By Beth Buehler
Colorado has an abundance of unique meeting venues, and the variety just keeps growing and getting better! Just a quick glimpse at Destination Colorado’s membership roster reveals several unique meeting venues and options to demonstrate this point and help meeting and event planners stir up new ideas for amazing gatherings.
A Diverse Mix
What better place to start than the unique meeting venues that don’t really fall into a distinct category?
Founded in 1898 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2006, Chautauqua in Boulder is a place rich in history and possibilities. With breathtaking views and a picturesque settings across 26 acres, it’s the perfect place for a corporate retreat, destination wedding, family reunion and more. Chautauqua venues can host groups of 10 to 150, and there are 58 historic cottages for accommodations, catering services and a dining hall that offers three meals a day.
Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC) is the largest performing arts complex under one roof, and the second-largest center of its kind in terms of number of venues and seating capacity. There are 10 performance spaces on its four-block, 12-acre site in the heart of downtown Denver. Highlights among the Denver Center for the Performing Arts rental venues are Seawell Ballroom (10,000 sq. ft.), Directors Room (1,600 sq. ft. with a large patio) and theatres ranging from 185 to 750 seats.
Located along the Fraser River in Winter Park, Headwaters Center was built from a reclaimed Civil War-era timber barn and is an off-the-power-grid meeting venue. Located on the two upper stories, the Reception Hall (4,400 sq. ft.) and Higher Minds Loft (1,550 sq. ft.) can be utilized together or separately for corporate meetings, seminars, retreats, celebrations and more. Added bonuses are a 2,800-square-foot outdoor terrace, 5,600-square-foot amphitheatre venue, and Headwaters River Journey on the first floor with 31 interactive exhibits about Colorado’s rivers, environment and wildlife.
Guest Ranches make unique meeting venues in Colorado! Bob and Suzanne Fanch, who were instrumental in the establishment of Headwaters Center, also own Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in nearby Tabernash. The year-round resort is situated on 6,000 acres at the base of the Continental Divide and can host group gatherings from 10 to more than 200 attendees. Lodging is available in two lodges and upscale cabins, and there are two restaurants, a coffee shop, a large menu of activities and a wide variety of indoor and outdoor venues, including two Civil War-era barns.
Farther north in Grand County near Granby, C Lazy U Ranch is an ideal mountain destination for business retreats, meetings and team-building events. The ranch celebrated 100 years in 2019 and delivers five-star experiences and venues in a serene setting. C Lazy U can accommodate groups of up to 95 in a variety of meeting and event spaces that encompass more than 8,000 square feet. For example, the fairly new Latigo Meeting Room and adjacent Wine Room are ideal for a meeting, private banquet event or wine tasting. There are 40 guest accommodations, including individual rooms and upscale cabins.
Located in the Rocky Mountains only 35 miles west of Denver, the town of Black Hawk has two large casinos with expansive facilities for groups. Ameristar Casino Resort Spa has 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, along with 536 guest rooms and suites, a rooftop pool, a spa, and five dining and entertainment venues.
Monarch Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk is expanding to a 516-room hotel and spa with four new restaurants. Highlights include more than 5,100 square feet of meeting space with views, a rooftop pool, and a spa. Among the guest rooms are 106 suites, including two 2,100-square-foot hospitality suites and two penthouse suites.
Fairgrounds & Event Centers
Arapahoe County Fairgrounds and Event Center is home to the annual county fair as well as a variety of trade shows, receptions, festivals, conferences, animal shows and more. Highlights include more than 48,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, a covered arena, rodeo arena, 4,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space, and a 110-acre park.
One of the most unique spaces at the fairly new, 33,000-square-foot Estes Park Event Center is the Silo Meeting Room that holds up to 15 people. It is truly in a silo! There is a 25,800-square-foot Event Hall, two-story Grand Lobby, Executive Boardroom, and a pavilion next door with a covered patio.
1STBANK Center in Broomfield can host gatherings of 50 to 6,500 people and accommodate shows, live music, sporting events, meetings, weddings and more. The layout options are diverse and include outdoor space and VIP suites.
Palisade has the Wine Country Inn is an 80-room, Victorian-style boutique hotel located in the heart of Colorado’s wine country not far from Grand Junction. Nestled in the middle of 21 acres of working vineyards, the inn is within walking distance of two wineries and a short drive or bike ride from two dozen more. With an abundance of local agricultural products, the property’s executive chef specializes in seasonal field-to-fork creations. A complimentary afternoon wine reception features the inn’s private label wines crushed from the grapes grown right outside the doors.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.