2023 Readers’ Choice Awards
The 2023 Readers' Choice Awards recognize who you, our readers, have said are the best in the group travel market! Keep reading to see which destinations, experiences, hotels, attractions, shopping and more made the list.
CVB or DMO: City/Region
New York City Tourism + Conventions
Thanks to NYC Tourism + Conventions, resources for group travel professionals to discover everything they need to know about how their groups can experience New York City's five boroughs are endless. In a place where each borough is like its own city, the guidance of NYC Tourism + Conventions proves to be priceless.
HONORABLE MENTION: Louisville Tourism | Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp | Ottawa Tourism | Travel Dubuque
CVB or DMO: State/Province
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
Groups of all kinds will find something to love in Tennessee, as the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development brings group travel professionals a bounty of information and inspiration. From culinary adventures and music appreciation to historic landmarks and invigorating outdoor exploration, you'll be prepared to take on the whole state.
HONORABLE MENTION: Enjoy Illinois | Travel Wyoming | Virginia Is for Lovers | Visit Maryland
Groups are sure to "Travel Happy" with a stay at one of Drury Hotels' 150 locations in 26 states. With discounted group rates, flexible room block options and free amenities (including hot breakfast, 5:30 Kickback®, and Wi-Fi), a stay that's comfortable, convenient and memorable is a given.
HONORABLE MENTION: Embassy Suites by Hilton | Hampton by Hilton | Hilton | Marriott Hotels & Resorts
Beer, Wine or Spirit Trail/Scene
Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Established in 1999, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® continues to be a draw for millions of visitors from around the globe. Groups could stop at a few distilleries—or all 46—for tours, tastings, activities and even lay their heads at bourbon-themed hotels. The birthplace of "America's Official Native Spirit" awaits!
HONORABLE MENTION: Asheville, North Carolina | Finger Lakes Region, New York | Traverse City, Michigan | The Whiskey Rebellion Trail
Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant
Big adventures require big, delicious meals—and that's exactly what groups will find at Buca di Beppo. With Italian-inspired dishes served up family style in an eclectic atmosphere, Buca di Beppo ensures groups feel the lively energy of a classic Italian table. Regardless of the occasion, every meal feels like a celebration.
HONORABLE MENTION: Carmine's | Cracker Barrel | Golden Corral | Hard Rock Cafe
Corning Museum of Glass
See glass in a new light! Home to the world's most comprehensive collection of glass—including 50,000 objects representing more than 3,500 years of history—is the Corning Museum of Glass. Watch live glassworking demonstrations, take part in a "Make Your Own Glass" session, peruse the new Contemporary Art + Design Wing and more.
HONORABLE MENTION: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum | Disney Theatrical Sales Broadway Workshops | Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum | Madame Tussauds
City Cruises by Hornblower
With an outing on a City Cruises watercraft, groups could see their destination and its surroundings from a whole new perspective. Whether they choose a sightseeing cruise, dinner cruise, whale watching experience, thrill boat ride or otherwise, City Cruises has the adventure groups crave.
HONORABLE MENTION: Big Bus Tours | Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures | Boston Duck Tours | Old Savannah Tours
Virginia Arts Festival
Having celebrated its 26th anniversary in 2023, the Virginia Arts Festival continues to be a group favorite thanks to its more than 250 performances presented each season. The Festival is also anchored by another tradition that's well loved by groups: the Virginia International Tattoo.
HONORABLE MENTION: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta | EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival | National Cherry Blossom Festival | Tulip Time
Grand Canyon National Park
Home to the majority of the immense Grand Canyon, Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park stuns travelers year after year. Ninety percent of the park's visitors venture to the South Rim, where views of the Colorado River, red rock canyons and millions of years of geological history are on display.
HONORABLE MENTION: Grand Teton National Park | Kinzua Bridge State Park and Sky Walk | Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada | Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Groups are invited to challenge their senses with three levels of immersive art space at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Designed to inspire and thrill atop Manhattan's tallest skyscraper, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt offers groups incredible views of the city from over 90 floors up, along with one-of-a-kind experiences.
HONORABLE MENTION: CN Tower | Empire State Building Observatories | Skydeck Chicago | Washington Monument Observation Deck
Garden, Conservatory or Botanical Garden
Meticulous gardens and architectural grandeur await around every corner at Longwood Gardens, home to nearly 200 acres of some of the most beautiful plants from around the globe. Upon visiting, groups can choose between guided or self-guided tours, fountain performances, gardening workshops and much more.
HONORABLE MENTION: Biltmore | Brookgreen Gardens | Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Performance or Entertainment Venue/District
There's nothing like a world-class Broadway show right in the heart of Manhattan, and the new shows debuted in 2023 and beloved classics proved to groups that Broadway is back and better than ever. Groups could round out their show experience with various workshops, exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours and plenty more.
HONORABLE MENTION: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts | The Kennedy Center | Sight & Sound Theatres | Tennessee Performing Arts Center
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Photo Courtesy of Intrepid Museum.
Home to the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world's fastest jets, a guided missile submarine and more, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a group staple. Options to add a private guided tour, an exciting simulator ride or lunch round out the experience.
HONORABLE MENTION: Art Institute of Chicago | Mississippi Civil Rights Museum | National WWII Museum | Smithsonian Institution
City Climb at Edge NYC
Thrill seekers will love raising their heart rates at City Climb at Edge NYC, the highest external building climb in the world. State-of-the-art trolley and harness systems secure guides and guests as they scale the outside of an over 1,200-foot-tall building, taking in nothing but unobstructed views of NYC!
HONORABLE MENTION: Cumberland Caverns | Dogwood Canyon Nature Park | El Yunque National Forest | Royal Gorge Ziplining
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
With a storied history as one of the premier Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has everything groups could want in a gaming destination. Thanks to a recent $100 million expansion, racing, gaming, dining, luxury lodging, sports betting and entertainment take center stage!
HONORABLE MENTION: Caesars Palace | Island Resort & Casino | Mohegan Sun | Resorts Casino Hotel
Universal Orlando Resort
At Universal Orlando Resort, groups are able to experience epic stories and exhilarating adventures in astonishing and immersive ways. From thrilling coasters and the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ to drop water slides at Volcano Bay and everything in between, groups of all kinds will find something to cheer about.
HONORABLE MENTION: Cedar Fair Properties | Hersheypark | Six Flags Properties | Walt Disney World Resort
Mall of America
With four levels of shops, restaurants, an aquarium, amusement park and more, it's no wonder that Mall of America is a group favorite. Beyond the usual experience, groups can even take a private (and customizable) behind-the-scenes tour to see MOA's offerings in a whole new light.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Mall at Millenia | Shipshewana Stores & Shops | Simon Properties | Tanger Outlets
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Situated on South Carolina's Atlantic coast, Myrtle Beach shines as a destination for beach-loving groups! With 60 miles of pristine shoreline, a famous boardwalk, thousands of restaurants, over 90 golf courses and fishing opportunities galore, Myrtle Beach has a coastal charm groups won't be able to resist.
HONORABLE MENTION: Atlantic City, New Jersey | Honolulu, Hawaii | Outer Banks, North Carolina | Virginia Beach, Virginia
U.S. Main Street/Downtown District
Bourbon Street, New Orleans
In the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter is Bourbon Street, where revelry and excitement are always on tap. Whether your groups are looking to enjoy a strolling libation, dinner on a balcony, live music or simply the energy of the crowds, Bourbon Street is always a good idea.
HONORABLE MENTION: Hollywood Boulevard | Pella, Iowa | San Antonio River Walk | The Five Boroughs of NYC
Destination: United States
As Tennessee's capital city, Nashville is known for its celebration of music—from museums and performance venues to honky-tonks. Visiting groups will also be enamored with the city's friendly and creative spirit, which comes alive through its shops, restaurants and numerous group-friendly attractions.
HONORABLE MENTION: Boston, Massachusetts | Chicago, Illinois | New Orleans, Louisiana | Washington, DC
Destination: North America
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Both Ontario's capital and the most populated city in Canada, Toronto is a diverse and bustling metropolis where over 180 languages are spoken. From its many green spaces, sports venues, arts and culture institutions, and soaring CN Tower, the 6ix is a destination surely worth exploring.
HONORABLE MENTION: New York City, New York | Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada | Orlando, Florida | Vancouver, British Columbia
A European bucket list destination for many, Italy delivers stunning landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage sites and Old World charm all on one plate. From the canals of Venice, historic sites of Rome, stunning art of Florence and delicious food and wine of Tuscany, there's much for groups to indulge in.
HONORABLE MENTION: Australia | France | Ireland | London
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec '23 issue of Groups Today.