A picturesque All-American town just under an hour's drive from downtown Kansas City, Ottawa is known for its colorful history and wealth of Victorian architecture. A historic Main Street, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, makes groups feel at home as they convene in Ottawa event venues.
Air access into Ottawa is through Kansas City International Airport, which is 70 miles away and is served by all major airlines.
While there are no large convention venues in Ottawa, there are some interesting structures in which to hold meetings and special events. For example, city-owned Ottawa Municipal Auditorium is an 800-seat performing arts theater with a lower level meeting room that can hold 200 theater style. Washburn Towers, a historic building that was formerly a high school, has a 400-seat theater and the ability to seat 260 for a banquet in what was once the cafeteria. Prairie Star Ranch, a Catholic camp set in the rolling hills outside of Ottawa, allows groups to rent all or parts of its facility, including a lodge that can sleep 100 people and an L-shaped room that can seat 100 people in each side of the L. Popular with retreat-style meetings, Prairie Star Ranch also has a lake with a swimming beach and a number of outdoor settings for receptions.
Among the top special event venues in Ottawa are the family-owned Pome on the Range Orchard and Winery, which can accommodate up to 40 people in a small building and large numbers in tented events; and Plaza Grill & Cinema. The latter is a historic theater where people can grab dinner and a movie at the same time at eight four-seat tables in the balcony (an area rentable for a private dinner/movie). Groups of up to 75 people can also hold a reception actually behind the movie screen, then move on into the 200-seat theater to catch a flick. At Dunn's Landing Farm, groups of up to 400 can stage a reception in an historic barn.
Ottawa has two hotels with some small meeting space; the 52-room Best Western and the 60-room Comfort Inn. The city's four other hotels are the 60-room Days Inn (changed from Travelodge in August), the 55-room Econolodge, the 42-room Knights Inn, and the 43-room Super 8.
Ottawa and its neighboring towns have a handful of restaurants that work well for meeting groups, including one that is very famous. Not only are the barbecue ribs at Guy & Mae's Tavern listed as one of the eight wonders of Kansas, but back in the days of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, Doc Sevrensen always stopped by the establishment to pick some up and deliver them to Johnny on the show. Superb barbecue is also what Prairie Star is known for, a restaurant located at the Great Life Country Club. Bella Cucina is a new upscale Italian restaurant on Ottawa's historic Main Street, and mention having breakfast or lunch at Kein's Bakery to a local and you will find their mouth watering over the restaurant's renowned bakery items.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons author : Ichabod