A city center is a perfect place to host a meeting or major corporate event–but they’re not all created equal. Every downtown area in the United States has its unique perks and pitfalls of which to be aware. Luckily, Smart Meetings recently examined 26 slick urban destinations primed for exciting events. Here are a few of the highlights:
Home to the 1893 World’s Fair, Chicago has always been a jewel of the midwest. Today, the Windy City boasts Wrigley Field, The Art Institute, and the breathtaking Chicago Riverwalk, in between which are nestled excellent dining and unique venues such as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, located just steps away from beautiful Lake Michigan.
Resting on the banks of the Ohio River, event attendees in Cincinnati can stop for coffee at the Contemporary Arts Center and explore Over-the-Rhine’s pre-Prohibition beer tunnels before networking at a historic microbrewery. It’s even easier than ever to get around thanks to Cincinnati’s new bike-share program, walkable neighborhoods, and the launch of the Cincinnati Streetcar in Fall 2015.
Recently named Zagat’s Top Food City in the US, Pittsburgh offers much more than just world class dining. The accessibility of the city makes it easy for your event attendees to catch a Penguins, Steelers, or Pirates game at PNC Park– Not a sports fan? Not a problem. Pittsburgh offers the famous Andy Warhol and Carnegie Museums for art and history lovers alike.
4. San Diego
With the airport just minutes away from downtown, San Diego is one of the most accessible cities for your event attendees. The vibrant downtown offers ferry rides to scenic Coronado, and hundreds of bars and speakeasies so that your attendees can let loose after a day at one of San Diego’s beautiful hotel venues or convention centers.
“Everything’s bigger in Texas” doesn’t begin to describe Austin’s brand new hotels– the 1,012-room JW Marriott, and the 1,068-room Fairmont (coming in 2017). Named the #1 City in the USA for Tech Growth by Forbes, Austin hosts the headquarters of Apple, IBM and Google. Looking for a real Texan experience? Not to worry. Austin is also known for their 250+ live music venues and their “no-nonsense” attitude when it comes to their cowboy boots and barbeque.
Downtown Denver’s compact and walkable district is not only home to the second largest performing arts center in the nation, but will become the new home of a light-rail connection directly to Denver Airport in 2016. Over 300 restaurants, 100 breweries, and more than 9,000 rooms to host your attendees are within walking distance to the Colorado Convention Center, make the Mile High City one of the most enjoyable and accessible for your event.
7. Washington, D.C.
Minutes from Reagan National Airport and steps to the White House, Washington D.C. is as historic as it is accessible. Attendees can catch a show at the Kennedy Center, enjoy a cruise on the Potomac, have a cocktail overlooking the city, or enjoy a walk down the National Mall. The abundance of beautiful hotels, large scale convention centers, and unique venues, such as the Smithsonian, make D.C. an ideal location for your next event.