Situated in the heart of the Midwest, Central Illinois brims with charming communities that provide affordable meetings options.
Draws include the historical and cultural riches of Springfield; meetings-friendly hotspots such as Peoria’s downtown, which has major changes on its horizon; strong performing arts and culinary offerings, including those in the university communities of Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal; and unique attractions, such as the Chevrolet Hall of Fame in Decatur.
Springfield is the capital of Illinois and an ideal convention and meeting destination offering a unique balance of business and pleasure, according to Gina Gemberling, director of sales at the Springfield CVB (SCVB). Plus, its central location bodes well for attendance, and the SCVB is available to help planners every step of the way.
“Planning the perfect event takes more than finding the right venue,” she says. “Your Springfield ‘Go To’ team specialist understands the scope of planning both large and small events and will offer you a menu of complimentary services that can help you plan even the most complex event with ease.”
Springfield boasts more than 4,000 hotel rooms in three distinctive convention areas.
The historic downtown Springfield area is home to the Prairie Capital Convention Center, which is connected to the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center and adjacent to the Hilton Springfield. The Crowne Plaza Springfield resides in the Lake Springfield area. And at the Illinois State Fairgrounds are the Expo Building and other facilities that accommodate everything from exhibits to presentations and lectures.
Gemberling adds that Springfield offers meeting planners truly unique opportunities for special off-site gatherings.
“Many of our historic sites and visitor attractions are available for private functions,” she says, citing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, various Route 66 sites and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex. “Genealogical research is a unique option for planners to consider, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is one of the premier genealogical research facilities in the country. The library also contains a world-class Civil War collection.”
Considering Springfield’s size, its theater scene is exceptional, Gemberling adds, explaining that groups might enjoy a nationally touring Broadway show or musical performance at Sangamon Auditorium or Hoogland Center for the Arts.