20 New Venues for Business Events
The already hectic pace of today’s marketplace continues to accelerate exponentially. Yet the rules of civility still suggest that we slow down, take time to express our gratitude to rock-star clients, esteemed colleagues and loyal partners, and celebrate our mutual success. To help you plan an exclusive reception at a stately Georgian mansion, a black-tie gala at a historic armory, or a private concert at an iconic theater, we’ve curated a selection of 20 unique event venues. They are newly renovated, under new management or new additions to the Twin Cities.
1) 514 Studios Event Center
Minneapolis For people planning the company holiday party, impress your most urbane colleagues with a fashionable, SoHo-style soirée at the 514 Studios Event Center in Minneapolis. Often used as a commercial photography and video studio, this expansive 3,000-square-foot warehouse space is one block east of Washington Avenue in the heart of the North Loop, arguably the hippest, hottest neighborhood in the Twin Cities. The very Instagrammable main studio space, which features tall, barrel-vaulted ceilings, exposed rafters, a rustic brick wall, concrete floors and a fully furnished prep kitchen for caterers, holds up to 200 revelers for a cocktail party or up to 150 guests for a sophisticated seated dinner. The Green Room, a smaller space with modern and vintage furniture, is also available for pre-party cocktails and photo ops.
514 N. Third St.,
Suite 101, Minneapolis,
2) The Armory
Minneapolis If this year’s fundraising goals include expanding the guest list to include a younger, hipper crowd, attracting top entertainment and creating buzz, consider holding your annual gala at the Armory in downtown Minneapolis, a breathtaking landmark space that holds up to 8,000 guests. Originally built in the 1930s for the National Guard, the Armory has a long and colorful history. In addition to serving as a military training and storage facility, it was the setting for Prince’s “1999” music video and Aerosmith’s 1998 recording of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” After a two-year, multimillion-dollar renovation that added state-of-the-art AV systems, dazzling light shows, tiered balconies, VIP suites and other amenities, the Armory has played host to Pink, Imagine Dragons, Jennifer Lopez and the Players’ Ball as part of the Super Bowl LII festivities.
500 S. Sixth St.,
Wayzata When you’re called on to create an extraordinary celebration for an exceptional individual, Bellecour in Wayzata is the choix parfait. Owned by Gavin Kaysen, James Beard Award-winning chef and friend of Daniel Boulud and Paul Bocuse, this modern French bistro and boulangerie opened last year on the footprint of Blue Point, Muffuletta on the Lake and Chouette. After a thoughtful renovation with exquisite finishes and colorful wallpaper that channels Chouette’s whimsical 1970s spirit, Bellecour has become a favorite of Lake Minnetonka locals, as well as high-profile foodies like NBC weather anchor Al Roker. Hidden behind lustrous green curtains, the private Garden Room offers seating for up to 28 guests, views of the outdoor patio and irresistible aromas that emanate from Muffuletta’s original hearth oven. Inspired by classic Lyonnaise cuisine, menu highlights include the sparkling fresh fruits de mer, duck a l’orange, crème brûlée and other classics.
739 Lake St. E.,
4) The Blaisdell
Minneapolis If you’ve been given the honor of organizing an elegant reception for an esteemed client or colleague, go above and beyond the call of duty and order hand-engraved invitations. Have them hand-delivered to your guests, requesting their presence at the Blaisdell, a stately red-brick Georgian mansion-turned-event venue on Blaisdell Avenue, so-named for the Blaisdell brothers, early pioneers and lumbermen from Maine, who helped shape the land south of downtown Minneapolis. Built in 1915, the mansion was fully renovated in 2016 and reopened under new management in 2017. In addition to exquisite, 18-foot vaulted ceilings, magnificent staircases, hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplaces and other period details, the venue offers an array of gracious event spaces. The front parlor holds 50 to 70 guests, the Great Room holds 140 to 150 guests, and the grand Ballroom, which was added to the mansion in the 1950s, holds 250 to 800 guests.
2322 Blaisdell Ave.,
5) Five Event Center
Minneapolis This venue is an unusual, only-in-Minneapolis setting in which to entertain your favorite clients and partners from out of town. You can book a memorable private party at this intimate venue in the former Minneapolis Fifth Precinct in Uptown, less than a dozen blocks east of Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska. After a complete renovation, which added state-of-the-art technology, luxurious finishes, contemporary lighting, mirrors and art, the iconic 1895 building retains a wealth of original architectural details, including “Fifth Precinct” carved into the stone façade, a graceful stone staircase, exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. The two-story venue holds up to 375 guests with a lower-level cocktail lounge and a spacious second floor for seated dinners, an elevator and an outdoor patio.
2917 Bryant Ave. S.,
6) The Hewing
Minneapolis An authentic Minnesota spirit of place radiates at the Hewing, the unofficial epicenter of the white-hot North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis. Situated at the corner of Washington and North Third Avenues, the six-floor boutique hotel opened in 2016 in the historic Jackson Building, which once housed a farm implement showroom and warehouse. After a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Hewing’s rustic-industrial aesthetic perfectly reflects the zeitgeist of the surrounding Warehouse District, with tall ceilings, rough-hewn beams, brick walls hung with local art, a cozy library and a rooftop social club with a sauna and spa pool. Choose from a variety of meeting spaces, including the Jackson Boardroom, which seats up to 10 guests, the Commissioner Boardroom, which holds up to 32 guests, and the Andrews Ballroom, which holds up to 176 guests.
300 N. Washington Ave.,
7) The Hotel Landing
Wayzata If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary venue for a memorable breakfast meeting, ask your clients to meet at the Hotel Landing in Wayzata, an irresistible invitation on a summer morning. Now embarking on its second year, this natty new boutique hotel just north of the Wayzata Yacht Club is the first hotel to open around Lake Minnetonka in more than 50 years. In addition to approximately 100 luxurious guest rooms and suites and the ninetwentyfive restaurant, named after the hotel’s address and helmed by high-profile local chef Lenny Russo, the Hotel Landing offers 4,100 square feet of meeting spaces that accommodate up to 225 guests. Take your meeting on ninetwentyfive’s outdoor patio, or for total privacy, book a meeting room in the hotel and select from a menu of sweet and savory breakfast specialties created by Russo.
925 Lake St. E.,
8) J. W. Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America
Bloomington If you’re planning an important partner conference, groundbreaking executive summit or innovative industry expo, eschew the same-old, same-old convention destinations in favor of the spectacular J.W. Marriott at Mall of America (MOA), the largest mall in the country. On the north side of MOA and an easy light-rail ride from the airport and downtown Minneapolis, the luxurious hotel was part of the mall’s recent $325 million expansion. Designed to provide guests with a seamless and luxurious event experience, the hotel features 321 modern rooms and 21 suites, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, easy access to MOA’s shops and entertainment, and 20,000 square feet of event space, including a lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows, boardrooms, meeting rooms and, the pièce de résistance, the breathtaking Diamond Ballroom. Illuminated by dazzling, jewelry-inspired chandeliers, the ballroom, which seats 1,700 guests, is one of the largest event spaces in the Twin Cities.
2141 Lindau Lane,
9) The Hutton House
Medicine Lake Clear the calendar and treat everyone to a retreat at the Hutton House, a brand-new event venue that’s only 10 minutes west of downtown Minneapolis but a world away from the urban hubbub. By Medicine Lake between Golden Valley and Plymouth, the Hutton House opened late last year. Designed with a sophisticated modern farmhouse aesthetic, the 12,500-square-foot facility features vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, white shiplap paneling, concrete floors, modern light fixtures and contemporary furnishings in bold, bright colors. Choose from the Lakeside Room, which holds up to 300 guests, the Fireside Room, which holds up to 150 guests, or the lush private Outdoor Courtyard, which holds up to 300 guests and can be tented for autumn and winter events.
10715 S. Shore Drive,
Minneapolis If your work team could benefit from a fresh perspective, book a meeting of the minds at Lab, an inspiring venue on Hennepin Avenue around the corner from Loring Park. On the third floor of a turn-of-the-last-century building that once housed the glamorous Stutz Bearcat sports car showroom, the airy space has tall ceilings, white walls, a concrete floor, skylights and large windows that overlook the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Intimate and inviting with a clean, minimal aesthetic, Lab offers a restful backdrop for innovative collaborations, ideation sessions, workshops, photo shoots and other creative initiatives. The space accommodates 30 to 50 guests with large farmhouse tables, a lounge area with sofa and chairs, a kitchen area for storing and prepping food, and other amenities.
1629 Hennepin Ave.,
11) Leopold’s Mississippi Gardens
Brooklyn Park Your team can enjoy a priceless Minnesota summer day in nature without traveling up north. Schedule a company retreat at Mississippi Gardens in Brooklyn Park. Conveniently situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the venue, part of the National Park Service, is a 15-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis. The brainchild of Jamie Leopold, wife of former Minnesota Wild defenseman Jordan Leopold, Mississippi Gardens was designed in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources to protect neighboring wildlife and the riverbanks. The wooded 5-acre property includes an 11,000-square-foot building with rustic beams and floor-to-ceiling windows, a 5,062-square-foot ballroom that holds up to 330 guests, several smaller breakout spaces, and an expansive, 2,700-square-foot deck that seats up to 225 guests and provides panoramic views of the river.
9500 W. River Road,
12) The Lexington
St. Paul When it’s your turn to host the annual meeting, invite your fellow board members to join you at the Lexington, one of St. Paul’s most venerable restaurants. Established in 1935, the Lex, as well-heeled locals lovingly refer to it, was like a Midwestern outpost of New York’s famed Algonquin Club until 2013, when it closed for an extensive renovation. Luckily, the Lex reopened last summer and it’s even more urbane than before, with polished wooden paneling, curvaceous banquettes, soft carpeting, flattering lighting and a new chef. Choose from four elegant private meeting rooms on the second floor: the Grand, which seats up to 25 guests, the Chef’s Dining Room, which seats up to 50 guests, the Lincoln, which seats up to 55 guests, or the McLean, which seats up to 100 guests. After the meeting is adjourned, repair to the martini bar or the rooftop patio for cocktails and appetizers.
1096 Grand Ave.,
13) The Machine Shop
Minneapolis Pull out all the stops for this year’s fundraising initiative and dazzle your guests with a black-tie gala at the historic Machine Shop at St. Anthony Main in Northeast. Built in 1916 as an equipment production and repair shop, the Machine Shop was critical to the success of the adjacent Pillsbury A-Mill, once the reigning king of the global flour industry. Renovated and reopened as an event venue in 2016, the Machine Shop’s soaring spaces, punctuated by massive white steel columns and illuminated with industrial lighting, provide a glamorous backdrop for cocktails, dinner and dancing. The Machine Shop holds 300 to 500 guests seated at round tables, and up to 900 guests for a cocktail party-style event. To experience the vibe, enjoy a craft cocktail at the Break Room, an intimate lounge open to the public on Monday evenings.
300 Second St. SE,
14) Mayo Civic Center
Rochester Your company’s headquarters may be in the Twin Cities, but your employees are scattered all across the country, so why not bring the entire team back to the mother state for an all-company summer gathering in Rochester? An easy 90-minute drive from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Rochester is home to the beautiful Mayo Civic Center, which reopened in 2017 after an $84 million renovation and expansion. Kick off the event with a breakfast meeting in the large ballroom, with seating for up to 3,600 guests. After breakout sessions in the Civic Center suites, which hold 84 to 384 people with classroom-style seating, enjoy lunch on the Riverside Plaza and then head over to the 11-acre Mayo Park for team-building activities, a rousing game of softball and a picnic dinner with barbecue ribs, potato salad, corn on the cob, watermelon and other Minnesota summer favorites.
30 Civic Center Drive SE,
St. Paul For an enchanting place to hold a special reception, just veer off the beaten path to Paikka in St. Paul. Named for the Finnish word for “place,” Paikka is located in the former King Koil mattress factory in the Vandalia Tower complex, a cluster of seven turn-of-the-20th-century buildings and a water tower. The 5,000-square-foot space has a clean, modern, industrial aesthetic with steel vaulted ceilings, original brick walls, antique hanging doors adorned with a mural, rolling vertical garden walls and a mobile bar. Choose from two light-filled spaces, the Gold Room and the Pink Room, which include a lounge area with vintage and modern furniture, and a staging kitchen, plus an adjacent 2,000-square-foot patio with benches. Together, the spaces hold up to 200 guests for a seated event and up to 275 guests for a cocktail-style party.
550 Vandalia St.,
16) Palace Theatre
St. Paul Imagine stratospheric rock-star treatment for your clients or work colleagues, then indulging them with a private concert and after-party at the iconic Palace Theatre on West Seventh Place in downtown St. Paul. Opened in 1916 as a vaudeville house that played host to Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and other celebrities, the Palace closed in 1977 and reopened briefly in 1984 to host “A Prairie Home Companion.” Revived and renovated from top to bottom by the City of St. Paul, with a new roof, new infrastructure including state of-the-art sound and light systems, and other modern features, the Palace reopened in 2016 as the capstone of the city’s Year of Music community initiative. The venue, which includes a main level with a stage, an upper level and balcony, and several bars, holds up to 2,500 guests.
17 W. Seventh Place,
17) Parkview Meeting & Event Center
Bloomington To cultivate out-of-the-box thinking, get your team out of their cubicles and into the kaleidoscopic Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America. Jump-start the creativity with rides on Brain Surge, Avatar Airbender and the legendary Log Chute. After everyone’s adrenaline is flowing sufficiently, challenge them to tackle the Ghostly Gangplank, the tallest Sky Trail ropes course in the world, and the Barnacle Blast, the longest indoor zip line in North America. Take a break and convene in the Parkview Meeting & Event Center, a new 4,000-square-foot private event space in Nickelodeon Universe that holds 48 to 700 guests. After lunch on the balcony overlooking the theme park, spend the afternoon brainstorming ways to reach new heights of ingenuity across your organization. Conclude the day with a tournament on the 18-hole Moose Mountain Adventure Golf course.
5204 Center Court,
Mall of America,
18) The Riverside Room
Minneapolis If you’re planning a party for VIP clients who are first-time visitors to Minneapolis, the Riverside Room offers an impressive introduction to the city. The venue is part of the Minneapolis Event Centers, a fully renovated 1858 brick building in the heart of historic St. Anthony Main. Lined with cobblestone streets, the neighborhood provides picture-perfect views of the Mississippi River, the iconic Stone Arch Bridge, the downtown Minneapolis skyline, Nicollet Island, the neon Grain Belt bottle cap sign and other local landmarks. And, like St. Anthony Main, the Riverside Room features a dramatic mix of rustic, industrial and glamorous design elements. Easily configured to hold up to 1,100 guests for parties, private receptions and other events, the 16,600-square-foot venue has large windows, massive timber beams and columns, luxurious brick and stone finishes, and a spectacular 65-foot chandelier.
212 Second St. SE,
19) Target Center
Minneapolis If you’re on a quest for a world-class venue in which to entertain clients, stage a concert or launch an exciting new product, shift your thinking away from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and book your event at Target Center, one of the top arenas in the world. After a two-year, $150 million-dollar expansion, every level has been transformed with luxurious finishes, new lighting and other aesthetic enhancements. Impress a small group of important clients with a private suite at a Minnesota Timberwolves or Minnesota Lynx basketball game, an exclusive backstage tour and a five-star dining experience catered by local chef and culinary impresario David Fhima. For an audience of 2,500 to 7,500 guests, reserve the Theater at Target Center, which provides an intimate experience in the inner bowl, or book the entire arena for 20,000 guests, analysts and members of the press.
600 First Ave. N.,
20) Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery
St. Paul Reward your high-performing team with happy hour at Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery. The 1857 building near the foot of St. Paul’s High Bridge is built of solid limestone, with walls nearly 3 feet thick and is St. Paul’s oldest surviving commercial building. After an extensive historic restoration and the addition of state-of-the-art brewing facilities, the restaurant and brewery opened last year. Take a tour with owner/proprietor Tom Schroeder, a local historian who loves sharing his knowledge of St. Paul’s 19th-century saloons and breweries, and then head upstairs to the Buffalo Room and the adjacent Attic Room, which each seat up to 18 guests. Graced with period furniture and illuminated by antique pewter paraffin lamps, the rooms offer an authentic setting for enjoying Pilsener, Dunkel, and other beers with homemade bratwurst, spaetzle, bacon kraut and other German specialties.
445 Smith Ave.,