When you attend a meeting in Janesville, Wisconsin, a great walk is never far away.
Janesville is the seat of Rock County, a picturesque region just north of the Illinois border with more than 2,500 acres of parkland and 30 miles of paved, off-road trails. These recreational opportunities draw a large number of hikers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. Travelers can easily access the city from several major interstates and international airports.
Meeting planners will find everything they need for a successful and memorable meeting in this charming town, which encompasses more than 100 restaurants, 750 hotel rooms and 13 historic districts. Traditional exhibit space is available at the Pontiac Convention Center or the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Conference Center, but planners can also choose from a variety of more creative venues, such as the award-winning Rotary Botanical Gardens, the Janesville Performing Arts Center and a restored military facility called the Armory.
“If you want meeting space with a unique atmosphere, the Armory is a great option,” said Christine Rebout, executive director of the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
After hours, attendees can tour a historic home once visited by Abraham Lincoln, enjoy a live show at one of the local pubs or catch a game from the Janesville Jets Hockey Team. Janesville is also home to the 19-time national champion Rock Aqua Jays Water Ski Show Team, which offers live performances twice a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.
“Many people like to come early to the show and grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks,” said Rebout. “It’s a nice outing to do with your group and have some entertainment right on Rock River.”
Rotary Botanical Gardens
The Rotary Botanical Gardens is special treat for anyone who enjoys nature-based attractions, spanning a lovely 20-acre property with over 24 distinct gardens and 4,000 varieties of plants. Event planners can take advantage of this top-rated botanical garden by hosting their seminar, training session or workshop in one of four on-site meeting rooms that overlook the gardens. Between sessions, attendees can stretch their legs and breathe in the fresh air as they wander through vibrant displays in the French Formal Garden, the Japanese Garden, the English Cottage Garden and other unique sections. Guided tours for groups of 15 or more must be reserved in advance.
Built in 1930, the Armory was originally used as a training center for soldiers in the years leading up to World War II. It was extensively renovated in 2005 and reopened as a premier event venue, having combined the historic facade with interior additions such as beautiful brickwork, terrazzo floors and decorative iron. It frequently plays host to weddings, corporate retreats, fundraising galas, professional musicals and other notable events. The historic Drill Hall can host 100 to 500 guests. Adjacent to the hall, the Bunker Lounge features a classy copper bar with space for live music and cocktail receptions. Upstairs, the Lieutenant’s Quarters offers a more intimate space for groups of up to 52.