Ziptour at Sundance Mountain Resort, Provo
The Beehive State buzzes with meetings possibilitiesIt is appropriate that Utah is nicknamed the Beehive State, because the beehive symbolizes industriousness, and hard-working Utah residents pride themselves on getting things done. This applies to the state’s many business industries, including the vibrant meetings industry. In addition to having excellent facilities and a responsive hospitality sector, Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City and Provo are interesting cities that boast exciting nightlife and many cultural amenities. Unique team-building opportunities can be found in the diverse landscapes. When meetings conclude, this multifaceted state has a surprising number of things for attendees to see and experience. They often take place against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty that includes Great Salt Lake, the majestic Wasatch Mountain Range and the stark yet striking formations carved by nature that visitors marvel over in Utah’s five awe-inspiring national parks. Although Utah is a place where the Old West lives on in historic mining and ghost towns, it is also increasingly hip and contemporary, attracting high-tech events such as the first annual Thin Air Innovation Festival in Park City last month. Indeed, the Beehive State is abuzz with activity. This buzz is occurring in its cities and towns, where proud and dedicated citizens are cherishing the old while embracing the new. It is exciting to see young and innovative entrepreneurs choose Utah as the destination to start their new tech ventures. They are discovering a surprising can-do spirit and a state very much focused on the future.
Salt Lake City: Nothing Staid About It!
Shopping at City Creek Center, Salt Lake CityFor two weeks in winter 2002, the whole world was watching this city of 200,000 residents. Salt Lake City’s staid and conservative image changed forever during the Winter Olympics festivities, and city leaders crafted a vision for the next 50 years. The first step was the redevelopment of 2.5 city blocks downtown. Today that project, City Creek, is a $2 billion mixed-use development with retail, residential and office space. Over the past three years, nearly 50 new restaurants and bars have opened downtown. This fall the 2,500-seat Eccles Theater will open, bringing world-class stage and musical performances. It will further bolster Salt Lake City’s position as a leader in the arts—it is one of the few cities in America boasting professional symphony, opera and ballet companies. Historical fact: The Ute and Shoshoni tribes were probably the first inhabitants of this region. In 1847, Brigham Young led 148 Mormons to Great Salt Lake and uttered his famous saying, “This is the right place.” Within days, the new settlers were planting crops and building houses, naming their town Great Salt Lake City. Their settlement is now the worldwide headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet the population of Salt Lake City is actually quite diverse. Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, completed in nearby Ogden in 1869, brought in thousands of immigrant workers, as did the discovery of silver in the Wasatch Mountains. In fact, Salt Lake City has always been a patchwork quilt of ethnicities and religions. Where to meet: Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, aka Salt Palace, was built in 1969 and has undergone several major renovations. Today it is a modern facility with 515,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 164,000 sq. ft. for meetings. The AAA Five Diamond Grand America Hotel boasts 775 guest rooms and 75,000 sq. ft. of Old World opulence downtown, while Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel offers 362 guest rooms and 33,000 sq. ft. of meeting space near Salt Palace.
Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake CityRed Butte Garden is the largest botanical-research garden in the Intermountain West, and event spaces there accommodate up to 3,000. Natural History Museum of Utah has event spaces ranging in capacity from 72 to 1,500. Plenty to do: Salt Lake City has a vibrant downtown, with hundreds of bars (including a dozen breweries and six distilleries) and 1,700 restaurants that are interspersed with historic spots such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Temple Square.
Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake CityThe Family History Library offers the largest genealogical repository in the world, and can be explored without charge. Local colleges such as University of Utah afford plenty of sports and cultural opportunities. Nearby are six national parks (five in Utah) and dozens of national monuments and state parks. There are four notable four-season resorts in Salt Lake County and seven more close by. “As Utah’s capital city, Salt Lake is unique in so many ways. Not only is it the most accessible meeting destination in the Rocky Mountains—our international airport is just 7 miles from downtown via car or TRAX light rail—but downtown itself offers excellent dining, nightlife, cultural arts and all the amenities meeting attendees expect. And the Wasatch Mountains provide an incredible variety of recreational and team-building opportunities.” –Scott Beck, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake
Ogden: A Sweet Little Surprise
25th Street, OgdenOgden (population 85,000) boasts vigorous cultural and culinary scenes, and a colorful history. It’s a city with fierce civic pride, and its Historic 25th Street was ranked by the American Planning Association as One of the Best Streets in America. Historical fact: Don’t let its traditional Mormon roots fool you. Ogden was once a wild frontier town with larger-than-life characters who often settled disputes with six-shooters. When the first train on the Transcontinental Railroad steamed into Ogden March 8, 1869, the whole town came out to welcome it. However, the city’s new status as a railroad hub brought in a parade of outsiders, and the streets became a cacophony of gambling, prostitution, narcotics, robbery and even murder. Just how wild was Ogden? Well, Al Capone supposedly said that it was even too wild for him. Where to meet: Ogden Union Station was built in 1924. This beautiful building houses Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearms Museum, Browning Kimball Car Museum, two art galleries, a gift shop, a model-train shop, a restaurant and 22,264 sq. ft. of meeting space. Ogden is about 8,000 miles from Cairo, but not far from Peery’s Egyptian Theater, a fully restored 800-seat facility built in 1924 in classic Egyptian style, and now part of the 70,000-square-foot David Eccles Conference Center. Speaking of history, Ben Lomond Suites Historic Hotel was built in 1927; it has 99 guest suites and 8,457 sq. ft. of meeting space. Plenty to do: If the buildings along Historic 25th Street could talk, they would have some wild stories to tell. Now, however, they’re filled with atmospheric restaurants, bars, art galleries and yoga studios.
Kayak Park, OgdenOgden offers plenty of outdoor activities. Nordic Valley, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin (an Olympic site) ski resorts are nearby. Downtown, the convergence of the Ogden and Weber rivers has created two kayak parks. With nearly 300 miles of trails available, attendees can hike, bike, mountain bike, trail-run and snowshoe. There are three lakes in the city, and 170,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service property right outside of it. Indoors, the Salomon Center offers team-building opportunities such as a skydiving wind tunnel, indoor surfing, a climbing wall, an arcade and a bowling alley. “The Ogden area is a vibrant community…and people here are really passionate about their town. Ogden offers nearly 100 independent restaurants, numerous cultural opportunities and celebrations, and breathtaking scenery, all of which provide a unique experience for meeting attendees. Here, the great outdoors is just outside your door. And Historic 25th Street is a block from our conference center and downtown meeting hotels.” –Sara Toliver, president and CEO of Visit Ogden
Park City: Greatest Snow on Earth
Utah Olympic Park, Park CityIts prominent role in the 2002 Olympics elevated Park City as a preeminent ski resort. That event instigated the creation of Utah Olympic Park, transforming the city into a year-round resort. Anchored by the restaurants, shops and nightspots in the Historic District around Main Street, Park City now plays host to sophisticated international travelers who appreciate its rustic luxury. Historical fact: The discovery of silver in the region in the late-1860s transformed a dusty frontier town into an instant city, with would-be millionaires angling for a stake. At the height of this Silver Rush, the mountains surrounding Park City yielded $400 million in silver and 23 new millionaires. During the Depression, however, silver prices bottomed out. But local folks started mining another kind of treasure. Park City eventually trademarked the term “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” Sixty-four buildings there are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and more than 1,200 miles of old mining tunnels surround town. Those halcyon days come alive at the newly renovated Park City Museum.
Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village, Park CityWhere to meet: Many of the 350 sleeping rooms at the ski-in, ski-out, AAA Four Diamond Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village have fireplaces or full kitchens. The property has 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Hotel Park City, Autograph Collection, a Marriott property, features 100 suites and 22,235 sq. ft. of meeting space; Westgate Park City Resort & Spa has 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 488 guest rooms; Waldorf Astoria Park City has 175 guest rooms and 9,259 sq. ft. of meeting space; and Montage Deer Valley boasts 220 guest rooms, 55,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and amenities that include a bowling alley. For a luxurious alpine experience, Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley features 180 guest rooms and 21,213 sq. ft. of meeting space. Switzerland meets the American West at Zermatt Utah, 18 miles south of Park City in Midway. The magnificent AAA Four Diamond property features 325 guest rooms and 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting and exhibition space. Plenty to do: Park City’s two year-round resorts, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort, offer myriad recreational options. Fly-fishing takes place virtually all year long. Hot-air ballooning is also popular, offering spectacular views of the Wasatch Range and very likely the freshest air you’ve ever breathed. Summer is festival season, with many special events. “Not only is Park City one of the most accessible mountain meeting destinations in the U.S., but it’s also an authentic mountain town with a colorful history. A short ride from Salt Lake City International Airport will bring you to a wide variety of meeting facilities, augmented by pre- and post-meeting activities including golf, fly-fishing, biking, bobsled rides, horseback riding, hiking, hot-air ballooning, concerts, art festivals and gallery strolls.” –Bill Malone, president and CEO of Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau
Provo/Utah Valley: Miracle on Silicon Slopes
Ballroom in Utah Valley Convention Center, ProvoYou probably wouldn’t associate Utah Valley with technology, yet it’s become one of America’s hottest new technology areas. In fact, it’s now called Silicon Slopes. Forty-five miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah Valley is buzzing with tech start-ups. USA Today recently did a feature on the migration of tech talent and start-ups to Utah, and Forbes recently ranked Provo No. 1 on its list of Best Places for Business & Careers. The reasonable prices and growing infrastructure are key reasons why meeting groups are heading here. Historical fact: An ancient lake called Bonneville once covered Utah Valley, providing sustenance for the prehistoric peoples who wandered there, and the Native tribes succeeding them. Spanish monks arrived during the American Revolution. In the early-1800s fur trappers came, including a French-Canadian named Etienne Provost, after whom Provo is named. Mormon settlers arrived later. The area now has 551,891 residents. Where to meet: Utah Valley Convention Center is only four years old. Every facet of its operation is green, and with 83,578 sq. ft. of conference space, it’s ideally sized for many meetings.
Guest room at Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference CenterGreat meeting hotels include Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, with 330 guest rooms and 28,000 sq. ft., and Sundance Mountain Resort, founded by actor Robert Redford, which has 95 guest rooms, 10 mountain homes and 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Among the unique offsite venues is Wadley Historic Farm, where attendees can wander 20 acres of gardens and vineyards, and meet in The Barn or the Old Railroad Building.
Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point, LehiPlenty to do: At Thanksgiving Point, in the town of Lehi, your attendees can roam through 55 acres of gardens and the Museum of Ancient Life, and enjoy Mammoth Screen 3D Theater, Harvest Restaurant, the Emporium and an 18-hole golf course.
Museum of Ancient Life, LehiSundance Mountain Resort is a four-season recreational center that has just added a new Ziptour. Along the lower Provo River, you’ll find some of the best fly-fishing in the state. Bridal Veil Falls is a cascade of water thundering down 600-foot cliffs (and a great place for a group picnic). Brigham Young University offers a variety of interesting museums and sporting events. “Provo is a postcard city set at the base of a scenic mountain range with countless outdoor opportunities, a booming downtown and a vibrant music scene. Over 50 locally owned restaurants and bars, along with a collection of unique shops and entertainment venues, fill historic buildings surrounding our new, LEED certified convention center. And meeting planners are telling us that Utah Valley is the perfect combination of mountain modern and historic charm.” –Lee Adamson, director of sales for Utah Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau