Nature, culture and commerce converge in Sioux Falls, S.D., where a progressive business and convention climate—sprinkled with a healthy lineup of annual festivals—draws a diverse profile of groups.
Located at the junction of interstates 90 and 29, Sioux Falls offers the largest health care community in the region and also boasts financial services companies such as Wells Fargo and Citigroup. The area’s solid business base, combined with ample natural amenities and a strong agricultural community, allows it to serve a wide variety of meeting groups.
“We really have across-the-board variety,” says Teri Ellis Schmidt, executive director of the Sioux Falls CVB. “We have agriculturally related conventions here, religious groups and corporate meetings and conventions. We have an extremely strong medical community here.”
Schmidt also points to Sioux Falls’ great shopping as another draw, including Empire Mall, which offers more than 180 stores. The city serves up approximately 500 restaurants—everything from ethnic to local and chain eateries, according to Schmidt.
Major annual festivals include Sioux Falls JazzFest, which can draw upwards of 100,000 music fans; Sioux Falls German Fest; Automania, a classic car show that can bring in up to 60,000; and Hot Harley Nights, featuring a six-mile-long “hog” parade.
The Sioux Falls Convention Center contains 100,000 square feet of flexible space and 14 breakout rooms, all on one level; the 8,000-seat Sioux Falls Arena is attached.
In November the city will vote on adding a new events center that would be attached to the convention center complex, but given the economy, it could be an uphill fight.
The city, which offers nearly 4,000 hotel rooms and about 1,000 rooms within a one-mile radius of the convention center, prides itself on a high level of personalized service.
“We’ve always had very favorable responses from meeting planners because the city is so easy to move around in and our convention center and hotels work very well together—it’s easy to meet here,” Schmidt says. “Because we are a smaller community we really pride ourselves on our service to meeting planners, from the minute they express interest to the minute the last suitcase is packed.”