Bring joy into your meetings

Joy is contagious. Often joy and happiness are rooted in memorable shared experiences with other people. Using WalletHub’s list of the happiest cities in America, Smart Meetings gathered some of the top locations, venues and locations that are sure to bring a smile to your attendees’ faces.

The Sound of Music in Fremont, California

The Bay Area has a lot to offer meeting professionals within a relatively short distance, except for traffic of course. For planners looking for fun activities to offer their attendees near Fremont, California, Bay Philharmonic is an experience worth checking out. On Oct. 1st, Bay Philharmonic will be hosting its venue’s grand opening with Broadway’s Best, which includes Julius Thomas III, the lead star of Hamilton, as well as Jason Gotay, who appeared in Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, and Lissa deGuzman, who performed in Wicked. The grand opening will include hits from Funny Girl, Sound of Music and Les Misérables.

Fremont, California

Only a few miles from the heart of Silicon Valley, Courtyard Fremont Silicon Valley offers 1,050 sq. ft. of meeting space, two event rooms, a wild selection of food options, high-speed internet, a six-foot built-in screen, an LCD projector and Polycom speakerphone, both available to rent.

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Mystery in San Jose, California

If puzzlement is preferable, meeting planners have the option of inviting attendees to explore Winchester Mystery House. After the death of her husband, Sarah Lockwood Pardee moved to San Jose and began the world’s longest renovation process from 1886 to 1922. At the time of its completion Winchester Mystery House would contain 24,000 sq. ft. of space, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors and 13 bedrooms. Tours are daily and there are also fun, spooky events scheduled throughout the year.

Winchester Mystery House

San Jose is also home to San Jose Convention Center, which features 520,00 sq. ft. of meeting and event space and 43 breakout rooms. There are also 2,200 committable downtown hotel rooms during peak times.

The Joy of Nature in Madison, Wisconsin

After a long day of socializing, attendees may feel inclined to dial it back a few notches. For that they could check out Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which offers visitors a wide variety of activities, including special exhibits, plant sales and live music.

Olbrich Botanical Garden

Located in downtown Madison, The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, guests can get a view of the Wisconsin State Capitol. The Madison Concourse Hotel is 5 miles from Dane County Regional Airport (MSN). It is also within walking distance of the farmer’s market, music venues and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Guest are welcomed to partake in the events such as learning about butterflies, tai chi meditation and yoga.

Fly High in Overland, Kansas

Ever wanted to jump out of an airplane, but sans airplane? Curious groups can check out iFLY, a one-of-a-kind indoor skydiving experience. Attendees can learn how to do stable back flying, rolls, flips, and even participate in some body flight competitions. Visitors can also try out its Flight School and learn about leadership, teamwork and goal setting.

Overland, Kansas

Found near Overland Convention Center, Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center is a short drive from both Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Kansas City. In addition to beautiful views of Overland Park from several of the guest rooms, guests also get an indoor pool and whirlpool, available in the property’s 24-hour fitness center. Planners will have 21,663 sq. ft. of event space at their disposal, 14 event rooms and nine breakout rooms.

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

San Francisco may be an expensive place to live, but there’s one thing that is completely free and worth the time. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco only costs the price of a ride there, or the number of steps you can track on your personal fitness watch. If you happen to be there on a foggy night, the Golden Gate Bridge offers a hauntingly beautiful glow that is perfect for snapshots.

Golden Gate Bridge

In the heart of San Francisco’s busy downtown, Moscone Center offers more than 502,00 sq. ft. of contiguous space, two ballrooms, 82 meeting rooms. It’s also LEED Platinum certified with the largest rooftop solar panels in The City.

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Take a Spin on the Giant Wheel in Irvine, California

If variety is the name of the game, then visitors to Irvine, California, need look no further than Irvine Spectrum Center. The facility offers a range of choices of activities, including dining, shopping and attractions such as the Giant Wheel, an enormous Ferris wheel that features an LED interface with 52,000 energy-efficient lights, as well as a carousel.

kid running toward giant ferris wheel
Giant Wheel in Irvine, California

Marriot Irvine is nearly 4 miles away from Upper Newport Bay and 12 miles from Huntington Beach and a 3-mile drive to UC Irvine. Marriot Irvine has 30,375 sq. ft. of event space, 32 meeting rooms and 20 breakout rooms. The hotel also offers a series of support features such as AV equipment, event and catering services.

A Merry Time in Merriweather

Located in Merriweather District in downtown Columbia, Maryland, offers visitors a wide variety of activities from food, gaming and outdoor activities. In August, a Summer Fit Series will be held for those interested in yoga. On Aug. 3rd, Merriweather District will host Amped in the Park, an on-going series of free weekly live music.

Columbia, Maryland

Merriweather Lakehouse Hotel, Autograph Collection overlooks Lake Kittamaqundi and is located within seven wooded acres. Guests have access to a nearby golf course. Merriweather Lake House Hotel has 12,492 sq. ft. of event space, 10 breakout rooms and six event rooms.

Chase Waterfalls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

In the 90s we were encouraged not to chase waterfalls, but if you find yourself in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you definitely should. Falls Park is a public park found in north central Sioux Falls. The park consists of over 128 acres along the Big Sioux River. On average, about 7,400 gallons of water falls 100 feet per second. Visitors can view from many points of the park, including a five-story observation tower.

Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Convention Center offers a total of 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, 13 meeting rooms, and exhibit halls and ballrooms that total 50,400 sq. ft. The convention center is also attached to Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and Arena.

Set Sail in Burlington, Vermont

After being indoors for so long, it may be fun to invite your attendees outside. In Burlington, Vermont, attendees can venture out to Lake Champlain, sometimes referred to as the Sixth Great Lake. There, they have the ability to participate in fishing, sailing and a private cruise.

Lake Champlain

Champlain College Conference and Event Center is within walking distance of Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace. The center offers a diverse variety of rooms, from Victorian-era to modern. The facility offers 52,766 sq. ft. of meeting space, 60 rooms, a classroom capacity of 270, and 940 sleeping rooms. Attendees will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.