It’s no surprise how Michigan’s second largest city got its “Furniture City” nickname: Still today, Grand Rapids is home to five of the world’s top office furniture companies. But the city offers more than carpentry. It provides a safe, walkable environment where nearly “everything, including 90 restaurants, is within five blocks of the convention center,” says George Helmstead, executive VP at the CVB.
Large groups can use the 1 million-sq.-ft., LEED-certified DeVos Place Convention Center, which is connected by a skywalk to Amway Hotel Collection’s three hotels. Each hotel has ample meeting space of its own. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel has 47,000 square feet of space that can host up to 1,200 people. JW Marriott Grand Rapids has six meeting rooms, including two boardrooms and the 13,500-sq.-ft. International Ballroom. Courtyard Marriott Grand Rapids has 10,000 square feet of space spread across seven meeting rooms, the largest of which can hold 220 people.
Barb Beurkens, events manager at Gordon Food Service Inc., says her attendees consider Grand Rapids a “destination” more so than other cities they’ve visited. “They appreciate [that the city is] clean, safe and boasts great restaurants and nightlife,” she says. “Our customers love the convenience and comfort of the downtown hotels, and many extend their stay to enjoy local attractions, such as ArtPrize.” Beurkens also recommends off-site venues like Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (shown) and the Gerald R. Ford Museum, both of which offer unique meeting spaces. “The gardens are a beautiful backdrop and great place to wander during receptions or breaks, while the museum is an interesting venue with historical significance.”