A special occasion calls for a special venue. The good news is that there’s no shortage of great places to hold your next event in Canberra. Whether you’re planning a wedding, milestone birthday, engagement party or corporate dinner, chances are there’s a function venue in Canberra to suit your needs and budget.
In this article, we’ll show you what to look for in a function venue and list some of Canberra’s best. Let’s get started.
What makes a great function venue?
From decorations to catering and seating arrangements, there’s a lot to consider when planning an event. Getting the basics right, and enlisting professional help at the start (like your venue’s events manager) can help ensure your special day is a success.
But what should you look for when choosing a function venue in Canberra? We recommend keeping the following points in mind.
- Location. Location will set the tone for your event, so choose carefully. Do you need a formal space for a corporate function, or a relaxed space with a cozy, intimate atmosphere? In addition to aesthetics, consider practical requirements like accessibility, parking and amenities. It’s all about making your guests’ experience as memorable as possible.
- Food and drinks. It’s no secret that delicious food and quality drinks make for happier guests. Many venues will have in-house chefs and catering staff, while others engage external caterers for events. Either way, they shouldn’t mind if you sample the menu beforehand – though it may cost extra. Read reviews to confirm the quality of the catering, and double check that the venue can cater to people with dietary requirements.
- Experience and reliability. With practice comes perfection. An experienced and reliable staff – from the manager to the caterers – will help your event run smoothly. From pre-event planning to handling problems on the day, an experienced staff will be able to put your mind at ease, allowing you to relax and enjoy your special occasion.
- A customised approach. Look for a function venue that is willing to customise your event to suit your needs and your vision. You shouldn’t feel pressured into adopting a cookie-cutter approach if that’s not your style.
The top function venues in Canberra – according to you
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.
Whether you’re planning a festive cocktail party, a formal dinner or a monthly board meeting, the evocative surroundings at the Town Centre Vikings are sure to impress.
With an abundance of natural light, the Athllon and Rowland Rooms are grand atmospheric spaces, ideally suited to cocktail style events, corporate banquets, wedding receptions and private events. For more intimate gatherings, the sweeping views of the Brindabella Mountains provide a comfortable and stylish atmosphere for private lunches or dinners within the Back of Baamoo, Private Dining Room.
Vikings Town Centre offers cocktail, platter, buffet, banquet and barbecue packages, as well as catering options for conferences.
With the refurbishments complete, a sparkling new look restaurant, bar and café and an extended lounge is ready to welcome members. Ample free parking is also available onsite.
Life-long memories are created over food and wine, and the Pavilion at picturesque Pialligo Estate is the ideal venue for celebrating life with family, friends and colleagues over a delicious meal.
The Pavilion, which is available to book every day of the week, is a light-filled casual dining space with full views across the Estate’s gardens and olive grove.
You can book individual tables, a private dining room, or reserve exclusive use of the entire dining area (suitable for over 300 guests). For larger groups, Pialligo Estate offers a sharing style menu featuring local seasonal produce, including those from its own gardens, smokehouse and vineyards.
The Pialligo Pavilion features long wooden banquet tables, marble dining tables, high ceilings, napery, crystal glassware, silver cutlery and artisan crockery. A PA system with cordless microphone (and access for music plug-in) is also available for speeches and announcements.
As with all Pialligo Estate venues, Pialligo Pavilion guests enjoy free onsite parking.
If you’d like your guests to enjoy fine food in a relaxed, nostalgic environment, Kingston’s OTIS Dining Hall could be the venue for you. It’s a hatted restaurant run by multi award-winning chef Damian Brabender, and it caters to both smaller and larger groups.
OTIS Dining Hall’s flexible group packages start at $45 per person for lunch and $60 per person for dinner. Its team works directly with you to tailor a menu that every guest will enjoy. Special dietary requests are catered to where ever possible.
Here’s what diner Gabriel had to say about their function experience: “After a small family wedding we had a banquet dinner at Otis and the food and service was flawless and done with great care. Damien (owner) personally made sure the menu was to our liking and made sure throughout the night to check in, all kindly and unobtrusively. We are very thankful.”
Whether you’re organising a birthday party, presentation evening, engagement party or wedding reception, Vikings Lanyon in Conder has a function package to match. Suitable for up to 260 guests, you can choose from catering options including cocktail, set menu, buffet and morning/afternoon tea.
Vikings Lanyon is a popular function venue for many reasons: free parking, spacious function rooms, flexible package options and professional events team.
Here’s what visitor Drenko had to say about their experience at Vikings Lanyon on Google Reviews: “Out of the 4 Vikings clubs, this one is easily the best. Best beers on tap, big projector screen for the sport, multiple sitting/lounge areas with different decoration, sports bar downstairs, bistro does some good food… Classic local club vibe.”
Pialligo Fields at Pialligo Estate might be new, but the team behind the multi-purpose space know exactly how to bring your next private sit-down function or sophisticated yet informal cocktail event to life.
Pialligo Fields offers the highest quality bar food (think Japanese popcorn chicken with wasabi kewpie, award-winning Pialligo Estate bacon cheeseburger sliders, or crispy fried school prawns with mayonnaise and lemon*) and drinks. A Gintonica station is available by request, where you can design your ultimate gin experience from start to finish from your gin, to your bubbles and botanicals.
Craft beers are available on tap, there is plenty of room on the lawns for kids to play, and there are even firepits to keep you warm on chilly Canberra evenings.
Pialligo Fields is open for event bookings every day, dependent on times and availability, and is suitable for anywhere between 18 and 300 guests.
*Menu is subject to change
The National Gallery of Australia, or NGA, hosts events including wedding ceremonies and receptions, conferences, annual general meetings and workshops. From the majestic and multi-purpose Gandel Hall (up to 900 guests) to the intimate Sculpture Garden pavilion (up to 140 guests), its team can help turn your next big moment into an unforgettable experience.
Catering for all NGA functions is provided exclusively by The Big Group Hospitality Agency, a dynamic leader in the catering and events industry.
Just minutes from the Parliamentary Triangle, acclaimed galleries and the CBD, Pialligo Estate is nestled in a private and peaceful setting on one of Canberra’s first working farm properties. If you’re planning a larger event or celebration, the Glasshouse at Pialligo Estate – an open space of beauty and tranquillity surrounded by lush garden – could be the perfect choice.
With capacity for 350 guests, the Glasshouse is an inspiring space filled with rich natural light and is complete with rustic wooden furniture, long banquet tables and chandeliers. It is truly a one-of-a-kind venue in the nation’s capital.
Your guests may enjoy exclusive use of the Glasshouse lawn and deck, fresh menus and wine selections that showcase local seasonal produce, personalised printed menus and beverage lists, complimentary onsite parking, air conditioning and underfloor heating.
Plus, you’ll benefit from working with Pialligo Estate’s dedicated events curator if you wish, who is committed to creating bespoke events tailored to suit your needs. They have a unique range of entertainment add-ons, just for starters!
If you want to host a truly unique event – from a bespoke garden soiree, a product launch with pizzazz or a long table lunch in the orchard – Outstanding in the Field at Pialligo Estate is the venue for you.
Pialligo Estate’s talented events curation team are ready to help you delight your guests; the only limit is the breadth of your imagination. From 10 to 1000 guests, Outstanding in the Field has the space for you to entertain in any style that takes your fancy.
Need some inspiration? Have a look at Pialligo Estate’s entertainment add-ons to discover what might be possible. Options include croquet and rosé, gin and golf, lawn games, Insider Guides with their experts or even High Cheese, just to name a few! Or, have a chat to Pialligo Estate’s events curator to find out how you can create a bespoke event that is perfectly tailored to your celebration.
Pialligo Estate’s newest restaurant space, the Market Grill, showcases produce simply and respectfully. Working with three South Coast fishing boats, the Market Grill serves the freshest catches of the day alongside Pialligo Estate’s famous meats, smokehouse goods and fresh produce.
With charcoal and wood cooking at its finest, everything prepared in the Market Grill kitchen is meticulously sourced, lovingly prepared and simply kissed with flame.
Market Grill’s Kitchen Table seats eight guests right in the kitchen so you can watch the magic happen. You can also enjoy your meal in luxurious comfort in the restaurant. Private dining is available for groups of between 18 and 40 guests, or you can book the entire restaurant (banquet-style) for up to 58 guests.
Market Grill is an ideal venue for private celebrations like birthdays, as well as corporate dinners and even small wedding receptions. It is open for event bookings every day of the week.
Located in the heart of Canberra, Canberra Rex Hotel’s versatile function venues (seven meeting rooms and two ballrooms) are suitable for weddings, board meetings, conferences, banquets and celebrations. Whether you need a space for five people or 600, it has a space to suit.
Canberra Rex Hotel provides personalised service for all events. It also offers comprehensive and value-for-money packages, with catering taken care of in-house by its own executive chef.
Boasting sweeping views, forest spaces and award-winning architecture, the National Arboretum Canberra is an ideal location for your next event. Choose from picturesque indoor and outdoor venues including the village centre, the Margaret Whitlam pavilion, the bonsai garden, the discovery garden or the events terrace.
Ginger Catering is the exclusive catering provider for all National Arboretum Canberra events. Its venue and events team has extensive experience in all kinds of functions and will guide you through the entire planning process.
The National Museum of Australia is a memorable and versatile setting for any occasion. With a range of grand indoor and outdoor spaces, sweeping decks and expansive windows with mountain, lake and city views, it’s an ideal location for weddings, engagement celebrations, corporate functions and cocktail events.
Catering is provided by three-time winner of ACT Wedding Caterer of the Year Broadbean Catering & Events.
Here’s what function guest Garth had to say about their experience at the National Museum of Australia on Google Reviews: “I attended NMA for a function. Broadbean catering were nothing beyond exceptional. Ben and Leslie lead their team in a friendly, efficient and high professional manner. It was a glorious night and the function staff were phenomenal!”
Situated on private parklands with stunning views of Lake Burley Griffin through floor-to-ceiling windows, The Boathouse is a private and picturesque venue for your next private event or corporate function. It has three conference rooms, a multi-award winning fine dining restaurant, and a talented kitchen and service team that knows exactly how to keep functions running smoothly.
Hotel Realm Canberra is an award-winning function venue conveniently located in the Parliamentary Triangle. From the national ballroom (up to 800 guests) to architecturally-designed function rooms, your guests can enjoy a range of world-class facilities in a sophisticated and chic environment.
Hotel Realm is a popular venue for weddings, board meetings, conferences, trade shows and awards nights. Part of its appeal is the easy parking – there are over 800 car parks in the Realm Precinct for hotel meeting delegates and event guests.
If you’d like your next event to have a touch of opulence, Hyatt Hotel Canberra could be the venue for you. It offers some of the most luxurious meeting and event venues available for hire in Canberra – from intimate gatherings for 14 guests through to gala events for up to 600 guests.
Hyatt Hotel Canberra has its own event management team (including a dedicated wedding team) to take the stress out of the planning process. It will work with you to ensure that your event matches your vision, help coordinate vendors, and even customise menus to suit your theme.
Your experience with function venues in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the function venues listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.