. Arizona | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in


Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Arizona.

Looking to Plan an Arizona Meeting?
 Learn everything you need to know about this sunny locale at Destination Arizona, Northstar’s premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area.

Why Arizona for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Arizona’s natural beauty, sunny weather, friendly cities and legendary resorts make it a favorite meeting and incentive choice. The state is adding to its appeal with a number of new properties, attractions and — in Tucson — a long-awaited convention center expansion. 

Recent Additions

Last summer, the Phoenix Convention Center debuted Canyon on Third, an 80,000-square-foot urban outdoor space that gives event planners the flexibility to customize one-of-a-kind events. 

Last fall, the Talking Stick Entertainment District welcomed the 350-room Great Wolf Lodge. The Scottsdale property features 6,500 square feet of meeting space, an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park and a 27,000-square-foot entertainment center.

Coming Soon

Caesars Entertainment will debut the 266-room Caesars Republic Scottsdale next year, its first U.S. nongaming property. The hotel will be home to a 7,000-square-foot ballroom that opens onto an adjacent lawn.

The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown is upgrading its guest rooms, lobby and meeting space. Renovations are ongoing and are scheduled to be completed when the property reopens on Aug. 1. The 1,000-room hotel has 111,961 square feet of event space.

The 199-room AC Hotel by Marriott– Downtown Phoenix at Arizona Center will feature 3,400 square feet of meeting space when it opens its doors in 2021.


Venue Additions & Renovations

• The Tucson Convention Center is scheduled to receive a $14.7 million renovation that will add meeting rooms, technology enhancements, and new flooring in the ballroom. A timeline has yet to be determined.

• A dual-branded Marriott property, which includes a 109-room Moxy and a 140-room Element, will be housed in a new 16-story tower that will be built over the Rialto Theater. The historic venue will close for two years during construction.

With five mountain ranges and other varied terrain, hikers can explore hundreds of miles of Tucson trails. From sandy desert dotted with cacti to rustling groves of aspen and pine, the options make for an all-season activity. Among the more popular spots are Saguaro National Park East or West (above), as well as the Oro Valley and Catalina State Park.

Visit Tucson, the city’s destination marketing organization, is leading a project to help identify ways to protect, improve and enhance the region’s long-term quality of life and economic prosperity. According to the DMO, the Metro Tucson Tourism Master Plan “will provide a regional map for growing the number of overnight visitors, length of stays and tourism expenditures while identifying new and enhanced.

• The Rio Nuevo board of directors has voted to solicit bids to finance up to $50 million in capital improvement projects for the Tucson Convention Center. Plans call for remodeling the ballroom, exhibit halls and meeting rooms, along with adding a new conference room and updating the lighting and sound systems. Also getting a refresh is the facility’s Tucson Music Hall. In other convention center news, a new hotel, the 170-room Caliber with 4,000 square feet of meeting space, is being built and will be connected to the facility.

• The eight-story AC Hotel Tucson Downtown debuted last year. The property features 136 guest rooms, a rooftop pool and bar, and four meeting and event spaces.

Spicy Sweet Treat
Be sure to sample the local version of pico de gallo: fresh fruit salad doused with lime juice, salt and chili powder. This refreshing, unusual combo is a favorite snack in food-obsessed Tucson.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Tucson– Reid Park is renovating its public spaces at a cost of $18 million. The property’s courtyards and approximately 25,000 square feet of meeting space will be refreshed this summer, while all 287 guest rooms are scheduled to be updated by the fall.

NEW LOOK: The 428-room El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort, has unveiled its renewed guest rooms. A new spa with eight treatment rooms and a private pool are being added.

MEETING HOTELS: To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meetings Group’s new event finder.

CONVENTION CENTER: Tucson Convention Center; exhibit space, 148,000 square feet; meeting space, more than 205,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 24. 

TRANSPORTATION: Tucson International Airport, about nine miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, approximately $25

TAXES: Hotels within Tucson city limits: room tax, 12.05%; sales tax, 8.1%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.05% plus a $4 per night surcharge. Hotels outside Tucson city limits, but within Pima County: room tax, 12.05%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.05%

CONTACT: Visit Tucson


Venue Additions & Renovations

A 100-room Aloft hotel is slated to open this spring near Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District. 

Elevated Meetings
Elevated Meetings
High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff, on the historic north end of the Northern Arizona University campus, has 29,700 square feet of newly appointed, IACC-approved  meeting space in three unique buildings. The 1899 ballroom, named for the year the university was founded, can accommodate 120 theater-style. 

MEETING HOTELS: To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meetings Group’s new event finder.

CONVENTION CENTER: Glendale Civic Center; exhibit space, 23,275 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 13. 

TRANSPORTATION: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, about 12 miles from Glendale. Transfer cost by taxi, $35-$45 TAXES: Room tax, 5.9%; sales tax, 9.2%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15.17%

EVENT VENUE: Catch Cactus League spring-training fever at Camelback Ranch, the preseason home for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox featuring 13 full fields and three half fields. 

EAT/DRINK HERE: Glendale’s State 48 Funk Brewhouse features sour and barrel-aged beers, and all sorts of other funky fermented creations. The venue has a full kitchen to complement its vast beer selection, as well as wine and cocktails. New to Glendale and the West Valley is The Lola, which bills itself as a “cocktail lab” offering unique craft quaffs and a full menu of fresh fare made from scratch.

CONTACT: Visit Glendale Arizona

Off-site Venues

Flagstaff’s mountain oasis offers up the High Country Conference Center, an IACC-certified facility with more than 25,900 square feet of function space, and a grand ballroom that accommodates up to 450 attendees for a general session or 800 guests for a banquet. Take a virtual tour of the property at bit.ly/SMhighc.

Aside from the gaming and entertainment options at Scottsdale’s Casino Arizona, which is about a 15-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, there are a number of areas for events. For smaller groups, the award-winning Cholla Prime Steakhouse & Lounge, a fine-dining establishment, offers classic steak-house favorites and regional cuisine. For larger groups, the Showroom features a 250-seat cabaret, whose banquet menus offer up desserts from the property’s Cordon Bleu–trained pastry chef.  

With so much great weather, golf is always on the agenda in Arizona. The numerous golf resorts available include the 218-room Boulders Resort & Spa in Carefree, with two top-notch courses designed by Jay Morrish. The 210-room Four Seasons Resort at Troon North in Scottsdale delights duffers with two 7,000-yard layouts created by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Near Tucson, the 253-room Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, features 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus–designed layouts with views of the Tortolita Mountains.

10 Best Places to Visit in the Sunset State

Natural, native, and contemporary. Arizona offers galleries, hiking trails, horseback riding, scenic drives, and more. 

  1. Horseshoe Bend, Page - Nature
  2. Grand Canyon National Park - Nature
  3. Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix - Museum
  4. Arizona Copper Art Museum, Clarkdale - Museum
  5. KOLI Equestrian Center, Chandler - Equestrian
  6. Double R Ranch, Benson - Equestrian
  7. Cathedral Rock, Sedona - Nature
  8. Red Rock Scenic Byway, Sedona - Nature
  9. Desert Diamond Distillery, Kingman - Distillery
  10. Lower Antelope Canyon, Page - Nature
2018 Stella Award Winners