Maybe it's symbolic that the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers so naturally convene in Grand Junction. There's certainly a majestic allure to this place that falls in the shadow of the red-rock walled Colorado National Monument: the activity afforded by natural wonders, the generous space (outdoors and in), the accessibility of acclaimed cuisine and entertainment. For meeting and event planners, every one of Grand Junction's varied elements blends to create a natural choice for gatherings.
1. Start Planning
The Visit Grand Junction is a one-stop resource for meeting and event planners. Collect information on meeting sites and services, lodging, itinerary development, group tours and activities. The VCB also provides a variety of free and fee services including information hospitality tables, media and publicity assistance, welcome letters, welcome packets, registration assistance and name badges.
A note on accessibility: Grand Junction Regional Airport is served by United Airlines from Denver; American Airlines from Phoenix; American Airlines from Dallas/Ft. Worth; and Allegiant Airlines from Las Vegas and Los Angeles. On the most popular route of Amtrak in the nation, Grand Junction provides easy access by meeting attendees and event-goers traveling from across the country. Planners will also find all of the major rental car companies in the destination.
With more than 73,000 square feet of meeting space and 2,500 guest rooms, Grand Junction invites groups of all sizes.
Downtown's Two Rivers Convention Center and The Avalon Theatre, a full-service facility for trade shows, conventions, meetings, banquets, concerts and catered events, accommodates up to 2,300 people in over 23,000 square feet of meeting space.
Adjacent to the Convention Center, planners will find the Hampton Inn, with 80 guest rooms and 850 square feet of meeting space. The 70-room Main Street Suites Hotel, Grand Junction's only all-suites property, offers 1,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Interstate-70 and Horizon Drive region offers many other meeting opportunities, including the area's largest hotel, the Clarion Inn Grand Junction, with 291 guest rooms and 8,500 square feet of meeting space.
Horizon Drive is also home to the six-story, 158-room Grand Vista Hotel with over 2,600 square feet of meeting space; the Doubletree Hotel with 273 renovated rooms and nearly 13,000 square feet of meeting space; and the Country Inns of America with 140 spaciously renovated rooms, over 10,000 square feet of meeting space and plans to add a new business center.
Planners can also include the new Residence Inn by Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott, with a total of 240 rooms and meeting space to their facility choices.
2. Create Your Itinerary
Home to over 18 award-winning wineries, Grand Junction's wine country offers offsite venue options just minutes from downtown. The Two Rivers Winery & Chateau presents a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a family owned and operated working winery, a 10-room inn, a 5,000-square-foot conference and special events center and an outdoor pavilion.
Or, treat the group to a winemaker's dinner at one of the area wineries, such as Grande River Vineyards or the Chateau at Two Rivers.
For a more casual encounter, take a leisurely driving tour to sample Grand Junction's "wines with altitude." Get some group exercise while tantalizing taste buds by bicycling to the vineyards. End with a picnic lunch among the grape vines.
Chandler Smith, tour director of Ride The Rockies (a 2,000-person, cross-state bicycle tour held in a different part of Colorado each year), encourages meeting planners to take advantage of Grand Junction's great outdoors, saying, "We've started the ride in Grand Junction four times, and always look forward to bringing the event back for several reasons: The city and the VCB have always been outstanding hosts. The lodging properties have been great to work with. And, there's extensive, outstanding riding terrain in the area." Planners can find other scenic trails for biking and hiking with their groups (more about this below under "Natural Intrigue") or arrange for rounds of golf at one of five public courses, including Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, Tiara Rado Golf Course and Chipeta Golf Course.
For more outdoor adventure, try an afternoon hike to the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Or visit the red-rocked canyons of the Colorado National Monument, where groups can witness the 21,500-acre tribute to nature's 1.7-billion-year-old rock artistry. Whitewater rafting presents a teambuilding challenge for any group tumbling down the Westwater Canyon together, known for some of the best whitewater in the U.S.
In Grand Junction, even dining is an adventure. Plan a dine-around or another special event at area restaurants. Indulge in authentic Italian at il Bistro Italiano. Sample American fare at Red Canyon Grille at the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa. Savor steak and seafood at Rockslide Restaurant & Brewery or The Winery. Even teambuilding can assume a culinary flavor when groups enroll in cooking classes with local, professional chefs.
Shopping and Entertainment
A group trip to Grand Junction's historic downtown reveals a carefully preserved district with unique shops, restaurants and entertainment. For more shopping and entertainment options, consider the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra or Mesa Mall, the area's largest regional shopping center.