Sponsored by Visit Mankato
When hosting a meeting, conference or convention, there are many aspects to consider: transportation, adequate meeting rooms, hotels near the venue and additional entertainment all factor in. What’s great about Mankato is that everything is so close, especially in Mankato’s City Center Campus. It has everything you need for a successful and enjoyable event. From ideal accommodations to exciting entertainment and nightlife, the convenience and atmosphere of the City Center Campus make any gathering special and memorable. Below are the top six reasons why Mankato is an accessible and convenient location to host major meetings or conventions.
1. The Verizon Center is the anchor of the City Center Campus. With over 70,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and the capacity to host events for 5 to 6,500 participants, the Verizon Center can accommodate any size event; from meetings, to conventions, to concerts. When you step out of the Verizon Center, you enter the heart of downtown Mankato. The facility is connected by skyway to two hotels and two covered parking ramps. You are just steps away from cuisine and cocktails at nearby restaurants, shopping, and the nightlife of Mankato’s urban core. The Verizon Center consists of the Arena, Convention Center, Banquet Hall, and historic Reception Hall, and the recent expansion has added the Grand Hall and additional meeting rooms. From facilitating big-picture strategy sessions to finding the right menu options, the Verizon Center’s mission is to provide seamless event planning services and unforgettable experiences. Connect with your organization, interact with your clients, and enjoy everything there is to offer at the Verizon Center.
2. Experience Art Out: The CityArtWalking Sculpture Tour allows you to get outdoors for a cultural experience. Venture through the walkable tour of more than 25 sculptures in a variety of mediums on your own, or take the tour as a group. Stroll through City Center Mankato and North Mankato while learning about the sculptures’ artists and the inspiration for each work. The CityArt viewing season is every May through April, when the sculptures are rotated. Vote for your favorite piece and it may stay permanently in the community. CityArt on the Go provides art in unexpected places - which explains why the traffic boxes exhibit colorful murals – and encourages visitors to see if they can spot the public art that may not be so obvious, like a selection of poems stamped on the sidewalks for the WordWalk.
3. Take in a Show: On any given night there are numerous entertainment options at the Verizon Center. The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is one of the groups to call the Verizon Center’s Grand Hall home. Experience a concert under the stars at Riverfront Park’s Vetter Stone Amphitheater, which voted as the No. 4 Best Outdoor Venue in Minnesota by the Star Tribune in 2014. Additionally, within walking distance of the Verizon Center and Riverfront Park are several bars and grills where you can easily find a variety of live music shows to enjoy.
4. Get the Team Together and Escape Work: Day or night, escape rooms are always a cool experience. Use observational and critical-thinking skills and explore the elements of an escape room with your team. Use your communication skills to solve the puzzles that will allow your group to escape—and to solve a mystery. Mankato has two escape rooms for your after-hours conference enjoyment: Old Town Escape and Kato Escape, both located within the City Center.
5. Learn Something New Through Something Old: Submerse yourself in history when you meet in Mankato. Did you know Mankato was originally named “Mahkato,” meaning greenish-blue earth, by its early inhabitants, the Dakota? Learn this and much more when your conference group visits the Blue Earth County Historical Society. It features an interactive history museum dedicated to the heritage of Blue Earth County. Just up the street is the historic R.D. Hubbard House museum, which chronicles the life and times of Mankato flour mill entrepreneur R.D. Hubbard in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sitting quietly on top of Center Street Hill, not far from the Hubbard House, you’ll find the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, a beloved local author of the Betsy-Tacy children’s books. Imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s while visiting the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites on the Discover Deep Valley site tour.
6. Shop Till You Drop: Of course, there’s always shopping after your conference obligations are complete. The Show Your Badge program employs numerous City Center businesses that offer special discounts and bonuses to customers who show their convention badge. For a list of participants, visit citycentermankato.com/showbadge or look for a Show Your Badge window cling. Hilltop Mankato has so many more retail therapy opportunities that you won’t know where to start. With more than 100 stores, the River Hills Mall is easily one of Greater Mankato’s biggest draws.
Sponsored by Visit Mankato
Discover Mankato’s extensive cycling trails, open country roads, downhill slopes and river rapids. While you’re here, you’ll also find just the right combination of small town feel and thriving regional center. Mankato is a hub for arts, entertainment, shopping and nightlife. And it’s all so close. Just a short 75 miles from Minneapolis, Mankato is an easily accessible Minnesota destination of choice. For more information about planning a meeting or convention in Mankato, visit meetinmankato.com. Visit Mankato is an affiliate of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc., which also includes Greater Mankato Growth and City Center Partnership.