The history of the American West comes to life in Northeast Nevada. Hold meetings in unique venues with rustic flair, and get a taste of the local flavor through museums, local art and regional dining.
Elko, the largest producer of gold in the nation, sits at the base of the Ruby Mountains in the high desert of Nevada. There are more than 20 alpine lakes in the area as well as two scenic byways. The town has a vibrant economy and a rich Western history, and it also features a regional airport with Delta connections and rental car services nearby.
Primary places to hold meetings include the Elko Convention Center, which has a 923-seat auditorium and 100,000 square feet of meeting space; the California Trail Interpretive Center, which can hold up to 80 people for meetings; and the Western Folklife Center in the historic Pioneer Hotel, which can hold up to 300 people.
The Hilton Garden Inn, as well as the local Marriott Hotel, also offer space for meetings — they can hold about 50 and 80 people, respectively — as well as lodging. Elko boasts 2,100 hotel rooms in total.
Elko has more than 50 restaurants, among them sushi restaurants, bistros, coffee bars and Basque dining, inspired by a region of Spain.
“We host the national Basque Festival, and there are lots of Basque restaurants and dining, which is unique to the area,” Tom Lester, tourism and convention manager of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, said.
The outdoors offers many attractions, including mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and fishing. Guests can visit the California Trail, on which many people drove covered wagons in search of gold, or the Spring Creek Horse Palace, where rodeos, horse shows and concerts take place.
Ely might be small — it has a population of only about 4,900 — but it has a big personality. Its mining, ranching and railroad history and high elevation at 6,500 feet make it an exciting place to hold meetings.
Primary meeting facilities include the Bristlecone Convention Center, which holds around 350 guests banquet-style and 500 theater-style, and La Quinta Inn and Suites, which has 73 guest rooms and a boardroom.
Ed Spear, executive director of the Bristlecone Convention Center, said many businesses in town are mixed-function sites that combine meeting space with entertainment.
“People don’t just come to Ely for the meetings,” Spear said, “but the whole experience.”
When dining in Ely, visitors can enjoy Basque family-style dining as well as Mexican and Chinese restaurants. All Aboard Café and Inn serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and provides catering services. For an unusual dining experience, have dinner at the Jailhouse Hotel and Casino in a jail cell.
A site to see is the Art Bank Building, a former bank that now highlights local artists. The Renaissance Village began a mural project in 1999 and boasts many internationally renowned artists; 26 murals all over the community depict the history of the town. The McGill Drugstore Museum looks just as it did 100 years ago, filled with products from the pharmacy and soda fountain era. The Silver State Classic Challenge is also held in Ely, where cars from as far away as Norway, Japan and England compete in the open road race on Highway 318.