Offsite meeting planning demands new surroundings to allow different thinking.
As a live illustrator for events, I've reviewed hundreds of event spaces that suggest corporate event hosting in their marketing. I've listed the best venues for leadership retreats, immersion sessions, strategic planning sessions, or simple team building in the list below. My criteria for inclusion in this list include:
- the outdoor environment and location
- indoor lighting and windows
- color, texture, and pattern in design
- comfortable seating
- activities and amenities
Not every space in this list succeeds in every criterion, so take care as you review and understand what is most important to your team!
Wyatt Run Farm, Athens, OH
Nothing says Offsite quite like a farm house in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Wyatt Run Farm and Ecology Center will separate your team from the rest of the world to focus on what's necessary. With both indoors and outdoor spaces, available catering and lodging options, this location is an easy pick for the right group.
The Summit, Cincinnati
THE SUMMIT hotel in Cincinnati is one of my favorite art spaces in Ohio. It could be that I designed some of the headboard murals in their sleeping rooms, or it could be their great emphasis on art and color throughout their facility in general. Stunning commissioned works from contemporary artists can be found throughout their facility and lead the mind towards great creativity. THE SUMMIT shines in the northeast corner of Cincinnatti proper.
AC Downtown- Columbus
A stay at the AC Marriott in downtown Columbus is a unique experience. The AC Hotel feels like a world away, filled with uncommon comforts and spaces. Full height windows adorn the meeting rooms. This level of airiness brings freedom of thought to meetings that I encourage and recommend.
Punderson Manor, Lodge and Conference Center- Cleveland Area
The beautiful Punderson Manor is a gorgeous property. It has a level of elegance and history you don't often find in state parks - when I first visited Punderson Manor. If you are looking to add a level of importance to your decision-making, consider this location. Allow your team to break out and explore, find quiet nooks, or take in the outdoors through windows or trail walks!
The Kitchen - Columbus
The Kitchen in Columbus brings Participatory Dining to its two creative meeting spaces. Located at the north end of German Village, expect your guests to engage with each other personally as they create memories and meals together. Their website boasts, "Our passion is bringing people together to CELEBRATE and create memories through food." A corporate meeting shouldn't be all about food, but using it to build bridges is undoubtedly a big plus!
Gervasi Vineyard - Canton
Expect luxury accommodations and meeting space at the vast Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Ohio. This one-of-a-kind, Tuscan-inspired property boasts plenty of meeting spaces for groups of all sizes. The rich Tuscan decor suggests to the visitor that they are from the powerful Medici family of Florence of the Renaissance, plotting their next banking conquest. If this location doesn't raise the importance and the stakes of your next event, I don't know what will!
Sparkspace - Columbus
Exposed brick walls, high ceilings, interesting relics, and wood floors define the character of this one-of-a-kind meeting environment. Designed for business meetings, the sparkspace facility is sure to foster creativity and encourage collaboration amongst all of your team members. You cannot go wrong with selecting this perfect setting.
Salt Fork Lodge - Eastern Ohio
The inspirational scenery of eastern Ohio welcomes your team into a retreat away from the business of city life in Columbus or Cleveland. Relax at an Ohio state park lodge with ample group spaces and superb opportunities for outdoor team building. Ohio state park lodges bring light into their facilities, inspire an atmosphere for rejuvenation, and allow your team to tackle the heaviest of projects.
Top Golf is a chain of large event spaces with golfing bays along structured near their versatile event spaces. With locations in Ohio's major metro areas, these venues allow for your team to blow off steam if meeting agendas involve some tough conversations. Top Golf clicks a lot of the company meeting boxes for a one-day off-site event.
Fueled Collective - Cincinnatti
The Fueled Collective in Cincinnati offers over a dozen highly unique and inspiring meeting rooms. Guaranteed to elicit an immediate wow factor from your attendees, their spaces range from the airy to the cozy. Find a library, quiet mezzanine nooks, drawing rooms, and theater steps! Also a popular coworking space, this location screams energy and options. The Fueled Collective is within walking distance of several dining and hotel facilities. A must-see!
Aullwood Audubon - Dayton , OH
Are you looking for inspiration from nature? Find it nestled in at the environmental education/sustainable agriculture/Audubon Center. This Audubon center inspires people to preserve, protect and enjoy nature. Discover woods, streams, ponds, prairies, meadows, a sustainable working farm, and animal exhibits in between your strategic planning brainstorming initiatives. This Audubon center rents out full meeting facilities.
It's all yours! Experts designed the mighty BOOST meeting room for privacy, light, texture, and comfort- an excellent location for an all-day offsite event. Boasting snacks, beverages, games, A/V, a variety of seating areas, and a private space for external phone calls and quiet, you'll find yourself asking yourself, "how'd they know we needed...."
The Trailhead- Akron
The Trailhead at Cascade Lofts offers easy access to biking, hiking, CVNP train rides, food, and lodging. Uniquely situated between the Towpath Trail and downtown Akron, the location of the Trailhead alone is sufficient for me to add this venue- but the rustic elegance makes it a double winner! Designed for large events, the space it can break down for smaller gatherings. The summer patio is a keen secondary space!
Inn at Honey Run - Millersburg
I've stayed at the Inn at Honey Run and find it delightful. While the meeting space is simple, the inspirational setting is highly unique. Set near Amish Country, the Inn at Honey Run boasts open-air art installations, a dedication to butterflies and birds, and rooms set well into a hillside. The landscape is Ohio forest, and beautiful hillside vistas are along their well-marked wooded walking trails.
Studio 614 - Columbus
Studio 614 is a storefront art class destination that offers up its space for corporate events. Being out of the way in Old North Columbus, this location is easy to get to and offers up an artsy vibe of which I am particularly fond. Seating is on stools, so plan on a short event, or one with several stand-up breaks. Enjoy this art studio rental.
High Voltage Indoor Karting - Medina
Attached to the Foundry entertainment complex in Medina, Ohio, High Voltage Indoor Karting offers a truly unique opportunity for your competitive team! Put on your helmet and scream around their expansive indoor race track between training, strategy, and planning events in their meeting rooms. Rent out the entire facility to engage your entire company!
Blue Ocean Facilities- Cincinnati
Located on the north side of Blue Ash, Blue Ocean Facilities is a truly creative meeting space. Environment design was a collaborative project between designers, architects, creativity researchers and meeting facilitators- making sure your event environment checks all the boxes for productivity! On-site staff makes the stay inviting and friendly.
Liberty Aviation Museum - Port Clinton
Surround your team with aviation innovation, the spirit of liberty, and the showcase of hard work and hard-fought wins. The museum offers its conference room and hangar for corporate events. For the military and flight enthusiasts in your company, this location could become a unique and appreciated favorite.
Level One - Hudson/Akron
Level One in Hudson, Ohio offers a compact and beautiful location for corporate events. The event space walks out onto a large patio overlooking a water feature pond and offers a drive-up space for your favorite food truck setup. The meeting space sports a full-height chalkboard- which gets me, your live illustrator, excited every time!
brainstorm Creative Meeting & Event Space- Mason / Cincinnati
This ample and well-appointed space in Mason offers essentials including a kitchen, lounge, and breakout rooms. Located near the Mason Business Center, brainstorm makes offsite planning simple and easy.
Allardale Lodge - Medina
Located in Granger Township, the Allardale Park is one of Ohio's most successful reforestation projects. The on-site 4,800 sqft lodge looks like a farm building. Expect a fireplace and kitchen to meet the needs and coziness factor of up to 98 people. Plenty of windows showcase the outdoors- giving visual access to the 388-acre park property complete with paved trails and ecological variety.
vue Columbus offers three different meeting spaces near German Village and the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. An all-inclusive meeting experience, the hosted space offers plenty of AV and Technology support, all-day healthy snacks and beverages, games, patio space and breakout areas. Pictured here is their Green Room- a great environment for your next sustainability planning event!
CONVERVANCY for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park and its CONSERVANCY organization offer several venues ready for day meetings. Nestled into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, couple your event with sightseeing, skiing, bicycling, and train rides. Rent out the education center, Happy Days Lodge, a part of the Hines Hill Conservancy Campus, or the Stanford House. The CVNP proper directly has very rustic offerings like the Ledges Shelter (not super warm, but you get a load of firewood with your rental!) Your author is partial to the Ledges Shelter- he lives next door!
Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls - Hocking Hills
My first stay at the Inn at Cedar Falls was indeed a wonderful experience. Food, activities, and a stay in our cabin up a short hillside. The leading inn is a clean yet rustic build with exciting corners, rocking chairs, fire pits, and dining areas. Choose the Inn at Cedar Falls if you want the flavors of a refined big-city menu and the country charm of Hocking Hills.
brick house blue - Columbus
A co-working space with room to spare for your next off-site meeting, brick house blue offers five different meeting spaces each with exceptional lighting, fun urban decor and plenty of technology. brick house blue is ocated in the exciting new Bridge Park area in Dublin near Columbus. While I don't recommend meeting in office space late into the evening, the brick house blue facility will allow your event to extend till 11pm.
Who wrote this article? My name is Matt and I am a live illustrator for corporate events including strategic planning, customer immersion, innovation immersion, brainstorming, and vision casting. Consider the addition of a dedicated scribe/live illustrator for your event to add clarity to your outcome and help your event stay on track.. and read where I have worked in Ohio!