The listing of the Top 25 Convention Centers by MeetingSource.com feature desirable destinations that attract both business and vacation travelers. To gain a spot in the Top 25, cities’ convention space was ranked based on square footage and level of activity. Here are five of these major convention cities that do a terrific job at offering enviable attractions.
Planning the pleasure portion of your trip to the Cradle of Modern America might feel awkward, like you were going on a history class field trip, but do indulge yourself. This is the birthplace of the American Revolution. There are loads of historical landmarks, cobblestone walkways to meander and colonial style architecture to take advantage of.
Start with taking a stroll on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile brick-lined route that features 16 historic landmarks of the American Revolution. Among them is Boston Common, the oldest city park in the U.S., then a short stroll away is the Benjamin Franklin Statue, Paul Revere’s House and the “One if by land, and two if by sea” Old North Church.
A jewel of the town is the Charles River which after 80 miles finally feeds into the Atlantic Ocean at Boston Harbor. It separates the city from Cambridge. Walkers, cyclists and joggers are big fans of its Bike Path, running 20+ miles from the Museum of Science and passing the campuses of MIT, Harvard and Boston University. A great spot to picnic and let the kids play for hours is the Esplanade. You’ll see marshes, geese, playgrounds, and find places to rent sail boats.
Of the many festivals held at the lush green park are the Cambridge Arts River Festival and the Charles River Music Festival.
When in Seattle on business, be sure to include some history in your trip with a visit to the Boeing Factor Tour and Gallery where you can watch 747s, 777s or 787s being assembled. At its South Field lies the Museum of Flight, one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Enjoy the Red Barn, Boeing Co.’s original manufacturing facility as well as over 150 air- and spacecraft which show the history of aviation.
Drop by the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibiton showcasing the brightly colored studio glass works of contemporary glass sculptor and Tacoma native, Dale Chihuly. You’ll be impressed with his technical skill and feel buoyed by its exquisite and dynamic artistry.
Next, drive to where Seattle’s Waterfront meets Downtown – Pike Place Market. It’s filled with artisans, local artists and quirky shops and the very first Starbucks store launched there in 1971. The Waterfront boasts gorgeous views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Young and old alike will enjoy the view from the top of the gondola in a 10 to 20 minute ride on the Waterfront Ferris Wheel.
From the Waterfront, take advantage of the Washington State Ferries for a trip across Puget Sound to possibly Bainbridge Island or over to Bremerton to see the Navy Ship Yards and more. Car ferries allow you to take your car with you on your travels across the Sound. Enjoy the view and mill around with other visitors while watching busy tankers, freighters and tug boats on the Sound.
So you have a business trip in Austin. The first thing that comes to mind is the incredible, live music scene known around the world. The many music festivals include SXSW, an annual music and film festival in March; ACL, which features the music of Austin and other regional and national acts on 6 stages for 3 days at Zilker Park, a 351 acre dog-friendly park with a beautiful view of downtown Austin; and Reggae Fest, a 3 day event of Reggae music at Auditorium Shores in April.
Arguably the best known street in Texas is the seven blocks of Austin’s Historic 6th Street, the heart of the city’s entertainment and nightlife. Revitalized historic buildings and homes dating from the 1800s and early 1900s now house restaurants, live music venues, bars, art galleries and tattoo parlors. Whatever your musical inclinations – jazz, blues, country, hip hop, rock or punk, you’ll find them in spades at 6th Street. The eclectic crowd mixes UT students, business folk, locals, tourists and even celebrities in this dynamic area. Pedi-cabs are always available to help navigate the crowds and avoid parking hassles.
Knowing Austin is a Food Truck Mecca, one has to decide, where do we begin? Let’s start with the Top Ranked food trucks. If you are craving a real barbeque experience, track down Slab BBQ for a quick, delicious and authentic meal. For Detroit-style pizza in Texas, choose VIA 313. Before searching for a Torchy’s Tacos truck, visit their website and take a “taco personality” test that will help you decide which taco is perfect for you! These tacos come via trucks of course, as well as a few locations in the South Austin Trailer Park. Mmmpanadas offers a variety of freshly baked-from-scratch empanadas for a mere $3.50 each.
Let’s face it. You are darn lucky if you get to have a business trip to San Diego. This major Southern California city is simply one of the best places to visit, no matter how much time you have. Located near the California-Mexico border, San Diego has much to offer in the way of arts, museums, parks and marvelous beaches to enjoy any time of the year.
Enjoy being on the water by taking a Harbor Tour of San Diego Bay. Relax while enjoying a narrated tour of the sights with your family or friends.
Visit La Jolla, known as the Beverly Hills of San Diego. With its beaches next to rugged cliffs and full of marine life, La Jolla Cove and its La Jolla Shores offer gentle waves and excellent training for new scuba divers. At Windansea Beach you can either surf or marvel at the surfers’ talents and persistence. Torrey Pines Golf Course gives you a championship golfing experience atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. World-class shopping abounds in this sea-side village of La Jolla, with the most luxurious brands as well as everyday values and one-of-a-kind boutiques.
Be sure to visit LEGOLAND California in nearby Carlsbad before your children get too old for the fun. A perfect place for kids aged toddler to 10, it is home to more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, much of which are made from LEGO bricks. The cleanliness of the park makes it a nice place for small children.
Known as the World Famous San Diego Zoo, you can see Anacondas, Andean Bears and Arctic Foxes, and that’s just the “A” animals. Ride the Skyfari or take a guided bus tour of the expansive 100-acre park. Over 3,700 rare and endangered animals are featured.
Along the 70 miles of coastline are the highly desirable and well-loved Mission Beach, Coronado Beach, Imperial Beach and Pacific Beach, among others, each with its own unique personality.
Remember, wherever your business travel takes you, with just a bit of research you can find fun things to do!