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River cities with great downtowns

Courtesy San Antonio CVB

American rivers are an endless source of inspiration for those who find peace and a sense of contentment by just staring into their storied waters.

Around the country, riverfront cities offer a vast array of entertainment and educational opportunities for bank groups. Travelers to those places should take advantage of at least one of the venues that provide cruising on the river, walking by the river, dining with a view of the river and even dancing to the sound of the rippling current.

San Antonio, Texas
Bank groups that love the San Antonio River Walk will be excited to hear that this celebrated pathway will soon extend to the city’s Spanish colonial mission.

“The nation’s largest urban ecosystem restoration, our River Walk will offer even more trails for hiking and biking. All should be completed by late summer 2013,” said Sara Gruber, senior brand manager for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It will extend the River Walk from three miles to 13 miles.”

The River Walk, which connects thousands of hotel rooms with restaurants, shops and historic sites, is also a culturally rich attraction for visitors.

“Our Fiesta Noche del Rio, an outdoor performance featuring songs and dances of Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Texas, is an event bank groups should not miss,” said Gruber. “Performed at the Arneson River Theatre in La Villita Historic Arts District, this is something very relative to our culture.”

While river taxis can be a fun transport from one River Walk venue to another, narrated cruises on river barges offer groups a more consistent experience for entertainment and education about the city’s history and ecosystem. Three-course dinner cruises are also available.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
As Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, groups can enjoy cruises on any of those waterways or on the mighty Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

“Paradise Cruises offers lunch and dinner narrated cruises aboard the Minneapolis Queen paddleboat,” said Kristen Montag, marketing and communications manager for Meet Minneapolis. “This is a modern day replica of the vessels that once were common on the river. They do a wonderful job.”

Minneapolis natives are known for their healthy lifestyles, and adventures for those looking for some physical adventures abound.

“Above the Falls Sports is a kayaking tour company that first introduces people to kayaks and then takes them on a picturesque tour that can last from a few hours to a full day,” said Montag. “They even offer dinner along the river and are very accommodating to groups.”

How about having your gang take a Segway tour to explore the city and riverfront? Magical History Tours offers the opportunity for up to 70 riders to wheel through parks, by museums and over the Stone Arch Bridge on their educational explorations.

Although an abundance of walking trails wind along the downtown riverfront — one of the best reasons to stay in the city — a bike-share program through miles of those trails allows visitors to check out a bike in a variety of locations and ride it to the next location.

“This is a great way for group members to enjoy their free time,” said Montag.