The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.
Issue link: http://digital.smallmarketmeetings.com/i/730815
www.smallmarketmeetings.com Destination Showcase 18 Akron Civic Theater is the city's home for the cultural arts. Greystone Hall, one of the most beautiful structures in downtown Akron, was originally constructed by and for the Freemasons. Near the convention center, the seven-story building is 101 years old. "I can tell you they spared no expense when they built this place back then," said Mahon. "Today it is still stunning and majestic." Some events in the modern Knight Center can also use the nearby hall for banquets, meetings and other events. "It is a win-win situation and lets the group grow its event." O f f - S i t e V e n u e s Off-Site Venues Fourteen full-service hotels in the downtown area offer meeting spaces of their own and are considered "next in line in size" to the Knight Center, according to Mahon. For a change of pace, some planners opt to have meetings at the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, located on 70 acres in Akron. One of the larg- est homes in the country, Hywet Hall was completed 99 years ago for F.A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Another meeting venue that's always on the move is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which runs through nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park. "A lot of our meeting planners use the train as a meeting venue for board retreats," said Mahon. Akron's meeting strength is regional events. It typically hosts about 180 events a year, many for more than one day. "There are very few dark days here at the John. S. Knight Convention Center," said Mahon. O f f - H o u r s E n t e r t a i n m e n t Off-Hours Entertainment Cuyahoga Valley National Park straddles the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland. It is Ohio's only national park and one of the top 10 most visited in the nation. Lucky are the area residents who can enjoy a national park that is so close to an urban area. Many hop on a bike and pedal from downtown Akron right into the 33,000- acre park. The Ohio and Erie Canal's Towpath Trail is a restored portion of the original towpath that is great for hiking, running and biking. The Canal Exploration Center displays the area's 19th-century waterway history. For those who enjoy thundering and misty waterfalls, the park's Brandywine Falls delivers. Visitors can board the scenic railroad at, among other places, the Northside Station right behind the new Courtyard Akron Downtown. Akron celebrates the arts through the Ohio Ballet, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, Akron Civic Theater and the Thomas Performing