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7 Awesome Venues for GDC Parties in 2019

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is, as the name would suggest, a conference geared toward those who develop video games. It incorporates a wide array of activities and focuses: lectures, roundtables, tutorials with professionals, summits, an expo, and even awards shows (the Independent Games Festival, as well as the Game Developers Choice Awards, just to name a couple). The GDC has been going on longer than many similar conferences, with the first conference taking place in 1988. GDC is so popular that there’s even an affiliated GDC China, which happens annually in Shanghai.

The annual Game Developers Conference takes place in San Francisco⁠ — which makes sense, since the Bay Area is one of the world’s top tech hubs. It’s no surprise, then, that GDC welcomes thousands of attendees⁠ — 28,000 industry professionals in 2018, for instance! It’s held in the Moscone Convention Center, the city’s largest and and most well-known location for such events. The Moscone Center is located in the Yerba Buena neighborhood, which is part of the larger South of Market area. The convention center’s location is centrally located so that anyone who’s planning a nearby event has an incredible number of venue options to choose from. In this article, we’ll help you narrow this list down to seven unbeatable nearby venues for GDC parties. Browse the following list for guidance or perhaps just some inspo.

1. Artist’s sky loft with panoramic city views

artists sky loft with views sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

We doubt there’s anyone out there who doesn’t love a great view, so we’re starting our list off with this absolute gem ⁠— one of our favorite venues for GDC parties in San Francisco. From your perch in this 1,200-square-foot gem of a space in the NE Mission Arts District, you’ll see 180-degree views of the Mission, Downtown, and Twin Peaks. Whether you’re here during the day — when natural light abounds — or at night — when the city lights shine brightly — your party or other event will benefit enormously from the huge two-story windows. There’s also tons of fabulous contemporary artwork, as well as exclusive access to a deck, just in case you’d like a better view of the city.

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2. Mission loft creative studio and event venue

mission loft in san francisco
Source: Peerspace

There’s a reason this loft has been featured in videos and other media for big-name brands like Airbnb, Paypal, CNN, and many other modeling and video productions. It’s a picture-perfect space that’s like being in your home — but better. Recently renovated, the history of the 1908 Victorian building in which it resides gives the loft crucial character and depth. The rental includes use of assorted furniture, a Samsung TV, a lovely bathroom with a massive skylight, and much more. 

3. Castro speakeasy for company cocktails

castro speakeasy sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

Visitors enter this cozy and welcoming basement speakeasy through a hidden bookshelf⁠ — a fun and theatrical entrance that tends to really set the tone for the rest of the evening. Natural light and beautiful views are all well and good, but this space has a totally different vibe: intimate, warm, and totally cool. The space also incorporates a custom-made bar, unique lighting and artwork, and a Sonos sound system (since great music is crucial to a great event). We’d unquestionably call this another one of our top venues for GDC parties.

4. Bright yet simple SoMa gallery

Brilliant SoMa Gallery sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

This 2,400-square-foot gallery space can host as many as 80 people, and it includes two downstairs gallery rooms, plus an upstairs loft and lounge area overlooking the main space. Unique art is featured throughout the space, and there’s a flat-screen, as well as a projector, a great sound system, and a small prep kitchen to make catering a breeze. This space has been featured in quite a few photoshoots in the past, so you know the hosts have the space’s aesthetic down pat. And in terms of convenience, it can’t be beat: it’s only three blocks from the Moscone Center, and there’s a ton of parking right nearby!

5. Modern SoMa loft with gourmet kitchen and industrial finishes

modern SoMa loft sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

This former warehouse and factory combines clean, sleek design with a hint of industrial edge: there’s a huge wall of windows, polished concrete floors, new fixtures, and custom-built ins. The overarching feel of the space is modern and airy, with soaring 22-foot ceilings ⁠— there’s a reason the venue has been featured by numerous Instagram influencers. The open floor plan accommodates as many as 20 people within its 1,400 square feet. You and your guests are also sure to enjoy the designer chef’s kitchen, the ample bar area that’s perfect for preparing cocktails, and the array of comfortable yet stylish seating and other furnishings.

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6. Picturesque Potrero Hill garden pavilion

garden pavilion sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

For those who’d like to hold their event outside, this is another standout among venues for GDC parties. It’s a cozy and intimate space, with a 16 guest maximum. As the hosts describe it, “You will feel as though you have escaped to wine country”⁠ — this quiet vibe will be a welcome respite from the chaos of the Game Developers Conference. Imagine spending a full day at GDC, navigating crowds of hundreds of people, and attending challenging lectures, roundtables, and tutorials: you’re certain to be totally exhausted by the time you’re through! Whichever type of event you’re planning, ending the day in this sweet, relaxing garden pavilion is sure to be the mental reset that you and your guests need.

7. Sunny roof deck on Russian Hill

sunny rooftop deck sf san francisco rental
Source: Peerspace

Here’s another relaxing and intimate outdoor space! (Can you tell these are some of our favorites?) The recently remodeled roof deck accommodates 15 people and offers breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding city. There’s even a fire pit to keep things cozy if it gets a little cool out. And should the weather take a turn, there’s also plenty of indoor space. Reviewers call this venue “clean and bright,” “immaculate, super clean, and functional,” and “beyond perfect.” Because it’s enormously welcoming, past renters have included high-ticket companies like Google, Facebook, and Marc Jacobs, just to name a few. 

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