The 2023 Small Market Meetings Conference will bring meeting planners from around the country to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from September 27-29. It will be held at the 267-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex, the city’s downtown hotel and convention center just blocks from well-known venues like the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and the historic Paramount Theatre.
Cedar Rapids Tourism has announced the sightseeing tours for the 2023 conference, which will take place on Thursday, September 28, and will give planners access to some of the city’s most interesting and varied meeting and event venues.
The first tour will take place at Indian Creek Nature Center, which is located on a nature preserve about five miles away from downtown. There are only 31 certified living buildings in the world, and this nature center, built out of sustainable, local materials, is one of them. Planners can learn what makes this center special, check out the green meeting space, take in serene views of nature and wildlife, and even see a working beehive. They will also be joined by the Cedar Rapids Llamas and a miniature donkey and can sample local beer from Lion Bridge Brewery.
The next tour will take place at Brucemore Mansion, a historical mansion in downtown Cedar Rapids that was built in 1884. Attendees will enjoy sparkling wine and cocktail samples while they tour the mansion’s 21 lavishly furnished rooms. They will get a chance to play croquet on the mansion’s manicured lawn and hear live music.
The third tour will be at Lion Bridge Brewery, where guests will get a guided tour from the owners and have a beer tasting. The brewery is situated in Czech Village, one of the city’s downtown historic districts, which is home to a number of shops, eateries and local landmarks. Planners are free to explore the village after sampling the brewery’s small-batch artisanal beers.
The next tour keeps planners in Czech Village and takes them through the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, a Smithsonian affiliate that explores the city’s Czechoslovakian heritage. Planners will experience traditional Czech cuisine by eating kolaches (classic Czech pastries) and drinking Czech-inspired beer while they wander through the museum’s exhibits and meeting spaces. They’ll see authentic pieces of Czech culture like costumes and art.
The final tour will take place at Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery, which is located about 10 miles south of downtown Cedar Rapids and was ranked America’s Best Distillery by the American Distillery Institute in 2017. Planners will tour the scenic winery and its meeting spaces, then enjoy some of the distillery’s award-winning bourbon accompanied by appetizers.