Minneapolis Meeting Venues: Creating Memorable Moments

Minneapolis Convention Center

It’s no secret that one of our favorite places to visit is the storied City of Lakes. Lying on the upper Mississippi River where its only major natural waterfall is located, Minneapolis is the Upper Midwest’s thriving, vital hub. The city is a natural jewel, with the river, numerous lakes, and parkland. But it also has many cultural attractions, making it an attractive spot to meet. We love helping you folks find appropriate settings for your corporate retreats, conferences, and more. So here is a smattering of Minneapolis meeting venues to help your next event be memorable.

Minneapolis Convention Center

Let’s start with the biggest space in town: Minneapolis’s Convention Center is conveniently located on the south edge of downtown, linked to other hotels and businesses via the Skyway, a network of climate-controlled bridges over city streets. No need to “dress for the weather” to get here! The Convention Center contains “1.6 million square feet of space including a 3,400 fixed-seat auditorium, 475,000 square feet of exhibit space, 87 meeting rooms, a 28,000-square-foot ballroom and a 55,000-square-foot ballroom.” We got acquainted with this awesome space when we attended Connect Marketplace in August 2023.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall

Located adjacent to photogenic Peavey Plaza a few blocks from the convention center, the Minnesota Orchestra Hall became the first performing arts center in the country to achieve a LEED v4 O+M Silver certification. The hall features six customizable event spaces, including its Grand Foyer, a high-ceiling, multi-tiered space with abundant natural light. Corporate Meetings, Events & Conferences are a great fit for the Hall, as they can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 2,000 attendees and feature on-site beverage service, with access to local caterers.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall

Walker Art Center

Located in Loring Park, a rise just southwest of downtown, this contemporary art museum is renowned for its extensive and varied collection. The Walker also provides numerous opportunities to host a meeting large or small. They provide flexible spaces including “a theater, street-level and roof-top terraces, plazas, gardens, and lounges.” An added perk is that event space rental includes free gallery admission and a private exhibition tour. Oh yeah, during the warmer months they have mini-golf! And you’ll be right next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, home of the famed Spoonbridge and Cherry. (You can rent out the gardens as well, but it needs to be done via the Minneapolis Park Board.)

Spoonbridge and Cherry at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at Walker Art Center

Other Interesting Venues

Located on the far east side of town in a former industrial zone, Surly Brewing is one of Minnesota’s largest breweries. Not only is Surly a purveyor of tasty beers (and tasty New Haven style pizza, a style we heartily approve of), but their taproom provides a great meeting space. Scheid Hall is located above the main tap room and hold 175 people. Surly also provides a tented space in the beer garden during the nicer months with a capacity of 120 people. And Surly will provide all food and drink for your event, whether it be a meeting, corporate retreat, or wedding. Also, Surly is a stop on Minneapolis Trolley’s Hop-On, Hop-Off brews cruise. After a meeting at Scheid Hall, you can tour the city’s other great breweries!

We’ll close out this blog post with a world-renowned nightclub, First Avenue and Seventh Street Entry. How renowned? Well, Prince filmed most of Purple Rain’s performance scenes here! Located on the edge of downtown, First Avenue has been hosting many legendary performers over the past 40 years. The 22,000 square-foot facility includes two levels, two rooms, a 1,000 square-foot dance floor, and a stage. Perhaps First Avenue can host your next special event?

Getting There/Getting Around

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is located about 10 miles south of downtown, featuring non-stop flights from most major American cities. The airport is connected to downtown via Metro Blue Line light rail. Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which connects the Twin Cities to Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, stops at Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, 10 miles east of downtown Minneapolis. Metro Green Line links Union Depot to downtown Minneapolis. The two light rail lines and Metro Transit’s extensive bus network will get you to most Twin Cities destinations. We find that getting around by bike is the best option, as Minneapolis has a great network of on-and-off street bike facilities. Hop on a bike share bike provided by Lime and explore the town.

We hope that you found this post informative, and that it helps you when sourcing Minneapolis meeting venues. If you need any help planning your Minneapolis Corporate Meeting, Event or Conference, EJP Events is here to assist!

AIDS educational conference

Emee (r) with Anca Trifan of Tree-Fan Events the symposium

Last fall we had the opportunity to assist with a AIDS educational conference held here in Portland. This conference provided opportunities to exchange the latest scientific perspectives, research findings, and emerging technologies for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. As we mentioned before, we love working with educational organizations.

The bulk of the conference consisted of researchers presenting their research papers. There was also an area where people could see posters about other research projects that would not be presented live.

Attendees were treated to a diverse range of presentations at this week long event. The time spent together fostered collaboration and inspired a collective commitment to eradicate AIDS.

We provided pre-event planning and consultation, administrative support, marketing of the conference to attendees, and trade show planning. We also provided final coordination, onsite registration and help desk, and onsite event coordination. Our partner Tree-Fan Events provided the livestream to participants who could not be here in person.

And we’d be happy to work with you on your next conference, whether it be an AIDS educational conference or something else. Please get in touch!

Revving Up the Fun Factor: Strategizing a Corporate Retreat in Park City

The Park City Free Trolley is a great way for guests to get around the city.

Planning an event in Park City? Last time we talked about event planning in Salt Lake City and mentioned one did not need to go to the mountains to have a good time. But what if you do want to go to “the mountains”?

Nestled in the Wasatch Range, the westernmost reach of the Rocky Mountains, Park City is the high-elevation playground of Utah and much of the West. The former mining town was “discovered” in the 1980’s by people attracted to its natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation. Park City became world-famous with the Sundance Film Festival, a yearly event that attracts the rich and famous. And the area’s famous and abundant snow entice skiers and snowboarders from all over–in fact, the US Ski Team is based here!

We lead retreats

We just facilitated a corporate retreat in Park City, a gathering for chief technology officers who wanted to get together to not only learn from each other, but also enjoy the fine powdery snow the city is renowned for. This event was a success! And Park City was chosen as a destination due to its proximity to Salt Lake City. Utah’s capital and largest city’s international airport makes getting to Park City via air much easier (and cheaper!) than other mountain town destinations like Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, or Aspen.

Park City Event Venues

A theater/ballroom at Deer Valley that can accommodate a couple hundred people.
Photo from their website

Deer Valley Resort. Rising on the mountains above Park City, this resort consists of two lodges with sleeping rooms that total 425 (The Lodges at Deer Valley and Silver Baron), plus three day lodges (Snow Park, Silver Lake, Empire Canyon). With many different rooms and restaurants available across the properties, we see Deer Valley as a great spot for either an intimate retreat or for a conference of several hundred people. Do note that the Deer Valley ski areas do not allow snowboarding, so if you have a lot of boarders in your group, plan accordingly and possibly use the free trolley or lodge shuttles to get folks into town to the Town Lift.

Wasatch Brewing in Park City. We mentioned Wasatch in our Salt Lake City roundup, but Park City has its own location as well, located right in the heart of the city on Main St. There are two different private venues, The Loft Bar (capacity 60/125 depending on sit-down or cocktail style) and The Tap Room (capacity 30/40), located on the pub’s second floor.

These glass “pods” at Montage Deer Valley make a romantic place for a engagement proposal!

Montage Deer Valley. High above Park City, Montage offers rooms from a couple hundred to several thousand square feet, great for meetings, special events, and weddings. One room even has a bowling alley!

The Church of Dirt. We hate using the overused descriptor “unique” when describing a location, but we feel it deserves it in this instance. Located near the top of Empire Pass, this is a simple outdoor space with a few rows of wooden benches and an altar created by lashing branches together. There are no other amenities. To reserve a date, write your name and wedding date on a rock or piece of wood and stick it in the pile of other “reservations”. That’s it. What you get is an epic backdrop for your wedding! This video gives a good overview of the “church”.

A word about elevation

We mentioned Utah’s byzantine liquor laws in our Salt Lake City write-up. What’s worth mentioning about Park City is how high up it is. The base elevation in town is around 7,000 feet (2,130 metres). That’s a couple thousand feet higher than Salt Lake, and probably several thousand feet higher than what you are used to. The ski resorts are even a thousand or more feet higher than that 7,000 feet. Acclimating to this high elevation can take time. The lower oxygen levels may make the simple feat of walking up a hill seem Herculean. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you are there in summer. And don’t overdo your drinking!

We hope that you found this post to be informative. And we hope it helps you find the right venue for planning an event in Park City!

An Educational Conference

A little while back we had the opportunity to work with a great non-profit on an educational conference at University Place Hotel and Conference Center. We love helping with conferences!

This conference was a resounding success, with participants from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise coming together to share knowledge and collaborate on new ideas. Attendees engaged in thought-provoking discussions on a range of topics. The conference featured engaging keynote speakers, interactive workshops, and ample opportunities for networking, allowing attendees to build meaningful connections and gain new insights into their work. Overall, the educational conference provided a valuable platform for people to come together, learn from one another, and work towards a common goal.

Planning an event in Eugene, Oregon

A person looks down from a balcony into a large event space with people standing and mingling around cocktail tables, a stage, and a bar. Perfect for planning an event in Eugene, Oregon.
The Grand Hall at Venue 252. Photo from their website.

Planning an event in Eugene, Oregon? We recently had the opportunity to visit Eugene, Oregon, the state’s second-largest city for a trade show so we have several fresh ideas for you. Sitting at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is about 120 miles (195 km) south of Portland, an easy two hour drive, that is if traffic on Interstate 5 isn’t bad. But you don’t have to sit in traffic if you don’t want to–there is convenient Amtrak train and bus service, with several trips daily. That is how we traveled for this recent trip! And because Eugene is a city known for its numerous cultural activities, brewpubs, and bikeability, it’s a good place to hold an event. Here is a selection of Eugene Oregon event venues for you to peruse.

Venue 252. Operated by local natural grocery chain Market of Choice, this venue bills itself as “your event venue for weddings, fundraisers, trade shows and more.” Located just outside of downtown and close to Eugene’s Amtrak station, this 20,000 sq. ft. venue can accommodate up to 770 seated guests or 1,285 standing.

The Barrow. This community-minded venue is also located close to Eugene’s Amtrak station and consists of two buildings adjacent to each other. The Mahonia and Stellaria Community Rooms can hold up to 50 people, while the Stellaria Board Room can seat 25. Each building (Mahonia and Stellaria) have rentable common kitchens. We can see The Barrow as being perfect for planning an event in Eugene, Oregon for small gatherings, workshops, meetings, and the like.

A person walks through a hotel lobby at the Graduate Hotel in Eugene, Oregon. There are trade show booths set up on either side of the lobby.
The lobby at Graduate Eugene, set up for a trade show

Graduate Eugene. The Graduate is a chain of hotels that operate properties in many college towns across the US. (We visited their Berkeley location in 2019.) Conveniently located just two blocks from Eugene’s Amtrak station, The Graduate boasts its own Conference Center. The Center has spaces such as the Playwright’s Hall (11,620 sq. ft./capacity 1,400), the lobby which can hold 800 people, a suite of smaller event rooms that can hold 125 to 350 people, breakout rooms, and board rooms. To top it off (pardon the pun), there is the 3,700 sq. ft. Vista Ballroom and Rooftop space which according to The Graduate is perfect for “small weddings, company retreats, and family reunions.”

Barrel Room at Hop Valley Brewing. Eugene is renowned for their beer scene. There are numerous brewpubs and tasting rooms in town, many located in the Whiteaker neighborhood to the west of downtown. This is where you’ll find Hop Valley’s Barrel Room. This private room can accommodate 10 to 100 people, with additional patio space reservable if needed. Hop Valley bills this space as appropriate for “birthday parties and company events to non-profit fundraisers and monthly meetings for your club or organization”. And you’ll be able to sample Hop Valley’s tasty beers and food from their pub menu!

Image of chairs and tables set up in a wood-floored, high-ceilinged ballroom at the University of Oregon. If you're planning an event in Eugene, Oregon, you can't skip the University of Oregon!
Here is U of O's Ballroom at Erb Memorial Union, Photo from their website.
If you’re planning an event in Eugene, Oregon, you can’t skip the University of Oregon!
Here is U of O’s Ballroom at Erb Memorial Union, Photo from their website.

University of Oregon. Lastly, we could not forget to mention the place that Eugene is most known for! The University of Oregon has numerous spaces available, large and small. This would be a perfect venue for a planning an event in Eugene, Oregon; especially a very large one.

We hope that you found this post to be informative and hope it helps you find the right Eugene, Oregon event venue for you!

Revisiting Boise Event Venues

JUMP Center

In September 2022, the EJP Events team found ourselves in Boise, Idaho again, this time to take part in Connect Northwest. This was our second time in Boise for business, we were also there in September 2021. We wrote a blog post about Boise event venues back then, and it still has a lot of good information. Thinking about event locations in Boise, Idaho? Here are some more event venues we discovered!

JUMP Center

“JUMP” stands for “Jack’s Urban Meeting Place”, Jack being J. R. (Jack) Simplot, the founder of Idaho based potato processor Simplot Industries. Originally envisioned as a museum for his tractor collection after he passed away in 2008, JUMP evolved to a hybrid indoor/outdoor event space based around a park with: “an outdoor amphitheater, sweeping terraces, rooftop parks, meeting areas, play areas, and all with unique views of the city and the surrounding mountains.” (Oh yeah, there’s still vintage tractors!) JUMP will rent space for events that “create an environment for inspiring human potential”. This means it’s a perfect spot for non-profit conferences or meetings. A variety of indoor (their Pioneer Room is 3,790 sq. ft.) and outdoor (like their Loft deck) spaces can be rented. Oh yeah, they also have a giant five-story slide! (Emee really wants to try it.)

The JUMP Slide (from their website)

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Most people do all that they can to stay out of jail. But what if it’s a fortress-like edifice that hasn’t been an active prison in years? The Old Idaho State Penitentiary was an active reformatory for a century, but it has not seen prisoners in almost fifty years. Instead, the grounds are now a museum and can be rented for events large and small. Interior spaces can hold 50-225, while the Main Yard and Grounds can comfortably accommodate up to 1,000 people! A wedding inside a jail will not be forgotten, that’s for sure.

Linen Building (from their website)

Linen Building

Housed in the former American Laundry Building built in 1910, the Linen Building is owned and operated by The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence (IDVSA). They moved into the Linen Building “with a vision to transform the commercial steam laundry building with a history of harmful, toxic working conditions for girls and women to a space that stands for what is possible when everyone is valued, safe, and can thrive.” The IDVSA has offered the Linen Building’s space at a discounted rate or free for organizations focused on social justice and/or uplifting marginalized communities, and any space rental helps a non-profit organization. The space rental includes the Main Room and Mezzanine (3,900 total sq. ft.), which can hold 328 standing or 190 seated.

Check out our original Boise post for information on places to stay and how to get around.

We hope that this gives you some good ideas on event locations in Boise, Idaho!

Boise skyline, Idaho Capitol Building (dome) in center