Watching trains navigate world-famous Horseshoe Curve is, quite simply, awesome. Opened in 1854, this National Historic Landmark remains an engineering wonder and is one of many reasons groups make tracks to this central Pennsylvania destination.

“Strategically positioned along Interstate 99 in the Mid-Atlantic, Altoona and Blair County allow conference groups to draw attendees from more than 7 million people within a three-hour drive radius,” says Mark Ickes, executive director of Explore Altoona.

With its 19th century downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Altoona’s diverse product set includes the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum (plus Horseshoe Curve five miles from town) and Altoona Heritage Discovery Center.

Lakemont Park is home to Leap-the-Dips, the world’s oldest rollercoaster, and the Casino at Lakemont Park, which is now a full-service event facility.

Blair County event options include the Fort Roberdeau Historic Site; Blue Knob All Seasons Resort, Pennsylvania’s highest skiable mountain; the standout Scotch Valley Country Club; Oak Spring Winery; and at the historic US Hotel Tavern in Hollidaysburg.

Counting a new 90-key property, a 99-room Holiday Inn Express opening in 2015, and another hotel coming online soon, the county offers close to 1,100 rooms.

“With venues ranging from our state-of-the-art convention center to a reconstructed Revolutionary War fort site, the variety and value of meeting and event space within the Altoona/Blair County market is advantageous for any budget,” Ickes says.