Nearly every association in Montana has held a meeting in Butte, and for good reason. The city of just under 34,000 lies at the crossroads of interstates 15 and 90 and is about an hour’s drive from the state capital, Helena, making it an easy drive for most. But thanks to major improvements to two key meeting venues, abundant outdoor activities and a supportive community, Butte is casting a wider net.
“We’ve always been popular with state agencies,” said Maria Pochervina, executive director of the Butte Convention and Visitors Bureau, “and now we’re seeing more regional association markets coming to this area as well.”
It’s a fitting development for the area once known as “The Richest Hill on Earth,” most notably for the hundreds of millions of pounds of copper produced there in the late 1800s. Evidence of Butte’s mining heyday is found throughout the city, particularly in Uptown. In this historic neighborhood, groups can tour the World Museum of Mining, stay at the boutique Miners Hotel and dine at the popular Uptown Café.
Montana Tech, recognized nationally as a top engineering school, draws many mining and geology conferences to Butte and has a variety of meeting spaces.
Though headframes still dot the surrounding landscape, Butte has diversified its economy over the last few decades, becoming a community known for festivals and events. The Montana Folk Festival, for instance, held every July, brings in performers and visitors from around the world. Many meeting planners schedule conferences before or after major events to allow attendees to join the fun.
The allure of Butte as a meeting destination circles back to the plentiful hospitality of community members, who are glad to share stories about the area’s history. “If you didn’t have a friend in Butte to connect with when you came here,” said Pochervina, “you’ll definitely leave with a couple new ones.”
Spaces Fit for a King
The 92-room Copper King Hotel and Convention Center, Butte’s largest conference facility, reopened in May 2017 following a complete restoration. It boasts 17,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes the 7,400-square-foot King Ballroom with its state-of-the-art, 16-foot LED environmental projection screen, and the 4,700-square-foot Copper Ballroom, as well as breakout and prefunction spaces. Full catering services are available through Montana’s Rib and Chop House on-site, but budget-conscious planners are also welcome to bring in outside catering. Other meeting hotels in Butte include Hotel Finlen, a historic boutique property with an Art Deco-style ballroom; Quality Inn and Suites, now renovating its meeting spaces; and Comfort Inn and La Quinta Inn and Suites, both newly renovated.