By Kim Fredericks
Up 3 places to No. 25
Scandinavian culture and a still-vivid industrial past make Minnesota’s most populous city a draw for meetings. Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is about a three-hour nonstop flight from most major U.S. hubs; the facility also has the lowest number of weather-related delays in the nation.
Bordered by the Mississippi River and surrounded by 13 lakes, the city’s compact downtown is walkable at street level or above via the Minneapolis Skyway — the world’s largest contiguous system of enclosed, second-level bridges. Traditional big-brand hotels — such as the newly remodeled 645-room Hyatt Regency, with 100,000 square feet of meeting space and Café Lurcat, a sophisticated spot with a lively bar — cater to large groups. A new crop of midsize properties in reimagined industrial buildings includes the 183-room Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District, whose loft style is marked by exposed brick walls and beamed ceilings; guests can borrow bikes to explore the Thresher Square neighborhood.
Activities in Minneapolis are driven by the season. During the warmer months, groups can schedule kayaking tours on the Mississippi River with Paddle Bridge, or hop on UffDa Adventures’ Paddle Tap floating pub on Lake Minnetonka. Attendees can embrace their inner lumberjacks by throwing axes and rolling logs at Flanneljax’s.