With a scenic location right on the bend of the Minnesota River, Mankato, Minnesota, is the fourth-largest city in the state. Mankato event venues are friendly and affordable in a destination that's fewer than two hours from Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area.
In fact, the Minneapolis International Airport is currently the closest to Mankato, while the Mankato Regional Airport (which is owned by the city and can be rented for events) undergoes a $12-million runway expansion and improvement project that will pave the way for future commercial air services.
When it comes to meeting venues in Mankato, the City Center Convention Campus is the go-to spot for large conventions and exhibitions. Located in the heart of the city, the campus comprises the Verizon Wireless Conference Center and two full-service convention hotels. The Verizon Wireless Center can accommodate groups of all sizes thanks to over 45,000 square feet of flexible banquet/exhibit space. Its facilities include a 600-person banquet hall, conference center with five meeting rooms and 8,300-seat arena. The arena boasts an Olympic-sized ice floor that hosts the Minnesota State University NCAA Maverick men's hockey team and the annual Home and Builders Expo, Wedding Show and Holiday Expo. The center also features a historic reception hall, built in the early 1900s as the First National Bank and now a stunning venue complete with stained glass windows and original bank vaults.
Connected via indoor skyway to the Verizon Wireless Center, the 118-room Hilton Garden Inn has additional meeting rooms, including a boardroom and three small breakout rooms, a 24-hour business center with complimentary printing and free Wi-Fi. Also at the City Center Convention Campus is the 150-room Mankato City Center Hotel. The property has over 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a banquet center for up to 500 guests.It can even accommodate small expositions, thanks to room for 25 eight-foot-by-10-foot booths or 40 vendor tables.
The hotels on the convention campus aren't the only options in Mankato; adjacent to Minnesota State University campus, the AmericInn Hotel & Conference Center has 3,000 square feet of recently renovated meeting space, accommodating up to 200 guests, plus all the business traveler perks: free high-speed Internet, a hot breakfast and complimentary daily newspaper. The Best Western Mankato has several meeting rooms, ranging in capacity from 15 to 150 people. Opening in fall 2012, the Courtyard by Marriott will have over 6,000 square feet of event space.
Mankato is home to a plethora of banquet venues that are perfect for after-hours dinners and cocktail functions. The historic Kato Entertainment Center has a unique, 50s-style look that has made it a popular spot for social events. The Kato has over 20,000 square feet of space, a floating dance floor, permanent stage and expert catering staff that can accommodate groups as large as 1,200 people. Recently remodeled, the Mankato Golf Club has 1,800 square feet of space for private events, including an outdoor deck overlooking the pool area. For a scenic retreat, visit Applewood Restaurant & Banquet Center. Encompassing five acres, the light-filled venue has space for up to 300 people and excellent amenities, such as an outdoor gazebo, full-service bar, new deck, indoor and outdoor dance floors and ample parking.
Photo Credit : Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors Bureau