Welcome to the Meeting and Event Planning Guide for Tri-Cities, an area guide for meeting professionals. Comprised of Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland, Washington State's Tri-Cities is a metropolitan area that has maintained much small-town charm and a wealth of outdoor activities, thanks to its more than 300 sunny days a year and a location at the confluence of the Snake, Yakima and Columbia Rivers. While the area is a hotbed for water sports and recreation, it's also within easy reach of the major population centers of the Pacific Northwest - two hours' drive from Spokane and a 3.5-hour drive from both Seattle and Portland. The Tri-Cities also sits in the heart of Washington Wine Country, which offers more than 200 wineries within a 60-mile radius. Aside from its convenient Pacific Northwest location, meeting planners choose the Tri-Cities area for its green-power industries, variety of recreation-rich unique venues and eclectic shopping and dining scene. Groups also favor the numerous green spaces, including the 23-mile paved Sacagawea Heritage Trail, which runs along the Columbia River and connects the cities and parks.
Visitors and residents alike can easily get around the Tri-Cities area, thanks to its Ben Franklin Transit system, which operates 22 bus routes throughout the Tri-Cities and surrounding region. The Tri-Cities Airport provides air service to the southeast Washington and northeast Oregon region, serving more than 250,000 direct flights each year to Seattle, San Francisco, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, Las Vegas and Mesa, Arizona. Meeting planners appreciate the airport's convenient Pasco location, which sits less than nine miles from the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
Nestled in Kennewick's Vista Entertainment District, the aptly named, 75,000-square-foot Three Rivers Convention Center offers 33,000 square feet of flexible meeting space on one level, as well as a 21,600-square-foot Great Hall, a 14,000-square-foot Grand Foyer and nine breakout rooms that total 13,000 square feet. Delegates can easily reach 763 hotel rooms within a few blocks of the sleek, modern convention center, as well as walk to a variety of restaurants or gather in the on-site Internet cafe in between or after meetings.
Beyond its Three Rivers Convention Center, the Tri-Cities area is home to a variety of unique venues that offer spaces perfect for group gatherings and events, as well as free parking. Situated in the heart of Kennewick, next door to the convention center, the Toyota Center hosts more than 150 meeting and arena events each year. When it's not hosting the Western Hockey League's Tri-Cities Americans and the Indoor Football League's Tri-Cities Fever, the 7,000-seat center features up to 27,000 square feet of exhibit space and 3,000 square feet of banquet space. A second sports arena option for groups, Gesa Stadium in Pasco is the home of the Tri-Cities Dust Devils, affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and 2007, 2009 and 2011 Northwest League East Division Champions. Groups can gather for barbecues at Dusty's Deck and Dusty's Bullpen or reserve the Lamb Weston Hot Corner, which offers up to 50 field level seats between the third base dugout and bullpen.
For a group outing with a view, Columbia River Journeys specializes in jet boat tours of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, as well as the Hanford Reach National Monument, or the last free-flowing section of the Columbia River in the United States. Groups of up to 22 people can board the 28-foot Chinook Wind, while groups of six can gather on the 20-foot Arid Breeze. Terra firma events can be held at Terra Blanca, an award-winning winery on Red Mountain. The winery welcomes groups to take part in tours of its extensive underground barrel cave system, as well as features 8,000 square feet of banquet space and 2,000 square feet of outdoor event space. For an event on the links or overlooking the links, groups can choose from the area's number of powerhouse golf courses. Tri-Cities is home to seven courses and two championship putting courses, including Canyon Lakes Golf Course, which not only offers the largest green in the Pacific Northwest, but also enjoys the title of highest ranked golf course in Washington by Golf Digest. The area's mild year-round climate and abundance of sunny days allow Tri-Cities golf courses to stay open nearly every day of the year.