Nonprofit Gala Event Venues in Colorado
By Beth Buehler
When planning a nonprofit gala, you want it to be an experience that will wow potential attendees. Rubber chicken dinners don’t cut it when asking people for their time, talent and treasure and showcasing an important cause or project. Part of the experience equation is selecting the place, along with thoughtfully organizing the program, entertainment, A/V, décor, food and beverage.
We could do a whole series of blogs on planning this type of event. Instead, we’re taking the narrow path of looking at nonprofit gala event venues in Colorado. As I was considering the options, the list was long. So, here is a sampling of possibilities divided up in a way that hopefully makes sense!
I’ll admit to being a big fan of historic properties, as they have so many stories to tell and withstood the test of time. Sometimes the distinct architecture means little décor is needed and helps provide a grand entrance for attendees.
For example, Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs has an amazing courtyard, recently renovated meeting space in 2019 and a guest room remodel set to wrap up this summer. The hotel has hosted presidential dinners, dignitary balls and more since 1893. With more than 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, the largest room can host up to 220.
Located on 3,000 acres in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor, a Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond resort, offers every amenity imaginable for a truly memorable experience. Book one of the timeless ballrooms for a gala that everyone will remember. Hotel Boulderado in downtown Boulder has 10,000 square feet of function space, including Boulderado Ballroom in the North Wing Banquet & Conference Center that holds 240 for seated dinners.
Boutique properties like The Elizabeth Hotel in downtown Fort Collins and Halcyon, a hotel in Cherry Creek located in Denver also score big for unique but in a more present-day fashion for smaller galas. The Elizabeth’s Walnut Ballroom hosts up to 200 people while the Halcyon’s main ballroom has expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that face the tree-lined streets of Cherry Creek.
Name brands also deliver. If you want to go big, the completely remodeled Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel located on the 16th Street Mall may just be the answer with loads of options. DoubleTree by Hilton, Colorado Springs, renovated in 2019, has 30,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, including the 10,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom.
Attractions & Customized Spaces
It’s always fun to attend a gala at an attraction where you can wander around a bit. Often, these settings provide the perfect canvas for creative décor and entertainment.
Denver Art Museum can host groups of 10 to 10,000 guests with 11 indoor and five outdoor spaces. The Sturm Grand Pavilion, located on the second level of the new Sie Welcome Center, is enclosed in a glass façade that provides sweeping views of downtown and the museum’s Martin and Hamilton buildings and provides a perfect setting for nonprofit galas. In addition to visually pleasing spaces, groups can enjoy art from a broad collection of more than 70,000 objects and have access to the museum’s special exhibitions.
Denver Center for the Performing Arts is another cultural treasure in downtown Denver, and its Seawell Ballroom has on-site designers, event managers and technicians to help customize the 10,000-square-foot space with lighting, concert-quality sound and beautiful décor. The venue also recently announced six catering partners that are among the best of the best.
A new attraction in Colorado Springs, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, is sure to attract gala attendees. In addition to capturing the history of Team USA at the Olympic & Paralympic Games, the museum has a wide array of spaces for events and can handle plated dinners for up to 1,000 guests. Just think about the guest speaker possibilities!
In Glendale, located in the Denver metro are, Infinity Park Event Center has everything needed for a successful event, including a variety of function spaces and free parking. With both indoor and outdoor venues and a sports stadium location, Infinity Park Event Center can accommodate groups from 20 to 2,500. The 8,600-square-foot International Ballroom is ideal for galas and features 360-degree screens, a kitchen for caterers, a foyer, green room and more.
Also big on character is Headwaters Center, located along the Fraser River in Winter Park and built from a reclaimed Civil War-era timber barn. The 4,400-square-foot Reception Hall, with floor-to-ceiling sliding barn doors that open onto a2,800-square-foot outdoor terrace, is impressive. Plus, there is a 5,600-square-foot outdoor lawn and stage that holds up to 500 guests for concerts, lawn games, mingling and more, and attendees can engage with interactive exhibits about Colorado’s rivers, environment and wildlife.
In the Mountains
With a large contingent of locals, vacation homeowners and visitors who are supportive of nonprofits based locally and beyond, mountain towns and hotels excel at hosting galas. In many cases, hotels and ski resorts erect large tents for summer that work well for nonprofit fundraising events.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa has more than 20,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space located slopeside, with largest banquet space able to host groups of up to 600. Nearby, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa Avon, Vail Valley has the Riverside Ballroom that holds up to 240 and the slightly smaller Gondola Ballroom, which opens onto Gondola Plaza and is available to groups no larger than 140.
In Vail, there are numerous options such as Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail with a 3,500-square-foot ballroom;Grand Hyatt Vail featuring more than 40,000 square feet of event space, including three ballrooms; The Hythe Vail with a banquet space that hosts a maximum of 750; and The Sebastian – Vail with two ballrooms, the largest having a maximum capacity of 250.
The Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs has the Korbel Grand Ballroom for up to 500 guests. Meanwhile, Snowmass has great options at Viceroy Snowmass with the 5,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and an adjacent terrace and the recently introduced Viewline Resort Snowmass holding banquets for up to 760.
While it would take too long to get into the full details about the various properties mentioned, this should be a good overview of nonprofit gala event venues in Colorado. Happy planning!
Top Photo: Seawall Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Amanda Tipton Photography
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 17 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.