The Midwest has always been an excellent choice for meetings and events of all shapes and sizes. From charming small towns to bustling big cities and everything in between, you're sure to find a venue that perfectly meets your needs. Plus, there are endless dining and entertainment options throughout the region.
Ranking in the top 100 small towns in the USA (livablility.com) and a finalist for the Voice of the People Award for Excellence in Mobility, Lindsborg, KS, offers both walkability and atmosphere for conference guests. "Pairing excellent conference services with enjoyable programming and outings for guests that are provided through a partnership with local retailers, conference guests leave feeling refreshed, looking forward to a next visit," said Holly Lofton, Lindsborg CVB Director.
In the spring of 2016, the Swan Barn Door event facility will be added to the list of diverse venues available in Wisconsin Dells. Tifani Jones, Director of Sales, Wisconsin Dells VCB said, "There's a renewed interest in adding an element of nature to meetings and conventions. An offsite reception at the Swan Barn Door or Dells Boat Tours Cold Water Canyon Pavilion are both great ways to incorporate a natural setting."
Door County in Wisconsin is helping planners get back to nature as well. Laura Bradley, CTA, Door County VB Marketing and Sales Manager shared that after some renovations, About Thyme Farm opened its doors as an event and wedding venue in Baileys Harbor this year. The property's max capacity is 250 guests and offers the perfect picturesque setting for any event. Garden Gables, a historic Door County farm, offered 5 beautiful acres of space for events big and small. The property opened its doors to events in 2014 and offers a charming, rustic setting.
Meet Minneapolis has launched Minneapolis in 24 Hours, an online quiz that lets meeting planners find out what they would do with just one day in Minneapolis. According to Matt Laible, Manager, Communications & PR, to help more planners get to know Minneapolis as a meeting and events destination, a select number of planners who take the quiz will be eligible to receive a 24-hour trip to experience the flavor of the city. The quiz results lead to itineraries custom built to your interests, allowing you to learn about the aspects of Minneapolis you'll find most intriguing regardless of what types of meetings you plan.
If you're meeting in Indiana, consider Brown County. Suzanne Vornholt, Brown County CVB Visitor Services and Sales Manager, shared that Bear Wallow Distillery, Indiana's first true distillery, offers group tours daily with tastings. Don't miss the Hillbilly Footwash, an experience to behold. Soak your feet in a barrel filled with a hillbilly concoction of bath salts, then apply the special Hillbilly sugar scrub, and you will feel energized to hit the street running for more exploring.
According to Sara Brish, Stevens Point Area CVB Executive Director, Midwest Renewable Energy Association's home office, called the Renew the Earth Institute, is used throughout the year as a site for hands-on workshops focusing on renewable energy topics. The location, nested in the hills just east of sevens Point, is a great place to explore, offering tours Monday through Friday. Brish advises planners to not overlook other unique spaces for your event. Central Waters Brewing Company, Wisconsin's First Green Powered Brewery, along with three other breweries, two wineries, and a distillery, are all part of the Central Wisconsin Craft Collective offering great (and tasty) stops - O'so Brewing Company and Great Northern Distilling in Plover, the Stevens Point Brewery and Sunset Point Winery in Stevens Point, and the Kozy Yak Brewing Company and Fresar Winery in Rosholt.
New meeting venues and hotels are springing up and old ones are receiving facelifts in Lincoln, NE. Since 2013, three hotels have opened their doors in the Haymarket District. The Courtyard by Marriott, a 155 room hotel, features 2,800 square feet of meeting space. Across the street from the Courtyard is the new Hilton Garden Inn. Opened in August 2013, this 104 room hotel offers 2,450 square feet of meeting space and is just two blocks from the newly constructed Pinnacle Bank Arena. Lastly, Hyatt Place, the newest hotel in Lincoln, is an extension of The Railyard Entertainment District offering 111 hotel rooms and 2,000 square feet of meeting space. This summer, three additional hotels opened including a Hampton Inn, TownePlace Suites by Marriott and Best Western. Five additional hotels are slated to open in 2016.
St. Cloud has a lot of new and exciting businesses opening this season. From restaurants and breweries, to stores and personal businesses, St. Cloud and the surrounding area is forever growing and changing. New restaurants include Quarks American Bento (fast, fresh, healthy whole food style), Red Robin, JL Beer’s, 7 West Taphouse, and Spice (a South Asian style). Businesses like H&M, Beaver Island Brewing Co., Bad Habit Brewing Company, Rolling Ridge Event Center, Integration CrossFit, a new parking ramp providing over 400 additional stalls for River’s Edge Convention Center, and many others have also graced the area.
2015 marks the debut of the newly-renovated Hotel Breakers in Sandusky, OH. Located along the mile-long Cedar Point Beach, Hotel Breakers has completed its two-year transformation into the ultimate resort destination. Along with a new exterior, the modernized hotel has a new entrance portal, classic interior finishes, and newly furnished and remodeled rooms. Groups visiting Cedar Point in 2015 will have the option to have their meal or event in the new Lakeside Pavilion. Nestled along the boardwalk with panoramic views of Lake Erie, the Lakeside Pavilion features covered meeting space for groups of 50 or more.
New developments in Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN, include the Courtyard by Marriott which is undergoing a major renovation set to be complete later this year. They are adding a conference center with the capacity of 300 people as well as added outdoor patio space equipped for a tent that will hold 400 people which can be video conferenced to have a meeting of 700 people. Marriott TownePlace Suites is currently undergoing a $600,000 renovation to be complete later this year or early 2016 and Hampton Inn is undergoing a 1 million dollar renovation. A new Bed and Breakfast, Whittaker Inn, is being planned and is expected to open in Spring of 2016. Plans initially call for 15-18 sleeping rooms and event space for 40 people.
The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne is Northeast Indiana's largest multi-purpose event venues, and it's about to get bigger. The Memorial Coliseum is building a new 27,000 sq. ft. conference center, bringing the total amount of meeting space to over 1 million sq. ft. The conference center will open January 2016.
The Milwaukee Marriott West in Waukesha recently renovated and has a new state-of-the-art event space ideal for special events, business meetings conferences and tradeshows. For visitors and groups that enjoy wine, several new wine bars have opened this year in Waukesha. Crush Wine Bar offers special events and tastings with a wide variety of options. Spring City Wine House offering wine stations to experience over 40 varieties of wines at smaller sizes as well as tasting events for small groups. Brand new to Waukesha is a craft beer establishment Raised Grain Brewing Company that offers eight crafted beers, plus more in development for beer lovers to try. The company has 4000 sq. ft space that can be rented for business events.