The booming Northwest corridor of the Minneapolis Metro—containing the cities of Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center—is a location that checks off all the boxes on a meeting planner’s “must have” list. Close to downtown? Just 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Lots of meeting space? Almost 200,000 square feet in the three-city area. Hotel rooms? Nearly two dozen hotels call the area home. Nearby activity possibilities? Topgolf, WhirlyBall and two pro golf courses, plus The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.
“We’re a destination that even Minneapolis locals like to visit,” says Megan Diaz, senior business development manager for Minneapolis Northwest Tourism. In addition to all those great amenities, Diaz explains the solid financial reasons to consider booking a meeting or event in Northwest Minneapolis.
“We have event assistance funds set aside to use as incentives for a first-time booking in our area. In other locations, those funds are earmarked just to assist with transportation, but we allow them to be used for anything— shuttles, cocktail receptions, attendee swag bags and more,” she says. “The only stipulation is that it has to be a new event for our area.”
Diaz says her group is especially knowledgeable about the area’s hotels, venues and fun things to do. “We’re a one-stop shop for planners and our services are free,” she says. “We don’t send you off to do research on your own. We’ll talk with you and make recommendations that are a good fit for your group. If you just want to come in for an opening event or a team-building activity at Topgolf, for example, we can show you around and help arrange that,” she says. “The sky’s the limit.”
Not only is it a rustic and beautiful conference and event center minutes north of downtown Minneapolis, but the Earle Brown Heritage Center is also an ideal location for meeting planners, says Bruce Ballanger, manager.
The center was built in the late 1800s and is now owned by the city of Brooklyn Center. “We have everything you need right on-site, including free parking, free Wi-Fi and on-site catering,” he says. With 40,000 square feet spread across 19 different spaces, the center can accommodate groups from 10-1,000 participants. During the spring and summer seasons, events can take advantage of the center’s 80,000 square feet of courtyard space. “We have two fountains, a large patio, lots of green space,” he says. “We do many breakouts and team-building sessions out there. You don’t feel like you’re in the middle of the city when you’re in our courtyard.”
Ballanger adds that his staff is beloved by meeting planners, who look forward to seeing the same friendly faces year after year. “When you recognize the people you’ll be working with, it’s calming and reassuring,” he says.
A highlight of any Earle Browne event is the food. “The quality, value, consistency and taste of our food earn us high reviews,” he says, noting the center’s repeat business for corporate events is 93 percent. “Our corporate business is built on our valued relationships with meeting planners. We want them to look good and to come back every year, and we want their businesses to grow and do well.”
Even people who have never swung a golf club enjoy being part of the fun at Topgolf Minneapolis – Brooklyn Center, which is popular with groups of all sizes. The venue, located right off two major highways, is only 10 minutes north of downtown Minneapolis. “We’re already booking holiday events for 2019 and 2020,” says Director of Sales Adam Skibek.
Topgolf’s largest event space can fit 250 theater-style and 170 with seated round tables. “We have function rooms on all three floors and we can host a full-floor buyout for 200- 300 guests,” he says. “We can also accommodate large outings up to 1,000 people if planners are interested in renting the entire venue. For warmer weather, the rooftop terrace accommodates 300 guests.”
If you’re wondering about the ability to golf in one of the coldest major metropolitan areas in the United States, Topgolf already has figured that. “We have high-powered heaters that keep the temperature warm in the winter months,” he says. “Guests are really impressed with the heaters, and it’s made all the difference.”
WhirlyBall Twin Cities
For an active team outing that will be a new experience for participants, consider booking the courts at WhirlyBall Twin Cities. “The sport is a combination of basketball, lacrosse and hockey, and it’s played in bumper cars,” says Nick Lambrecht, owner. “Just being in a bumper car is fun, and when you add in the competitive aspect of a game, it elevates the experience to another level. It’s also nice from corporate standpoint because it’s so equalizing. No one goes into it as an expert.”
The facility has a full restaurant with what Lambrecht describes as a “chef-driven kitchen,” and a full bar with 17 beers on tap. Dining options include everything from scratch-made pizzas and sandwiches to steaks and salmon. With capacity for 800 people, the space includes two courts, a laser tag arena, pool table and dart boards. Lambrecht has recently added a new option, the Enigma Adventures: Escape Room Games.
Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
This property says it “offers the excitement of the city from the tranquility of the suburbs.” Conveniently located near The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Minneapolis Marriott Northwest has 34 event rooms and 62,203 square feet of meeting space. The largest space, the Northland Ballroom, accommodates 728 guests theater-style. You can also book the Elm Creek Amphitheater, in the only hotel amphitheater in the Twin Cities, which seats 140 attendees.