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Get to Know … Corvallis

By M+E Staff

This small Oregon city is big on charm and amenities. 

Situated in central western Oregon, tucked between the Cascade and Coastal mountain ranges, Corvallis is in the heart  of Willamette Valley and home to Oregon State University.

Population: 60,000 with Oregon State University students making up about 40% of the population. 

Transportation: The regional Eugene Airport and Portland International Airport, with shuttle service and rental cars available at both locations. There are complimentary public buses around Corvallis. 

Vibe: “We’re a community that celebrates the unconventional, supports all things local, and is passionate about preserving the beauty of our natural resources,” says Christina Rehklau, executive director of Visit Corvallis. The sweet spot for groups here is 200 to 400 attendees.

Must Sees & Dos: Take a hike or a bike ride; Corvallis has more than 60 miles of trails. For an after-meeting day or two of adventure, consider the new Corvallis-to-the-Sea Trail. It’s taken decades to create what’s known as the C2C Trail, which links the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Ocean. 

Visit a winery. There are some 700 wineries in the Willamette Valley, which is known for its world-class pinot noir. Twenty wineries are within 20 miles of Corvallis, including Lumos Wine Company, Cardwell Hill Winery, Tyee Wine Cellars and Bluebird Hill Cellars. Wine tours can be arranged through Traveling Oregon Tours. 

Experience a Goat Happy Hour. This is simply a chance for groups to mingle with the goats at No Regrets Farm and to have the property to themselves. Or head to Thyme Garden Farm for a guided tour of the greenhouses followed by aromatherapy, basket-weaving or herb vinegar workshops and a meal in the garden. A big bonus is the drive to Thyme Garden, which winds past Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the Coast Range. Also, wander downtown Corvallis, filled with independent boutiques, bookstores and cafes.

Hotels: Corvallis has 957 guestrooms. Properties include Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, Comfort Suites and Hotel Corvallis. 

Restaurants: The city’s 112 restaurants place a heavy emphasis on farm-to-table, locally sourced ingredients. Some standout examples include Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery, Castor Kitchen & Bar, Gathering Together Farmstand & Restaurant, and Taco Vino. 

See your donut made right before your eyes at Benny’s Donuts, where flavors include Oregon marionberry, Canadian maple and Willamette strawberry. Indulge your burger cravings at Cheesy Stuffed Burgers or indulge in a meal at a local brewery or distillery. Rehklau suggests one of Block 15’s taprooms, Sky High Brewing Pub and 4 Spirits Distillery. 

The new Common Fields in downtown Corvallis is another great option for groups. It offers a variety of food trucks serving everything from ramen and BBQ to gyros and falafel as well as local beer, cider, meads, wine, hard seltzer and non-alcoholic beverages. Fire pits, heated seats and rain coverage for year-round shelter add to the ambiance of the place. 

Venues: Many restaurants, breweries and wineries have private event space. Larger venues include LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State (40,000 square feet), CH2M HILL Alumni Center at Oregon State (16,000 square feet), Benton County Fairgrounds (11,000 square feet), The Vue (7,000 square feet), Corvallis Community Center (7,000 square feet) and Courtyard by Marriott Corvallis (2,000 square feet). A multitude of sports venues are available for additional trade show and conference space. 

How the CVB Helps:  Visit Corvallis offers a 30-minute “virtual FAM trip” on its website to introduce meeting planners to the city’s lodging options, venues, activities and more. The website also invites planners to submit an RFP, and the CVB will assist with contacting hotels and venues and pulling together bids. Once the event is booked, Rehklau’s team can assist with arranging activities, providing visitor information and materials, and hosting a welcome table at conferences.