Potawatomi Hotel & Casino 

Attendees may be fooled into thinking they’re caught in a thunderstorm or wildfire inside the new hotel at Milwaukee’s Potawatomi entertainment complex. The 381-room, 19-story property, which is connected to Potawatomi Casino and opened in summer 2014, aims to make a dramatic first impression with an elaborate lobby lighting system. With 3,200 LED nodes, the hotel can produce more than 16 million colors to create the illusion of any time of day, season or weather-related event. (And during Wisconsin’s winter months, the idea of a fire’s warmth will appeal to many participants.)

The nod to nature extends to lobby pillars replicating trees and canopies at the environmentally friendly property, which employs energy-efficient mechanical, electric and plumbing designs and a stormwater management system. The construction was green as well, incorporating recycled products and materials. The hotel has applied for LEED certification. The on-site Locavore restaurant relies on regional produce, as its name suggests. There are six other dining outlets in the complex, as well as entertainment options like the 500-seat Northern Lights Theater.

Rest assured, Potawatomi includes the niceties of being indoors. The 32,000-sq.-ft. events center has the largest capacity for groups in the complex, and the hotel has seven venues totaling more than 12,000 square feet. The hotel’s first and third floors connect to the casino. An added bonus? Free valet parking.

Insider Tip: Sample traditional Wisconsin cheese curds taken to a whole new level at the hotel’s Dream Dance Steak restaurant. Served with tomato jam and smoked gouda mornay, these curds will ruin you for life, locals say.

Photo credit: Potawatomi