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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

New Ideas in Northern Kentucky

Meeting groups will discover a vibrant hub of Southern charm and urban landscape along the Ohio River in northern Kentucky.

This colorful region comprises three towns: Covington, Newport and Bellevue, as well as a small portion of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Thanks to its proximity to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, 60 percent of the nation’s population can reach northern Kentucky by air in two hours or less.

“One of the greatest benefits of bringing your meeting to northern Kentucky is that you get to take advantage of amenities in Cincinnati,” said Julie Kirkpatrick, vice president of sales and marketing at the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.

After meetings, attendees can explore numerous attractions along the riverfront, from craft distilleries like New Riff Distilling to BB Riverboat cruises and art galleries in Newport’s Art on the Levee.

“We’re lucky to be part of Kentucky and share its distilling history,” said Kirkpatrick. “Bourbon is a big deal here in northern Kentucky.”

Sports fans often enjoy a visit to the Great American Ballpark, home of America’s first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds. History buffs might gravitate toward the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Historic pubs, shops and galleries abound in the German-heritage district of MainStrasse in Covington.

Faith-based meeting groups would be remiss not to stop by two of Kentucky’s most-visited attractions, the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, which illustrate biblical history from the book of Genesis through world-class exhibits.

Northern Kentucky Conference Center

Overlooking the river and the Cincinnati skyline, the Northern Kentucky Conference Center offers the perfect riverfront and meeting-space package. The conference center provides 110,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 3,900-seat exhibition hall and a fully carpeted, flexible conference floor with 13,288 square feet of space. Attendees can walk through a skywalk to the adjoining Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter, which features 119,000 square feet of meeting space as well as free shuttle service to nearby attractions.

Newport Aquarium

The Newport Aquarium is one of the premier event and meeting venues in the region, accommodating up to 1,500 guests. A few highlights of this iconic local attraction include a 14-foot-long alligator, a 17,000-gallon touch tank with stingrays and a suspended rope bridge over the shark exhibit. With the glimmering, aquatic environment as a backdrop, planners can set up bar stations throughout the aquarium and take advantage of unusual after-hours activities such as dive shows, scavenger hunts and penguin encounters. They can also host their reception or meeting in the elegant Riverside Room, which offers a sweeping view of the river and downtown Cincinnati. 

New Riff Distilling

Visitors can get a taste of Kentucky’s rich distilling heritage at New Riff Distilling in Newport. The distillery offers free tours seven days a week, accompanied by complimentary tastings of signature spirits like Kentucky Wild Gin, a tangy citrus and spice bush blend, or the vanilla-tinged Bourbon-Barreled Kentucky Wild Gin. Event planners can rent the beautiful 150-seat Tower Room upstairs, which features a full bar and a roof deck, or host smaller gatherings in the 75-seat Doubler Room. Entertainment options include a chef’s table, mixology classes and live performances by local artists.

Creation Museum and Ark Encounter

Many groups take a full day to visit the Creation Museum and its sister attraction, Ark Encounter. The Creation Museum explores biblical accounts of the earth’s origin through engaging exhibits that include animatronic dinosaurs, an insectorium and a colorful replica of the Garden of Eden. Just 40 minutes south, Ark Encounter displays a 510-foot-long ark built according to the biblical dimensions described in the story of Noah; it claims to be the largest timber-frame structure in the world. Though it opened in 2016, the site has already hosted nearly 1 million visitors.

Northern Kentucky

Location: Kentucky’s northern border, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati

Access: Interstate 75, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

Major Meeting Spaces: Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter, Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront

Hotel Rooms: 7,000

Off-Site Venues: Newport Aquarium, New Riff Distilling, BB Riverboats

Contact Info:

Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau