Ask Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau, what she loves most about her adopted hometown and she points to the city’s three most alluring features: its natural beauty, walkability and recreational opportunities. 

Good choices. 

Alaska’s capital city boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world (the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield is just 13 miles from the city center), and the historic urban center is 14 square miles of small-town delights. Plus, thanks to the city’s proximity to Gastineau Channel, Mendenhall River and Mendenhall Lake, Perry can leave work and have her fishing hook in the water within the hour. 

Easily accessible to outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and whale watching, Juneau also offers award-winning art, culture and dining experiences that offer a window into the unique history of the warm and vibrant community. Top museums recall the impact of the Gold Rush and the colorful stories of the people who came to Juneau searching for fortune. The Sealaska Heritage Institute, located in the Walter Soboleff Building, houses the state’s largest collection of Southeast Alaska Native art.

Planning an event for a large number of people requires more than just an enticing backdrop, however, and Juneau is more than adequately equipped to accommodate big groups. The Centennial Hall Convention Center has approximately 17,000 square feet of meeting space, and an additional 27,000 square feet of meeting space is available at other venues throughout the community. Juneau also has approximately 1,200 guest rooms, ranging from hotels to quaint, picturesque bed-and-breakfasts and lodges.

And all of this, says Perry, is only two hours by air from Seattle. 

Despite a burgeoning craft beer scene, ample waterfront access and an abundance of meeting spaces, Shauna Stewart still points to Olympia’s people as the region’s greatest asset. “We are a community of passionate, engaged individuals all eager to make a difference,” says Stewart, executive director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau (OLTVCB). 

 

While attending the University of Vancouver, Rob Ringma, Tourism Victoria’s director of sales, developed a passion for Victoria’s natural beauty, accessible wilderness and the genuine authenticity of the people. Victoria, located on Vancouver Island’s southern tip, is steeped in rich history, architectural charm and natural beauty, but Ringma notes British Columbia’s capital city is much more than that. “We are forward-thinking, passionate people who want meetings business.

 

Even though she’s a fifth-generation Oregonian born and raised in the Willamette Valley, Jennifer Rouse is still delighted by all the area has to offer. “Just last week, I was out walking the dog and discovered a brand-new brewery in my neighborhood,” says the public relations and project manager for the Willamette Valley Visitors Association. Best known for its globally recognized pinot noir, Willamette Valley is also a paradise for hikers, bike riders, campers and canoers.