Sited on four rivers, Springfield is one of the largest cities in New England, the main economic powerhouse in the Connecticut River Valley, which is better known as the Pioneer Valley. Home to Smith & Wesson, the world’s largest manufacturer of handguns, the city counts among its inventions basketball and the first U.S. dictionary. Groups can get a taste of these innovations through various Springfield event venues.
The main airport in the area, Bradley International Airport (BDL), is actually in Connecticut, but only 12 miles south of Springfield’s city center. It has flights to just about everywhere in North America, being the second busiest airport in New England after Boston’s Logan.
Wonderfully placed as a meetings destination (roughly equidistant between New York City and Boston) convention venues in Springfield include MassMutual Center, which has a 40,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, 24,500 square feet of meeting space and an 8,000-seat arena; and the Eastern States Exposition, which is more akin to a state fair facility, with 355,000 square feet of exhibit space and a 5,000-seat arena.
Hotel venues in Springfield and nearby include the 269-room Marriott Springfield, which has 11,000 square feet of meeting space, part of which is the 6,050-square-foot Grand Ballroom; the 262-room Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, which has 9,643 square feet of meeting space; the 205-room Holyoke Inn & Conference Center, which has eight meeting rooms, a 5,000-square-foot atrium and two ballrooms, one of them a 4,800-square-foot Grand Ballroom. In nearby Sturbridge is the famous, 109-room Publick House Historic Inn & Country Lodge (only 17 rooms in the historic section), which has a history dating to 1791, 12 meeting rooms and banquet space for 225 persons. At the airport, the 237-room Sheraton Hartford Hotel Airport at Bradley, in Windsor Locks, CT, has 15 meeting rooms and 4,032 square feet of meeting space.
With its New England, pioneer-spirit atmosphere, Springfield has excellent venues of unique character, among them being the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which has a 200-seat auditorium, a boardroom and 80,000 square feet dedicated to function space; Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, which has 8,000 square feet of tropical butterflies, an atrium for 100 persons and a cafe for 60; imposing Springfield Armory National Historic Site, which stopped being an active military post in 1968 after a history dating back to George Washington, and, in Holyoke, Wisteriahurst Museum, which was built in 1874 and has gorgeous grounds and the beautiful Music Room for events. Mega-functions can be hosted at Six Flags New England.
Food is solid if not distinctive here. Restaurants to choose from include the good, American-grub Max’s Tavern, which has private dining at the Chef’s Table and in the Crown Room and is next door to the basketball hall of fame; German-influenced Student Prince Cafe & The Fort Dining Room, which has the Heidelberg Room for up to 85 persons; Theodore’s Booze, Blues & BBQ, which has live blues music and a barbecue menu; Cal's Wood-Fired Grill & Bar, which has a private dining room for 60 persons, and, in nearby Agawam, Federal, which has a private dining room for 70 persons.