As the 13th largest metropolitan economy in the U.S., Minneapolis outperforms its peers, including Kansas City, Denver, Indianapolis and Charlotte when it comes to tourist attractions and hospitality. A vibrant food and music scene, world-class museums and theaters, an influx of upcoming hotels and venues— including a Four Seasons in 2022—and the tourist magnet that is the Mall of America, all combine with the great outdoors where scenic lakes abound—providing visitors to the city with many Instagrammable backdrops for any event.

It is no surprise that based on the booking trends we are seeing for 2020 and beyond, Minneapolis made it to the short-list of up-and-coming cities in CWT Meetings & Events’ 2020 Future Trends Report. Minneapolis is the Goldilocks of locations; it’s not too large, crowded or overwhelming, and it’s not too remote, dull and boring. It has everything a modern city can offer, at prices that are more reasonable, and a pace that is much more comfortable.

As expected, hosting the Super Bowl in 2018 greatly increased Minneapolis’ visibility—and the city took every advantage to raise its profile. The Bold North, as we’re now known, takes pride in who we are and what we have to offer. It’s this authenticity that is helping to drive more organizations and people to come experience what the city has to offer—in all kinds of weather.

The successful staging of Super Bowl LII and a host of other big sports events over the years, including NCAA Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, Ryder Cup, World Series, to name a few, have brought not just fans, but potential clients and customers to the city—whether they’re having a great experience on the ground or watching the festivities from wherever they are. With each of these events, the infrastructure improves and the city deepens and grows its talent pool in the event industry. It’s a virtuous cycle that is putting Minneapolis on the map for events. And the cycle continues as events contribute to the Twin Cities by accelerating economic growth, attracting and motivating talent, and serving as a platform to ignite innovation.

Bottom line: Event owners are increasingly looking for experiences—whether in culinary diversity, music and arts, community give back programs, outdoor activities—versus just a place to hold a meeting. Rising destinations like Minneapolis have all these characteristics in common. The Twin Cities are competitive because we have what buyers value in a destination that perhaps they haven’t been to—but now have their sights on.

When executed safely, in-person meetings and events are possible. But it’s been tough for meeting planners across the nation, due to differing state-by-state and even county-by-county guidelines. In some areas, meetings and events have returned a while ago, but for others, it’s hard to imagine what planning a meeting would be like.

 

One of the several new restaurants that popped up mid-pandemic in the Twin Cities culinary scene was Petite León by Duck Soup Hospitality, housed in the old Blackbird Café space. All having worked on separate, successful ventures in the area, Jorge Guzmán, Dan Manosack, Benjamin Rients and Travis Serbus came together to found the hospitality group behind the project.

 

In the wake of a total global crisis, the Meet Minneapolis team got to work. 

Connecting the Community

Last summer, as communities across the state reeled, the CVB launched the “We Need Us!” campaign as a rally cry and reminder on the importance of supporting the businesses that make Minneapolis so unique.

“It really came from this question of, ‘How can we support our community that’s hurting in so many ways and make locals feel comfortable making those choices?’” says senior vice president of destination branding & strategy Courtney Ries.