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Four-Season Playground

Colorado’s seasonal nature makes it a colorful chameleon for meetings and events.

By Beth Buehler

Colorado is a year-round destination. Whether your group meets in spring, summer, fall, or winter, there is sure to be something for every preference—from the climate and activities to venue types and budget parameters. While there are towns or regions that are ideal for a specific season, these places are amazing playgrounds for groups any time of year. 

Image of downtown Colorado Springs. May 1, 2023
A sparkling sunrise over Colorado Springs CREDIT Visit Colorado Springs

SPRING

Colorado Springs, the state’s second largest city, offers the best of both worlds: urban action and beautiful mountains as a backdrop. Spring is a terrific time to visit as the leaves unfurl, flowers bloom, the tallest peaks are still snowcapped, and it’s less busy.

“Colorado Springs has wide-open spaces and stunning natural scenery, giving the feeling of a more resort and retreat-like setting,” says Kathy Reak, vice president of sales for Visit Colorado Springs. “Along with over 55 attractions in the area, it provides the attendee with a memorable and relaxing experience.” 

Among the highlights for planners are Colorado Springs Airport, a regional airport that is easy to traverse, and a wealth of top-notch properties throughout the city with appealing accommodations, flexible meeting and event space, and a variety of on-site activities and amenities.

The White Pine Ballroom at Great Wolf Lodge. May 1, 2023
The White Pine Ballroom at Great Wolf Lodge CREDIT Visit Colorado Springs

The Broadmoor, Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, and Garden of the Gods Resort and Club stand out for their spacious grounds, golf courses, spas, and huge range of other activities. A major bonus is that lodging at all three properties is varied and spread out versus being condensed in one building. The Broadmoor’s two Colorado Springs Wilderness Experience properties—The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp—are open May through October. 

Great Wolf Lodge is ideal for when families are joining in, and The Antlers, A Wyndham Hotel, and The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa, are fine options downtown. On a smaller scale—but equally memorable—is The Lodge at Flying Horse that now has 94 guest rooms and four villas, nearly 7,500 square feet of indoor meeting space, and more than 10,000 square feet of outdoor options after a recent expansion. In addition, there is a spa and 36 holes of golf for groups to play a few rounds. 

Guests enjoy a delectable spread with Rocky Mountain Food Tours. May 1, 2023
Guests enjoy a delectable spread with Rocky Mountain Food Tours. CREDIT Visit Colorado Springs

The “City for Champions” initiative for Colorado Springs is creating a major impact on the community with the introduction of five new venues. Four of the five are already open, including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Ed Robson Arena at Colorado College, Weidner Field, and William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center. The first three provide a wide selection of meeting and event spaces to consider. The final project, the new 32,000-square-foot U.S. Air Force Academy Hosmer Visitor Center, is slated for completion in 2024. 

Activities 

» The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

» The Broadmoor’s Seven Falls

» Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

» Flying W Ranch

» Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center

» National Museum of World War II Aviation

» Rocky Mountain Food Tours

» Space Foundation Discovery Center

Beyond-the-Norm Dining Experiences 

» The Airplane Restaurant with a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker

» Dinner on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad

» Food halls including Coati, Ivywild School, and The Well

visitcos.com

SUMMER

Founded in 1859, Golden is the last town in the foothills before entering the Rocky Mountains west of Denver. The huge arch reading “Howdy Folks! Welcome to Golden—Where the West Lives” leads visitors to the center of downtown and is one of the most photographed landmarks in Colorado. Summer is especially lively with free happenings for groups to plug into such as Buffalo Bill Days in July, the Golden Fine Arts Festival in August, Movies & Music in Parfet Park on select Friday evenings July through September, and the Golden Farmers Market on Saturdays from June through early October. 

Aerial view of Golden, Colorado. May 1, 2023
Expansive views in Golden CREDIT F4D Studio / Visit Golden

For a taste of local experiences all year long, stroll the Colorado School of Mines campus, attend a show at the Miners Alley Playhouse, and visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, Colorado Railroad Museum, and Golden History Museum & Park. The Colorado Railroad Museum partners with Table Mountain Inn to host groups on-site with the Table Mountain Station available for groups of 50 to 500. 

Foothills Art Center, Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum, and Boettcher Mansion also are distinct venues that are well-suited for group functions. The mountaintop mansion, built in 1917, was thoughtfully restored and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Meanwhile, Table Mountain Inn, The Eddy Taproom & Hotel, Origin Hotel Red Rocks, and The Golden Hotel are the places to head to for comfortable accommodations, indoor and outdoor event space, and dining options all in one place. 

Outdoor seating at Table Mountain Station. May 1, 2023
Outdoor seating at Table Mountain Station CREDIT Tim Romano

Part of Golden’s rich history is a serious beer scene that dates to 1873 with the establishment of Coors Brewery, which is the world’s largest single-site brewery and offers 60-minute tours and samplings. While Coors may be the largest game in town, the craft brewery scene is hopping as well. Have attendees sign up for the Golden Tap Trail, a mobile passport that guides beverage lovers to 11 breweries, distilleries, and cideries and provides access to special deals.  Another option is the Wild West Pub Crawl with Golden History Tours, which also offers Golden Ghosts & Spirits and the Wild West Walking Tour. 

The terrace at The Eddy Taproom & Hotel. May 1, 2023
The terrace at The Eddy Taproom & Hotel CREDIT The Eddy Taproom & Hotel

“[With] the great outdoor scene (hiking, tubing, fly-fishing, kayaking, and biking), breweries, proximity to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and the mountains, you cannot find a better location than Golden in the summer,” says Deb Brannon, owner of Golden-based Altitude Events LLC. She also recommends taking time for a walk or bike ride along Clear Creek. “You can start from downtown and take the trail all the way up the canyon. It is absolutely gorgeous [and] not to mention a hoot to watch the tubers go down the creek.”

Activities 

» Hiking and cycling trails on Lookout Mountain or North Table Mountain 

» Programs and tours at the National Renewable Energy Lab

» Check out bikes at Golden Bike Library—the first two hours are free

» Water sports on Clear Creek 

Beyond-the-Norm Dining Experiences 

» The Eddy Taproom & Lawn that features live music Friday and Saturday evenings and lawn games 

» The Golden Hotel’s Bridgewater Grill for patio dining overlooking Clear Creek

» Tributary Food Hall & Drinkery with outdoor space and various food options 

visitgolden.com

FALL

Grand Junction and neighboring Palisade in western Colorado are known for their vineyards, orchards, lavender fields, beautiful vistas, and year-round recreation and temperate climate. Evidently, fall is a standout season to visit due to the grape harvest, Colorado Mountain Winefest in September, and mild temperatures for biking the Colorado Riverfront Trail. For those who prefer others beverage types, there are several craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries as well.

The Devil's Kitchen patio at Hotel Maverick on the Mesa Colorado University campus. May 1, 2023
The Devil’s Kitchen patio at Hotel Maverick on the Mesa Colorado University campus CREDIT Hotel Maverick

“Grand Junction’s temperate high-desert climate provides for comfortable temperatures year-round, making it a perfect destination to enjoy the outdoors, no matter what season,” says Elizabeth Fogarty, director of Visit Grand Junction. “From canyons to rivers, mountains, lakes, forest, and desert, it’s the perfect climate and majestic landscape that will leave a lasting impression for your conference guests.” 

Guests enjoying a scenic fall winery experience in Palisade. May 1, 2023
A scenic fall winery experience in Palisade CREDIT Visit Palisade

A prime place for larger groups to meet is in downtown Grand Junction, which is the location of the Grand Junction Convention Center with more than 24,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and four hotels for easy lodging access. Make it a walking conference by using both the convention center and The Avalon Theatre, encouraging attendees to enjoy the boutique shops, trendy restaurants, and the more than 115 sculptures and murals while strolling the tree-lined district. 

The upscale, 60-room Hotel Maverick on the campus of Mesa Colorado University (MCU) is one of the newest properties in town with indoor and outdoor function space, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant. Five miles from MCU and downtown is the larger DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Grand Junction that has 263 guest rooms and nearly 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space.  

Guests freshwater paddleboarding in Grand Junction
Freshwater paddleboarding in Grand Junction CREDIT Visit Grand Junction

Staying and meeting in wine country is also an enticing option. Two Rivers Winery, located in the Redlands area of Grand Junction, has a tasting room, event center, and 10 guest rooms. Wine Country Inn in Palisade can hold larger groups with 80 available guest rooms, a ballroom that can host 150, and 21 acres of vineyards. Its sister property, Grande River Vineyards, is located next door.

The 4.5-acre Maison la Belle Vie Winery is also a standout spot for groups with its vineyard, tasting room, and Amy’s Courtyard event venue that has a barn, gazebo, and large lawn that can host up to 150. 

Activities 

» Colorado National Monument 

» Guided hiking and off-road adventures in Rattlesnake Canyon

» Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range

» Market on Main in downtown Grand Junction on Thursday evenings

» The Museum of the West

» Talbott Farms, grower of fruit and producer of cider and wine 

Beyond-the-Norm Dining Experiences 

» Caroline’s for classic French fare sourced from local ingredients at Wine Country Inn

» James Beard-nominated Josh Niernberg’s Bin 707 Foodbar and Tacoparty restaurants 

» Wine dinners at Maison la Belle Vie Winery in Palisade for groups of 10 or more

visitgrandjunction.com

visitpalisade.com

WINTER

One of the attributes that makes Aspen and Snowmass Village so attractive for groups in the winter is the four ski areas within the 9 miles between the two communities. Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Snowmass are all owned by Aspen Skiing Co., making it a seamless experience to arrange activities, book lodging, or rent meeting space. Aspen Hospitality is the lodging arm of Aspen Skiing Co., which operates the Limelight hotels in Aspen and Snowmass and The Little Nell, a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property in the heart of Aspen.

Aspen Meadows Resort. May 1, 2023
Aspen Meadows Resort CREDIT Salamander Hotels & Resorts

“Aspen and Snowmass set the standard for luxury in the ski industry,” says Dawn Harker, partner at Imprint Events Colorado Resorts. “With roots in the late 1800s, there is an authenticity to the destinations that is unmatched in North American ski resorts. Not just for skiers and snowboarders, Aspen and Snowmass are home to world-class dining, luxury shopping, and a vast array of winter activities.”

Leave plenty of time on the agenda for attendees to stroll downtown Aspen and Snowmass Village’s base area as browsing the shops, checking out the coffeehouses, and sampling the cuisine at local eateries is half the fun. Other hotels with meeting and event space that will put your team close to the action on the slopes are Viceroy Snowmass, Viewline Resort Snowmass, The St. Regis Aspen Resort, W Aspen, and Inn at Aspen. 

Aerial view of Snowmass Village. May 1, 2023
Snowmass Village CREDIT Jeremy Swanson

For an excellent property that is not adjacent to a ski hill but is suited for groups, consider Aspen Meadows Resort. Located on a vast 40 acres of land, the resort shares the grounds with the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit organization committed to creating a free, just, and equitable society. All 98 guest suites are remodeled and are a nod to Bauhaus design, and architect and artist Herbert Bayer’s vision for the property. It’s the latest in a series of notable renovations, which will include improvements to the Walter Isaacson Center and Plato’s Restaurant this fall. 

Guests enjoying Nordic skiing in Snowmass. May 1, 2023
Nordic skiing in Snowmass CREDIT Sam Ferguson

Even in winter, there are a number of outdoor spaces to tap into such as the Fountain Courtyard at The St. Regis Aspen Resort, Nest Bar & Grill at Viceroy Snowmass, and outdoor ice-skating rinks at Snowmass Base Village and Silver Circle Ice Rink in Aspen. “From private events at celebrities’ homes to elevated outdoor adventures, every time you step outside in Aspen and Snowmass, an opportunity for a curated experience presents itself. For the hip and trendy palate, the Aspenx Beach Club is about as cool as it gets,” Harker says. “For a unique dining experience, take a snowcat up Snowmass Mountain to the Lynn Britt Cabin.”

Activities 

» Alpine coaster, tubing, and Ullr Nights (an evening party to celebrate winter) at Elk Camp on Snowmass

» Guided snowshoe tours with Aspen Center for Environmental Studies 

» Indoor and outdoor ice skating

» Nordic skiing 

» Snow bikes for the slopes and fat bikes for the trails 

» Snowmobiling 

Beyond-the-Norm Dining Experiences 

» Horse-drawn sleigh rides to Pine Creek Cookhouse in Ashcroft

» Lunch, après ski, or private events at the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain

» Snowcat Dinners at Cloud Nine Aspen Bistro at Aspen Highlands and Lynn Britt Cabin in Snowmass

aspenchamber.org

gosnowmass.com

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