Prevue January-February 2018 - 16

Previous: Sunrise yoga in Kiener Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri
Right (clockwise from top): Guest room at Aloft Austin Downtown; Rendering of Hyatt Regency Seattle meeting
space (photo credit: LMN Architects); Omaha skyline from Heartland of America Park (photo credit: Visit Omaha)

C

Community-minded events are trending big for 2018 as attendees
continue to express their preference for hyperlocal and immersive
experiences. Seattle to Savannah, new district destination
developments are delivering this expectation.

Moving beyond CityArchRiver, "the City Museum is also a very
unique downtown attraction like no other in the world," Brinkmann
says. "Housed in a former shoe factory, the 'museum' is actually an
eclectic and very creative funhouse incorporating all sorts of found
objects, and it's always changing."

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI
Beneath the steel-clad curve of St. Louis' iconic Gateway Arch
monument, built to reflect the city's role in the westward expansion
of the US, is a new space that is also expanding the possibilities
for meetings and events. As the last phase of the $380 million
CityArchRiver project that has transformed and connected the Arch
grounds and riverfront, the revised Museum at the Gateway Arch
will feature rare local artifacts and six exhibit areas, including a walk
in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, who completed their journey just
footsteps away along the Mississippi River. Groups of up to 1,500
reception-style will be able to meet here once the museum and visitor
center are completed this summer-just in time for Fair St. Louis to
the Arch, one of the nation's largest Fourth of July celebrations. An
after-hours night at the museum buyout can also be arranged.
"The new museum and visitor center will be connected more
directly to downtown St. Louis than it ever was in the past," explains
Matt Brinkmann, special events
and programming manager for the
Gateway Arch Park Foundation.
"We also have a beautiful new 7-acre
outdoor event space at the north end
of the grounds that includes a natural
amphitheater with the historic Eads
Bridge (now bike friendly) as backdrop,
as well as easy access to the Laclede's
Landing entertainment district."
As the tallest man-made
monument in the US at 630 ft, the
Gateway Arch is the focal point of the
90-acre Jefferson National Expansion Memorial with views of the
Mississippi River, Busch Stadium and acres of new tree-lined walking
and biking trails available at its peak. Brinkmann advises that you add
a "tram ride to the top of the Arch to the top of the to-do list," and the
National Park Service can arrange customized programs that explore
the rest of the grounds through living history demonstrations and trial
reenactments. The redevelopment of the Kiener Plaza, now a hot spot
for yoga and other events, has connected the Gateway Mall and Arch
grounds to the downtown core. In the middle of all of this sits the Old
Courthouse, where one of the most important cases in America's
history, Dred Scott v. Sanford, contributed to the end of slavery. The
courthouse is also available for events and historians can be booked
for keynote sessions. Groups can see the city like an explorer during
a sightseeing or dinner cruise aboard replicas of nineteenth-century
paddlewheel riverboats, the Becky Thatcher and the Tom Sawyer, or
during a guided helicopter tour.

OMAHA, NEBRASKA
The Old Market District is seeing an influx of new restaurants,
shops and galleries along its cobblestone streets. Street musicians
and artists are built-in entertainment in this historic area, which is also
festooned with pubs, quaint cafes and jazz clubs. Groups can climb
aboard Ollie the Trolley the first Friday of every month for a hop-on,
hop-off art walk, or hop on barstools for drinks and a spin around
the area on the Omaha Patio Ride. It's possible to authentically
experience 12 countries-a Hindu Temple, Lithuanian bakery, Greek
dinner and dance, and Latino art and history museum included-and
culinary tours of the Dundee neighborhood may include ice cream at
eCreamery and sips of Dundee Dell's 700-bottle scotch collection.
Groups can also experience paddleboarding tours across
Standing Bear and Prairie Queen lakes and across Lake Zorinsky
during downtime, and the 31-acre Heartland of America
Park offers gondola rides, outdoor
concerts and one of the nation's
largest shooting fountains. Nearby,
the Durham Museum at the city's
art deco Union Station has a range of
permanent exhibits that groups can
explore, whether restored train cars,
1940s store fronts or some of the
world's rarest coins. Attendees can
top all of this off with a phosphate or
malt at an authentic soda fountain.
At the Josyln Art Museum, groups
can glean inspiration from the works
of Degas, Monet and Pollack before trying their hands at painting,
glassblowing, bead, chainmail and print making workshops at the
Hot Shops Art Center, housed in a converted warehouse.
"The biggest misconception about Omaha is that it is a rural
destination filled with cornfields and cows," says Cathy Keller, VP of
sales and services for Visit Omaha. "While we are extremely proud
of our agricultural roots, we're also a thriving metropolitan area with
more than a million residents, cultural offerings comparable to a city
twice its size and a food scene that rivals much larger cities." These
are just some of the reasons why Omaha is consistently ranked as a
top value city, Keller says.
The new 333-room Omaha Marriott Downtown at the
Capital District is the centerpiece of the new $200 million dining
and entertainment mecca, The Capital District, which connects
the Old Market to the events district and the Riverfront to the
downtown business district. It's also the first full-service hotel to

"The new museum and
visitor center will be
connected more directly to
downtown St. Louis than it
ever was in the past."

16 | prevuemeetings.com


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