In 1803, the United States bought what would become Missouri from France as part of the massive Louisiana Purchase.
In 1821, Missouri was admitted as the nation’s 24th state. Rivers figure large in Missouri lore, with the Mississippi River forming the state’s eastern border and the Missouri River making up its western boundary; planners will find water views and waterfront venues in several cities. College towns are home to renowned universities such as “Mizzou,” and the capital city is brimming with historic sites.
Today, planners and attendees can explore the state’s past and present in these distinctive Missouri cities.
As home to three colleges — the University of Missouri, Columbia College and Stephens College — Columbia has a young, hip vibe and offers visitors a plethora of things to do.
“We are a very fun, energetic, youthful community with lots of live music and art shows and festivals and a tremendous number of pretty sophisticated dining options, so we have a lot going on,” said Beth Mead, sales supervisor for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Downtown, aka “The District,” is bordered on three sides by three campuses and is brimming with bars, boutiques, concert venues, coffee shops, art galleries and chef-owned restaurants, so “we consider it one of our best attractions in itself,” Mead said.
Columbia has 38 hotels. In downtown, the historic 1928 Tiger Hotel recently renovated its 62 guest rooms and has meeting space for up to 200 people. The Broadway is a newer DoubleTree by Hilton hotel with 114 rooms, a rooftop bar and a ballroom that can seat 140 for banquets. The Broadway plans to build a second tower with 80 additional guest rooms and 7,000 square feet of meeting space “because they’re full all the time,” Mead said.
The 310-room Holiday Inn Executive Center has 36,000 square feet of function space, including the 20,000-square-foot Columbia Expo Center. Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center has 11,000 square feet of flexible meeting space.
Groups can also incorporate the colleges into their events by meeting on campuses, touring them and tapping the schools for expert speakers or team-building exercises.