By Beth Buehler
Groups can strike it rich when visiting Black Hawk, just as miners once did during Colorado’s Gold Rush, which started there in 1859. Today, the mountain town is the casino gaming capital of Colorado with 17 casinos and more than 200,000 square feet of gaming action. The “gold” is being a fun place to meet with an abundance of restaurants, hotel rooms and meeting and event space.
In 1868, this small town nestled in Clear Creek Canyon was called the “City of Mills” as tons of ore poured in and was processed by the water-powered stamp mills. By 1872, the Colorado Central Railway extended its line to Black Hawk, creating a vital link to the nation’s network of railroads.
Fast forward to the 21st century and a convenient location just 40 minutes west of Denver means it’s easy to get groups from the airport and metropolitan area to Black Hawk for multi-day stays or a day trip. Hire private transportation or purchase tickets for a small group or individuals to head up on the Casino Shuttle that runs to and from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Aurora, Lakewood and Arvada in the Denver area. Once in Black Hawk, there is a free shuttle that runs up and down Main Street.
Black Hawk may occupy less than two square miles and be home to only around 125 residents, but the former mining and mill town has a big presence with beautiful historic structures and thousands of visitors daily, who come to experience the area’s heritage, scenery and entertainment. Central City, only one mile from Black Hawk, is equally as charming as a gaming town rich in history, but it’s Black Hawk that has the best options for hosting groups.
The big news is that Monarch Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk is unveiling its new 23-story, 516-room hotel and spa this fall. As part of the guest-room mix, there are numerous suites, including two 2,100-square-foot hospitality suites and two penthouse suites. Six meeting spaces (including the 3,900-square-foot Crystal Ballroom) will allow the property to host groups of up to 400, and additional highlights include new dining outlets, multiple bars and lounges, a rooftop pool and Spa Monarch. The expanded gaming floor features 1,200 slot machines, 40 table games, a dedicated high-stakes area and a live poker room.
“BIack Hawk is a great destination for meetings and events due to a great Rocky Mountain location only 45 minutes from Denver and 60 minutes from Denver International Airport. All the fun of gaming along with a mountain destination featuring dozens of hiking trails, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and gold panning right outside the door,” says Leslie Milne, director of sales for Monarch Casino Resort Spa.
Another prime property in Black Hawk is the 536-room Ameristar Casino Resort Spa with 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the 5,000-square-foot Summit Ballroom that can hold up to 500 guests. In addition, seven hospitality suites offer approximately 700 square feet of space that is ideal for small receptions. A rooftop pool, full-service day spa and five dining and entertainment venues keep attendees busy before and after meetings.
For some outside time or pre- and post-meeting options, attendees can plug into great hiking and biking trails at Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Golden or drive the 55-mile Peak to Peak Scenic Byway from Black Hawk to Estes Park.
In addition to Black Hawk being a great destination for meetings and events, Colorado as a state offers a broad range of opportunities for groups. And Destination Colorado is dedicated to helping planners find just the right fit for their gatherings!
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 15 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.