In California, the suburbs are the place to be — and to meet.
Meeting planners hosting events in the Golden State are always attracted to the state’s most populous cities because of their tourist attractions, waterfront locations and full-service meeting hotels and spaces. But there are many smaller towns within driving distance of these larger cities that have distinctive offerings for visitors and meeting planners.
Here are a few California exurbs of San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles that are close enough to enjoy what those cities have to offer but are easier on the budget.
Temecula is about an hour’s drive from Orange County, Palm Springs and San Diego and is a stone’s throw from nearly 50 wineries, many with both lodging and event spaces.
Group wine tours are available by bicycle, horseback or traditional San Francisco cable car. Groups interested in teambuilding should participate in Bottaia Winery’s wine-blending lab, where attendees don disposable lab coats and mix their own special private-label wines to take home. The Temecula Valley has plenty of lodging options, from traditional branded hotels with meeting space to villas, casitas and bungalows that overlook the vineyards. The Pechanga Resort Casino and the Temecula Creek Inn, which overlooks a 27-hole golf course, are wonderful local options for groups. Planners can book a reception by the pool at Bottaia Winery or the Cove, Pechanga’s pool complex and restaurant. The Galway Downs Equestrian Center hosts meetings and events on hundreds of acres in wine country. In their free time, meeting attendees can participate in Yoga in the Pines, tour a lavender farm where they can learn how oils are extracted from the plant, or visit the Oil Plantation and learn about the production of olive oil.