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When you think Florida, you think vacation. But it might be time to think of Florida as a workplace where you can get down to the business of having fun.
By Joe Kukura
The work-hard, play-hard northeastern Florida city of Jacksonville is not your typical Sunshine State destination, and its business meeting and corporate retreat venues are anything but retired. With more shoreline than any other Florida city, a world-class dining scene and cool, historic neighborhoods, Jacksonville tops the agenda as the meeting room of choice for your next corporate retreat or business meeting.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at these amazing Jacksonville business meeting destinations that will blow away guests, in a city that has a sunny disposition all year long.
Get this—you can actually have a business meeting at an NFL stadium. Score big by holding your meeting at TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and several big annual NCAA football games. You can broadcast your presentations on the world’s largest HDTV video scoreboard, schedule meetings on the field or in the Jaguars’ locker room, enjoy dinner on the patio overlooking the 50-yard line, or check out the stadium’s outdoor swimming pools and luxury suites. You can even go for a two-point conversion by combining your stadium retreat with a trip to the adjacent Daily’s Place, the brand-new amphitheater that doubles as a concert hall and the Jaguars’ practice field.
The sweet spot for offsite events is Jacksonville’s Sweet Pete’s, a candy emporium and factory whose candy-making classes are an irresistible team-building experience. Sweet Pete’s accommodates groups from 10 to 100 and also offers candy-cocktail cooking classes for adults.
Jacksonville’s main library has a pretty magnificent conference center, with spectacular sculptures adorning its lobbies and business or seminar meeting spaces for groups of any size. The conference center’s photogenic beauty makes it a popular wedding event spot, especially on the rooftop courtyard with views of the downtown Jacksonville skyline.
One of the premier events spaces in Jacksonville is the Cummer Museum, an arts museum and picturesque outdoor garden that offers views of the St. John’s River. But inside, event and occasion rental packages for up to 100 people offer options like an auditorium with a stage and a screen, a grand reception space, an event art gallery, and two tiers of gardens ideal for lunches, dinners and cocktail receptions.
Home to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and a host of other great concerts, the Times-Union Center also makes for a great meeting, dinner or reception space. Onsite catering is available, along with a 20,000-square-foot lobby and a fun Florida riverfront location.
The local legend in Jacksonville is of course the Budweiser Brewery on Busch Drive, and that iconic brewery offers team-building events like beermaster tours and beer schools. But there’s a whole new generation of up-and-coming Jacksonville microbreweries, including Intuition Ale Works and Aardwolf Brewing Company, that will let you hold a meeting in the taproom or on one of their scenic rooftop decks.
The Jacksonville Zoo is a wild option as a meeting and cocktail party venue, as elephants and giraffes strut within sight of the panoramic windows. Accommodating up to 90 guests, the zoo also has some fascinating animal-themed meeting and team-building rooms that tend to the flock with terrific hospitality.
Jacksonville has nearly half a million yards of greens and some prestigious courses, including TPC Sawgrass of the Players Championship fame. Many of Jacksonville’s top golf courses are teed right up with turnkey meeting spaces for company meetings and outings, with meal service or cocktail parties on site.
Full of cool attractions under the Florida sun, Jacksonville is an unbeatable River City for hosting conferences and more. So shore up plans to have your next meeting or retreat in Jacksonville, where professional gatherings put business in the front.
For a full listing of unique Jacksonville meeting venues, search our online database.
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