What's the best reward for surviving a rainy Northwest winter? Enjoying the blooming beauty of spring. And one of the most charming destinations for groups to experience the fresh new season is Portland, Oregon. Beautiful views, remarkable meeting spaces and unique activities all converge to make the city a perfect choice for your vernal gathering.
Where to Stay & Where to Meet
Looking for a place to connect and bunk while in town? Here are some suggestions:
For large groups, the Oregon Convention Center is a sound choice. The eco-friendly venue boasts 225,000 square feet of exhibit space, two ballrooms, 50 meeting rooms and parking for 800 cars.
The Hilton Portland Downtown has a whopping 66,000 square feet of meeting space spread over 30 different rooms. While its 12,657-square-foot ballroom can hold up to 1,500 attendees, the Hilton can also host groups as small as 12.
The Crowne Plaza Portland Downtown Convention Center has 13,000 square feet of meeting space. It offers flexibility in design, allowing you to set up the rooms to match the mood you’re trying to convey, from conservative to cutting edge.
Traditional elegance meets modern meeting amenities at The Mark Spencer Hotel. The hotel has room for 200 people in its Nortonia Ballroom. Capable of being separated into two sections, the ballroom can feature a number of seating configurations.
The awe-inspiring architecture of the Sentinel will envelop your attendees in a warm welcome. With 23,000 square feet of meeting space, there is room for everyone. For guests staying overnight at the hotel, the accommodations are spacious and elegant.
Classic. Elegant. Warm. All these words describe The Benson, a Coast Hotel, a historic landmark. With a variety of meeting rooms and two of the most popular ballrooms around, your group will love this vintage beauty.
The energetic vibe of Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland will keep your group on its toes. Meeting space of 8,226 square feet can be configured into sections that seat from 14 to 180 people. “There’s interesting character and design found throughout the historic building, such as the speakeasy-style Club Room, hidden behind a bookcase in [the on-site] Red Star Tavern,” says Director of Sales Tim Hammer. “We host a nightly social hour for all guests in the lobby, with live music and local beer and wine. We also partner on unique tastings that help meeting-goers get out and experience what makes Portland so—well—Portland.”
For smaller groups, the loft-inspired Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station can host 25 people in its 650-square-foot meeting room. Thanks to its location near public transit, your guests can easily ride the MAX Light Rail downtown for dinner or entertainment.
And the Jupiter Hotel proves that, with a little imagination and a lot of inspired renovation, a motor lodge can be a smart contender for meetings. Offering 8,000 square feet of space in rooms that boast whimsical names such as “Dream Box,” “Lab” and “Think Tank,” the unique setting will help inspire your group. “It’s for everyone, from the skateboarder off the street to the person stepping out of a limousine. There’s a side that’s more chill and a side that’s more exciting, like having a bunch of friends at a party at your house,” says Katie Watkins, account coordinator for Watershed Communications, the hotel’s marketing firm.
What to Do & Where to Go
Scavenger hunts, table tennis and creating together—postmeeting, team-building activities are never boring in the Rose City.
“I always refer people to Run Brain Run,” says Michael Rowland, chief concierge for The Benson. The team-building company’s challenge games will have your group building relationships and having fun in no time. Even better, if you can’t come to them, the Run Brain Run team will come to you.
James Jesse, senior vice president of convention sales for Travel Portland, suggests the pingpong social club Pips & Bounce. “It’s a great option for groups looking for a fun, laid-back activity. There’s something about pingpong that feels universal, and it can be a delightfully unexpected activity for groups.”
Jesse also recommends the creative maker community ADX Portland. “It’s a one-of-akind experience for smaller groups where folks get to interact with, and learn from, some of Portland’s most exciting makers. It’s really an unmatched authentic Portland experience.”
So, what are you waiting for? Spring to it. Head to Portland for your next gathering.