Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, Virginia
The sky’s the limit for your perfect meeting in Arlington! Behind me are two of the three nearly 200-foot spires of the spectacular Air Force Memorial. It’s one of our many national treasures, including Arlington National Cemetery, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) and more. Originally part of the District of Columbia, Arlington has monumental views of the Potomac River, the National Mall and Washington, DC. And our lively, walkable neighborhoods—with 44 hotels just minutes from Metro—offer visitors cuisine from around the globe, shopping galore and a wide array of evening activities. The perfect combination of convenience and value, Arlington’s hotel rates are typically 20 percent lower than those in downtown D.C. Give us a call!
–Emily Cassell, director
Where in the world will a big blue horse greet your meeting attendees? Lexington, of course! Our breathtaking scenic beauty, Southern hospitality, easy accessibility and thriving urban core offer meeting planners an opportunity to escape the ordinary. From iconic Keeneland Race Course, host of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup, to the world-renowned Kentucky Horse Park and the more than 450 horse farms that surround the city, Lexington offers plenty of venue options for offsite events, spouse tours and receptions that will incorporate Lexington’s signature industry into your meeting or convention. In the south, we’re known for regional specialties and farm-to-table dining. In Lexington, the culinary scene goes way beyond grits! More than 100 restaurants and bars are within walking distance of Lexington Convention Center. Meeting attendees love the wide selection of culinary talent and locally owned establishments. You never know where you’ll find a blue horse, so keep your eyes open!
–Gathan Borden, vice president of marketing
Visit GreenvilleSC, South Carolina
Ladies and gentleman, start your engines! (Because what says “Welcome to Greenville, South Carolina” better than a tire-squealin’, rubber-burnin’ BMW?) Headquartered right here in Greenville County, the BMW Performance Center lets you redefine “life in the fast lane” to give you and your team the ride of a lifetime behind the wheel of the Ultimate Driving Machine. Hosting everything from intimate dinners to nationwide corporate conferences, take a page out of my book and take Greenville for a test drive. Your adrenaline will quickly discover why we’re not just any Greenville —we’re that Greenville.
–David Montgomery, vice president of sales
Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, North Carolina
Get wild in Greensboro! Skywild is one of Greensboro’s newest attractions. This animal-inspired treetop adventure park is located above the Greensboro Science Center’s zoo. Featuring 60 challenges and three levels of intensity, this exciting adventure is appropriate for thrill-seekers, nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, and is excellent for team building. For more than 30 years, the Greensboro CVB and our travel and tourism partners have worked together to make everyone’s visit to Greensboro enjoyable and unforgettable. Whatever it is that brings someone to Greensboro—whether it’s business, pleasure, or even a family reunion—we have nearly 500 dining options, over 90 miles of walking trails, 40 art galleries and over 135 attractions. Greensboro has something for everyone.
–Henri Fourrier, president and CEO
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, North Carolina
Charlotte is home to the Firebird, a must-stop selfie spot in the Queen City. Standing 17 feet, 5 inches tall in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the sculpture welcomes visitors to the museum and to Charlotte. Its location is a short stroll from the Charlotte Convention Center and is also easily accessible to other unique event venues and exciting attractions. Getting here is easy, as the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is just 7 miles from Center City, where a wide variety of unique dining, cultural venues and nightlife options await visitors. I love that we can admire works of art like the Firebird amid the bustle of Center City, creating memorable experiences for visitors and locals alike.
–Mike Butts, executive director
Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kentucky
Louisville, along with the rest of the world, mourned the loss of our hometown hero, Muhammad Ali, this past summer. We miss him dearly, but we’re also honored that we can share his legacy for generations to come through the Muhammad Ali Center, a multicultural center and museum that captures the inspiration derived from his incredible career, personality and humanitarian efforts. When Ali spoke of home, he spoke of Louisville, and those that come to pay their respects can not only visit the Ali center, but also his childhood home and final resting place at Cave Hill Cemetery.
–Karen Williams, president and CEO
Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau, Virginia
The Pagoda (also known as The Marine Observation Tower), was a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk from the Taiwan Provincial Government. During a goodwill trade mission to Norfolk in 1983, Lee Teng-Hui, then governor of Taiwan and later the president of the Republic of China, proposed the gift that is located along the beautiful Elizabeth River in Norfolk’s historic Freemason District. In 1989, the two-story octagon structure was built on and around the pillars that previously supported a 500,000-gallon molasses storage tank. Materials for the tower were manufactured in Taiwan and shipped to Norfolk, where the Pagoda was meticulously assembled by artisans from Taiwan. The Pagoda is surrounded by a breathtaking Oriental garden and koi fish pond, said to be the largest on the East Coast.
–Anthony J. DiFilippo, president and CEO
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
Atlanta is known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, Coca-Cola and Gone with the Wind. This bustling city nestled in the trees has much to offer that keeps visitors and conventioneers coming back year after year. Along with world-class venues, attractions and restaurants, Atlanta is also home to the world’s most-traveled airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It serves as the hub of Delta Air Lines, which has called Atlanta home since 1941, and has put the city on the map as a transportation epicenter. The airline’s long history, unique memorabilia and insights on innovation within the aviation industry are all displayed in the Delta Flight Museum. Located just a short distance from the airport’s domestic terminal and housed in the airport’s first hangar, the museum features state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits that display milestone moments from the past and present, and look toward the future of flight.
–William Pate, president and CEO
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, is one America’s oldest and most culturally rich destinations. It’s nearly 300 years in the making and the perfect destination for your next event. Here, you will find world-class event spaces, unmatched southern hospitality, award-winning cuisine and a community committed to offering unforgettable, sensory experiences featuring flavors, sounds and sights unlike anywhere else in the world. New Orleans always has lagniappe—a little something extra—to offer. Take advantage of the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau’s newest partnerships to incorporate top local musicians and New Orleans flare into every event and laissez les bon temp rouler—or as we say in New Orleans, let the good times roll!
–Stephen Perry, president & CEO
Orlando North Seminole County Tourism
A short drive from all the major attractions of Central Florida and home to Orlando Sanford International Airport, Orlando North, Seminole County offers first-rate accommodations for less, varied meeting and event venues, and diverse dining and shopping in its charming communities. Known as “Orlando’s Natural Oasis,” the destination offers visitors a wide array of thrilling outdoor activities, from an aerial adventure course with ziplining to paddling alongside manatees in clear freshwater springs and rivers. The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center first opened in Sanford, Florida, in 1923, seated 823 patrons, contained a four-story fly, and included a proscenium arch and orchestra pit for the presenting of live dramas and movies. Today, the refurbished and expanded center houses plays, concerts, films and special events.
–Rosangela Santiago, travel trade representative
Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tennessee
Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer is an exciting, unique group experience that gets you and your group out exploring the Tennessee River Gorge, one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse areas of the country. Leaving from the heart of downtown Chattanooga, you’ll swiftly and smoothly travel down the Tennessee River on board a high-tech vessel moving at speeds up to 50 mph and then slowing down to take it all in as you discover the gorge teeming with wildlife like river otters, bald eagles and osprey. The amazing scenery of Tennessee’s Grand Canyon is worth the trip alone. Enjoy the views from the outdoor observation deck or inside the climate-controlled cabin lined with crystal clear windows and able to comfortably seat 70 passengers.
–Lori Morrison, director of national accounts
Visit Knoxville, Tennessee
I love the Sunsphere, and its fourth-floor Observation Deck is a lesser-known gem in the city. It is free to the public daily and features a gallery of Knoxville images, fun facts about our city (often referred to as a hidden gem) and a photographic history of what many consider to be the last successful World’s Fair. While it’s impossible to show you a 360-degree view, the image from my selfie is a great example of what you can see from the Sunsphere, and I conquered my fears to get it! This piece of history from 1982 is one of a kind as Neyland Stadium, the Tennessee River and downtown are all in clear view from the Observation Deck. Come see for yourself.
–Kim Bumpas, president
Visit Fairfax, Virginia
Fairfax County, Virginia, is home to well-known attractions like George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but it’s also home to many hidden gems. The Korean Bell Garden—tucked among the stunning landscape of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens—is the only public bell garden of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere. Attendees can seek tranquility and nature after a long day of meetings while admiring this 3-ton, handcrafted Bell of Peace and Harmony. The pavilion itself contains no nails or screws, as each hand-carved piece was intricately designed to fit together in order to support this one-of-a-kind bell. Meadowlark Gardens is located 15 miles east of Washington, DC, and is considered one of the best botanical gardens in the country.
–Barry Biggar, president and CEO
New Smyrna Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Florida
Whether it’s driving along the pristine shoreline, kayaking through the Intracoastal Waterway or finding new discoveries in an art museum, there is something around every corner in New Smyrna Beach. For culture lovers, there is an outstanding art scene here with many artistic workshops and galleries scattered along Canal Street and Flagler Avenue. The Hub on Canal is a working art studio where artists can display their work and focus on a variety of art projects ranging from every skill including oil paintings and wood carvings to glass work and sculptures. Between visual arts, culinary arts and beaches, New Smyrna Beach is a unique seaside community that offers that Florida charm everyone is looking for.
–Deborah Meihls, CDME, executive manager
Smithfield & Isle of Wight Tourism, Virginia
Join the Porcine Parade in Smithfield, Virginia, “Ham Capital of the World.” Eight life-size statues of market hogs, painted by local artists, reflect aspects of the town’s rich history, culture and recreation. Smithfield’s ham history began in 1779, when the first local hams were shipped to the West Indies. Now the town, home to Smithfield Foods, ships ham and pork products all over the world.
(Pictured: Judy Hare Winslow and Cheryl Ketcham, farmers market manager)
–Judy Hare Winslow, director of tourism
Prince William County & Manassas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Virginia
Autobahn Indoor Speedway in Manassas is the first European-style indoor go-karting facility of its kind in Virginia. The 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Prince William is also the largest completely indoor karting facility in Virginia.|
–Nicole Warner, marketing communications specialist
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, North Carolina
Twenty-four breweries, numerous bottle shops and the largest beer garden in the world make Raleigh the place to be for beer-lovers and with the July 2015 opening of Raleigh Beer Garden, finding a favorite, rare brew just got easier. Recently verified as having the Guinness world record for largest number of operational taps, the Raleigh Beer Garden boasts a current setup of 366 draft beer taps that offer 144 North Carolina craft brews on the first floor, aptly named the Carolina Garden, alongside the second floor’s World Garden of 222 drafts from across the nation and around the world. The rooftop bar also houses an additional set of taps that feature different seasonal beers, and event and specialty brews, while a huge outdoor area known as the Event Field can host large-scale private events and functions and has its own beer trailer.
–Denny Edwards, president and CEO
Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau, Virginia
Only steps from the Virginia Air & Space Center, the official visitor center for the NASA Langley Research Center, sits the antique Hampton Carousel, housed in a weather-protected pavilion on the downtown waterfront. Hand-crafted in 1920 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, the carousel is one of about 75 antique carousels still in existence today. Originally located at Buckroe Beach Amusement Park, it was enjoyed by countless numbers during its 65-year tenure. After the closure of the park in the mid-1980s, the carousel was put into storage before being moved and restored at its current location in 1991. It still boasts its original mirrors and oil paintings, as well as 48 intricately decorated horses. Today, visitors can take a spin, April through December, for only $1.
–Mary Fugere, interim executive director