Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Meet me on the river


Courtesy Oklahoma City CVB

Visiting a beautiful city is great. Visiting a beautiful city with a downtown waterfront is even better.

Groups can enjoy their early morning walks and late evening dinners with photo-worthy waterfront views. They can take a jazz cruise on a river, zipline across the water, enjoy a gondola ride passing waterfalls and even learn to catch lobster.

The following progressive cities are making the most of their distinctive downtown areas, making sure everyone is happy. There are professional baseball stadiums for sports aficionados, award-winning aquariums for nature lovers and cobblestone streets ensuring the coolest atmosphere for those who want a little nightlife.

A downtown waterfront adds charm and so much more.

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is taking full advantage of the Oklahoma River with its hip Boat House District, a seven-mile hot spot for outdoor recreation that borders the downtown skyline.

“This U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site for canoeing and kayak teams is also the place to see many regattas throughout the year, but visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities,” said Elisa Milbourn, communications manager for the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Buy an Adventure Pass at OKC Riversport, and try as little or as much as the district has to offer, including the Sky Slide, the tallest slide in America; the Air Express Zip Line; the six-story Sky Trail; and all the water adventures.

From there, groups can walk to the Brick Town Entertainment District, once a loading area for the railroads.

“The buildings here reflect that era, and these warehouses have been renovated to their original glory,” said Milbourn. “This is the place to enjoy a minor league baseball game, enjoy some tunes at the American Banjo Museum, take a stroll or a canal boat to enjoy the Brick Town Canal and take advantage of the nightlife.”

Thanks to a walking tunnel and those convenient canal boats that help connect visitors to the two districts, there is no need for cars or motorcoaches to enjoy the best parts of the city.

Portland, Maine
Just two hours from Boston, Portland, the largest city in Maine, is a big city with a small-town feel, according to Lynn Tillotson, director of tourism and marketing for the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We offer one of the last true working waterfronts,” said Tillotson. “You can sit at a restaurant on Casco Bay and watch fishermen unload their fish and lobsters from authentic vessels. The cobblestone streets with eateries and breweries offer hours of entertainment.”

The Portland peninsula was established by the British in 1632 as a trading and fishing settlement, and history abounds in the revitalized architecture. Most groups that visit Portland spend time learning about its history and enjoying its waterfront. And with some of this country’s freshest lobster and seafood, often served in buildings that reflect a bygone era, Bon Appétit recently dubbed Portland the “Foodiest Small Town in America.”

“There are over 200 islands to explore via ferry,” added Tillotson. “There is much to see, including forts from the Civil War.”

Besides taking a whale-watching or seal cruise, groups can also enjoy the water on a schooner, explore the harbor and lighthouse on a cabin cruiser, or take a trip on Lucky Catch, a lobster boat that requires passengers to wear orange overalls, participate in baiting traps and learn what it is like to be lobsterman.