Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I stayed with friends in Washington, D.C., and decided to make a trip to nearby Alexandria. (Just 20 minutes by car.)  I’d long heard about the charms of this historic city, which was named a Top 3 Best Small City in the U.S. 2021 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Best Cities 2020 by Southern Living.

 

 Alexandria didn’t disappoint. With Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria as my home base, I spent two days exploring, enjoying a delicious lunch of oysters, clam chowder and a lobster roll at the riverfront  Vola's Dockside Grill on a spectacularly sunny day and an indulgent dinner of red wine and lasagna at the  convivial Mia's Italian Kitchen.

 

And, with Rebecca Doser of Visit Alexandria as my guide, I walked along the waterfront paths and the lovely red-brick sidewalks of Old Town, enjoying the beautiful centuries-old rowhouses, the boutiques of King Street and historic sites like the cobalt-blue Spite House. A mere seven-feet wide and 325 square feet in total, this private residence earned its name in 1830 when a peeved homeowner built it to keep horse-drawn wagons out of his alleyway.

 

Rebecca also pointed out that Alexandria is a popular destination for groups. With affordable hotels, group-friendly restaurants and a wide range of attractions and activities, it’s highly appealing as a setting for meetings and conferences, an option for an afternoon or evening outing for meetings centered in Washington, D.C., or for a couple of days of pre- or post-meeting leisure. You can learn more at visitalexandriava.com/groups

 

Incorporating the host city into the framework of the meeting is an effective way to enhance the content of the conference.

Host in Local Hotel
While attendees might flock to flag hotels, consider a boutique hotel as overflow to showcase the destination. In Lubbock, the DoubleTree by Hilton offers a local flair through design and cuisine; meanwhile, just a few streets over, the Cotton Court Hotel pays tribute to the area’s cotton history. 

 

Plano, Texas is truly the land of plenty. Blending historic charm with modern luxury, the city brims with attractions and amenities. With nearly 60 hotels of various price points, 1000+ restaurants, world class shopping, a lively arts and nightlife scene, abundant natural beauty, and four walkable districts, Plano is the perfect city for a meeting of any size.  

 

Located smack dab in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth, less than a three-hour flight from either the West or East Coasts, is the city of Irving.