One World Observatory at the World Trade Center, New York City
TripAdvisor’s latest research into online search activity for hot attractions in the United States has revealed two trends that meeting planners should be pretty familiar with:
1. New attractions and landmarks that reinvent themselves are always popular with business and leisure travelers.
2. Neighborhoods can make the meeting.
While some places listed among TripAdvisor’s hot attractions are parks that are well-suited for leisure travel and attendees with downtime, other spots are perfect for private events that will make meetings planners look like super stars.
Hot Attractions Trending Online
Ranking No. 1 among TripAdvisors’ Top 25 Attractions on the Rise was One World Observatory at the World Trade Center in New York City. The observatory takes over three levels at the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Standing at 1,776 feet, the observatory features 9,000 sq. ft. of rentable event space on the 102nd floor. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offer views in all directions, providing a stunning and unforgettable setting for up to 300 guests.
In September, New York City will observe the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack that devastated Manhattan. The neighborhood has experienced an incredible renaissance with new hotels, fantastic shopping, celebrity chef–owned restaurants and record-breaking attraction openings such as One World Observatory.
“Lower Manhattan’s remarkable revitalization over the last 15 years is a cornerstone of the ‘new’ New York City,” says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “With tourism reaching record levels in New York City, visitors and locals have more choices to explore, shop, stay and dine than ever before in this newly reimagined downtown neighborhood.”
Chicago landed several attractions in the top 25. Coming at No. 2 was Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, a 13-block district for shopping, dining and entertainment. No. 12 was the Chicago 360 observation deck, which is located on the 94th floor of the historic John Hancock Center. Chicago’s observation desk has four spaces for private events, with the entire 94th floor available for buyout and the ability to host up to 550.
Few places in the United States meetings market are hotter than Nashville, Tennessee. Earning the No. 8 spot on TripAdvisor’s list was Grand Ole Opry, a favorite among musicians and music lovers. There’s a VIP backstage tour that is a big hit with groups. The venue, which seats 4,400, is also available for private events. Receptions that take place on the actual stage can host up to 275.
Denver’s Union Station ranked No. 14. It features shops, restaurants and bars. There are a variety of meeting spaces, including 5,400 sq. ft. of function space on the lower level of the station. There’s a 1920s-era gallery that can hold up to 150 for receptions.
In Orlando, Florida, Disney Springs, formally Downtown Disney, came in at No. 16. It has added more than 30 new tenants, including Morimoto Asia, which features chic style, Pan-Asian cuisine and meeting space. Special, customized group dining can be arranged. Disney Springs consists of four neighborhoods—The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center—each with their own distinct look and feel.
In Hollywood, California, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour ranked No. 25 among surging online searches. Groups tours make for an exciting offsite experience when meeting in Southern California. Warner Bros. hosts a variety of galas and special events, especially fundraisers for charitable organizations.