About 50 miles northwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, St. Cloud is a healthy and growing historic town right on the Mississippi River. It is home to dozens of St. Cloud event venues and restaurants, as well as nightlife and theater options within blocks of the recently completed River's Edge Convention Center.
The St. Cloud Regional Airport, five miles from the city, currently provides nonstop service to Phoenix/Mesa on Allegiant Air. Downtown St. Cloud is also 70 miles from the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport, with commuter trains and shuttles connecting the two destinations. Executive Express Shuttle is about $70 round trip and a taxi is $136 one way (6 passenger maximum).
Chief among convention venues in St. Cloud, the River's Edge Convention Center (formerly the St. Cloud Civic Center) was renamed after the 2011 completion of its $22-million expansion/renovation. The facility, which is located on the river, offers 165,000 square feet of space that includes 19 meeting rooms, 60,000 square feet of continuous exhibit space and a 16,000-square-foot ballroom.
The three main hotel meeting venues in St. Cloud are the 229-room Best Western Kelly Inn, which is attached to the convention center and can handle a meeting for up to 550 people in its ballroom; the 257-room Holiday Inn & Suites, which has 21,000 square feet of meeting space in 10 rooms and can seat up to 700; and the 103-room Le St. Germain Suite Hotel, which is connected by skyway to the convention center and can handle up to 250 people in its ballroom for a meeting.
Three blocks away from the convention center, 912 Regency Plaza event center reopened this spring with space for up to 370 people. The downtown area is also home to Lake George, the site of the Summer by George free concert series, and a series of historic saloons that are part of a special Pub Crawl tour offered by Stearns History Museum, which preserves county history.
The Mississippi River is favored by locals for fishing and canoeing; and on its banks, across from St. Cloud State University, is Munsinger & Clemens Gardens, a 21-acre sanctuary that includes a range of formal and informal gardens. When it comes to special event venues, Munsinger & Clemens Gardens is one of the most popular because it can host a gathering of up to 50 people at its riverside location. In addition, St. Cloud has five golf clubs with event space, including Blackberry Ridge Golf Course event center, which can host an event for 300 people, and five event centers, including The Grands at Mulligan's, with space for 300 people in its ballroom and 175 in its Grand Lodge.
When meeting delegates are looking for a place to eat, St. Cloud can provide a broad range of cuisines. For exotic flavors, there is Fuji Sushi & Steakhouse, an authentic Japanese Hibachi grill and lounge, and Cafe Renaissance, serving pan-Mediterranean cuisine from the region stretching from Italy and France, to Turkey and Morocco. For local flavors, try Anton's, which began life as a speakeasy in the 1920s and is famous for its barbecue ribs; Boulder Tap House, for burgers, wings and 41 beers on tap; or Grizzly's Wood-Fired Grill, known for its grilled Salmon and signature Bear Creek Pasta.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user: WikiMRVM.R.Voigt