It’s not surprising that Indianapolis was named one of the six cities to watch in 2017, according to Condé Nast Traveler. With a growing, vibrant culinary scene, world-class museums, a wide variety of outdoor activities, and major developments on the horizon, Indy’s momentum is garnering national attention. And as a city that was specifically designed to host events, Indy provides planners with endless options of unorthodox meeting spaces.
Right outside the doors of the Indianapolis Convention Center and major hotels, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an art-lined urban greenway, connects visitors with the city’s six cultural districts. Organizers can also book group bike tours for conferences. “We provide tours to large and small groups and can customize tours depending on what the group wants,” Kären Haley, executive director of the Cultural Trail, told Convene.
It’s easy to incorporate happy hour into active teambuilding with HandleBar — Indy’s mobile pub. With capacity for up to 128 riders at a time on eight bikes, the Cultural Trail gives attendees the chance to explore the city at their own pace. Visitors can go on the suggested route through the heart of downtown around iconic Monument Circle, past boutique shopping and local hotspots lining Mass Ave, and by some of the best major sports venues in the country.
“Large groups can use our bikes just as smaller groups do, taking a tour of our beautiful city and stopping at areas of interest with a pub or two along the way for a break and to refuel,” HandleBar owner Steve Lindsay said. “It’s amazing how it brings people together from all over the world in a matter of minutes.”
Another scenic way to bring people together is to take to the water. Old World Gondoliers recently added a nine-seat electric boat to its fleet of Venetian gondolas, which operate Central Canal cruises in Indy’s White River State Park. “Companies have immediately jumped on board with having their meeting on the yacht,” Jeff Hutson, director of Old World Gondoliers, said. “The visuals are beautiful, it’s still private, and it gives everybody this close proximity around a table, where they have the ability to have their meeting but also be in this beautiful environment and see the downtown district. It’s a very unique way to hold business.”
Or if attendees would rather unwind in a more tranquil locale, there’s A Place to Float, the city’s new float spa, across the street from the convention center, featuring a think tank program and meeting space. Visitors can relax in large salt pools in a “luxurious and soothing” environment, according to the site, before coming together to brainstorm. The positive effects of a soak include relief from inflammation, pain, and stress. The modern and minimalist setting is a chic backdrop for events.
“Floating, while gaining in popularity, is still a rather unknown and novel experience,” A Place to Float co-founder Lisa Whitman said. “It’s perfect for groups who want to have a very unique outing.”
Group offerings include yoga and meditation and a writing and art workshop, where visitors can paint and craft in between floats. They also provide food and drinks for guests. Beautycounter, an all-natural beauty products line, held a growth and mindfulness think tank at the venue. “It included yoga, floating, and a goal-setting workshop,” co-founder Aaron Douglas said. Other conferences held in the city have utilized the space for spa days for attendees, complete with mimosas.
“Our staff prides itself on being welcoming, professional, and discreet,” Whitman said. “We’re a group of highly dedicated business owners who love Indianapolis and want to enhance the downtown community.”