winery: In its Ontario location, San Antonio Winery offers tastings and can host private events in its Country Patio for 25-50 guests, with a personal wine bar and catered meals included. The original winery, located in Los Angeles, is the oldest-producing winery in L.A. The winery spread to grow grapes in Northern California’s Monterey County, Paso Robles and Napa Valley. Visitors to the Ontario tasting room can sample wine from all of these locations.
  • Joseph Filippi Winery: This fifth-generation Rancho Cucamonga family winery serves up wine tastings and regular Taco Tuesday fare, plus welcomes rotating food trucks for after-meetings fun. 

And finally, the famous stars and streets of Hollywood are within reach, too, along with all of its famous special event venues. For groups that want to venture to the iconic home base of the entertainment business, they only need to drive shy of one hour.

Read this next: All of the Latest Meetings and Events News in CaliforniaVisit California Logo


This article was produced in partnership with Visit California

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About the author
Danielle LeBreck | Senior Content Director

Danielle started at Meetings Today in March 2019 after seven years of editorial experience in the travel and food industries. She oversees all of the destination content for Meetings Today and collaborates with the team on digital content strategy and content marketing initiatives.