Binghamton at a Glance
Location: Central New York State
Access: Greater Binghamton Airport, Route 17 (future Interstate 86), interstates 81 and 88
Hotel Rooms: 3,500
Visit Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau
Visions Federal Credit Union Veterans Memorial Arena
Meeting Space: 30,000 square feet
Binghamton University Events Center
Flexible Space: 165,000 square feet
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Binghamton
Guest Rooms: 207
Meeting Space: 36,000 square feet
Holiday Inn Binghamton Downtown
Guest Rooms:237, including 10 suites
Meeting Space: 15,000 square feet
Traditions at the Glen Hotel and Spa
Guest Rooms: 41
Meeting Space: 4,800 square feet
Who’s Meeting in Binghamton
Odyssey of the Mind
I Love NY Gymnastics
NYS School Food Service Association
Fostered by historic innovators and home to tech leaders such as IBM, Binghamton, New York’s vibe is fueled by contemporary creative visionaries. The city was incorporated in 1867, and many of its industrial-style downtown buildings have been repurposed into thriving restaurants, boutiques and offices. Binghamton has actively embraced the gifts of the past by reimagining them for the next generation.
Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College bring world-class musicians, art and theater to the city. Add outstanding restaurants and nightlife to the mix, and there’s plenty of places to explore and unwind. Visitors can also hike, kayak and bike right at the city’s doorstep. Beautiful Confluence Park lies at the epicenter of the city’s rivers.
“I tell planners that we have everything that a big city offers but on a smaller scale when it comes to culture and restaurants,” said Gina Calisi, convention sales manager for Visit Binghamton. “And our park system is magnificent. Visitors can snowshoe in the winter and bike, kayak or hike in the summer.”
State Street supports creativity on its Artists Row, dotted with studios and galleries. First Fridays, artists open their doors for this popular event. Fourth-generation Apple Hill Farm, nestled in the countryside but near downtown, offers apple picking and a cafe that incorporates farm-grown fruit. Animal Adventure Park, approximately 25 minutes east, features hands-on activities such as feeding the animals and hanging out with a baby sloth or kangaroo.
Binghamton is known as the world’s carousel capital, with six operating carousels free to the public. Built as an employee benefit by the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company, they are open Memorial Day through Labor Day. One is in the city’s historic Ross Park Zoo. Another, in Recreation Park, inspired a “Twilight Zone” episode. The show’s creator, Rod Serling, grew up in the area.
Outdoors and in, Binghamton’s unique settings can accommodate an event, a meal or a reception. In a rustic setting 10 miles from downtown, Mountain Top Grove serves as a picnic area that can flex for smaller groups or large events of up to 500 people. According to Calisi, the venue is renowned for catered clambakes.
“Another great site is the Riverdale Banquet Hall,” said Calisi. “It’s a refurbished restaurant with a contemporary ambiance, and they’re well known for the quality of their food.”
The Bundy Museum of History and Art displays permanent and rotating exhibits and can host meetings, parties or ceremonies. The 14-room mansion is furnished with items from the Victorian and early Art Nouveau periods and boasts original woodwork and stained-glass windows. The carriage house Annex Theater seats up to 70 people and provides full audiovisual, restrooms and a bar/concession area.
The Roberson Museum and Science Center encompasses the elegant Roberson Mansion with its grand foyer, dining room and library for events. In addition, the museum’s galleries, walled courtyard, planetarium, visitors center and newly restored third-floor ballroom can host meetings, receptions and parties for 50 to 500 attendees. Kopernik Observatory and Science Center, approximately 13 miles from Binghamton, is one of the best-equipped public observatories in the Northeast. For events, the facility offers four classrooms, the space lobby, a computer lab, three observatory telescopes and 24 acres.
“For an evening reception, the observatory can host a chocolate and wine night while groups look at the stars through the center’s high-powered telescopes,” said Calisi. “They will also host a seated dinner.”
Major Meeting Spaces
Anchoring downtown, the Visions Federal Credit Union Veterans Memorial Arena offers 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting or exhibit space. The nearby Binghamton University Events Center’s 65,000 square feet of flexible space hosts trade shows, dinners and receptions.
Overlooking the Chenango River and located near each other, two notable downtown properties focus on meetings. The 207-room DoubleTree Binghamton offers 25,452 square feet of event space with 19 meeting rooms. The property’s 5,000-square-foot Riverwalk Athletic Club boasts a large saltwater indoor pool and whirlpool. Guests can also hop on its free five-mile shuttle.
Newly renovated, the 237-room Holiday Inn Binghamton Downtown Hotel and Conference Center houses more than 15,000 square feet of banquet and flexible space. Facilities include 10 meeting rooms, and the Triple Cities Ballroom accommodates up to 700 guests and delivers full-service catering. Cafe Select overlooks the Chenango River, and the hotel’s fitness center touts a 50-foot indoor pool.
“The four blocks surrounding both hotels have a plethora of restaurants, nightlife and shops,” said Calisi. “Visitors can actually get to both hotels from the river walkway.”
On 650 forested acres, Traditions at the Glen Hotel and Spa was originally built as a private residence. After IBM bought the property in 1936, it became known as the IBM Homestead. Executives, presidents, celebrities and notable golf greats have stayed in its 41 elegant rooms and suites. Amenities include an 18-hole championship golf course overlooking the Susquehanna River, an 18-hole FootGolf course that combines soccer and golf, and a full-service spa with an Eastern European-style Himalayan salt cave.
After the Meeting
Meeting attendees should make sure to sample the celebrated spiedie, a Binghamton culinary tradition. This sandwich contains cubes of marinated meat threaded onto skewers and cooked over an open flame, then served between slices of Italian bread. For beer aficionados, the Colonial serves 30 beers on tap, plus a full menu. And local restaurant favorite Burger Mondays is notorious for serving large portions and cranking out the area’s best meat-and-bun combinations.
History buffs will appreciate the Phelps Mansion Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic American Buildings. Programs on public affairs, arts and literature are presented through the Monday Afternoon Club. And Tri-Cities Opera has been a cultural staple for more than seven decades.
Guided kayak or bike tours take advantage of the area’s waterways and parks. Horseback riding can be arranged at one of the area’s many stables. In winter, snowmobile and cross-country ski trails crisscross Broome County. More than a dozen area golf courses include the Golf Digest-rated Conklin Players Club or the Golf Magazine-ranked Links at Hiawatha Landing, to name just a few. Binghamton University fields NCAA Division I teams in every sport, with Bearcats basketball that entertains throughout the winter. The Binghamton Rumble Ponies minor league baseball team plays 71 home games annually at downtown’s newly renovated NYSEG Stadium.
“We have magnificent golf, and the PGA Tour Champions plays here every year,” said Calisi. “Baseball games are fun with a great party deck and fireworks, and we offer group ticket packages with food.”