Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Arizona

Updates and group ideas for event planners looking to host a gathering in Phoenix or Tucson.

The Phoenix Skyline from South Mountain Park
The Phoenix Skyline from South Mountain Park Photo Credit: Visit Phoenix

Why Arizona for Your Next Meeting or Event?

This Southwestern state is prized for its climate, classic resorts and glorious desert landscapes. It’s also a mecca of wellness, sports, unique cuisine (Tucson has been named a gastronomic capital by UNESCO), and outdoor settings and venues, all in high demand by groups today.

Recent Updates for Phoenix

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is undergoing an extensive facelift, dropping the room count to 276. The property will become part of the Curio Collection by Hilton next year.

 The Senna House, a Curio Collection by Hilton property, has opened in Old Town Scottsdale. The hotel has 169 guest rooms and 10 meeting rooms.

The new 205-room Sunrise Tower brings the total at the Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass in Chandler to 447 rooms. Also added were 18,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, 7,000 square feet of outdoor event space, and Prime, a Shula’s Steak House.

 

Caesars Entertainment will debut the 266-room Caesars Republic Scottsdale next year, its first nongaming property in the United States. The hotel will offer a 7,000-square-foot ballroom that opens onto an adjacent lawn.

The Ritz Carlton, Paradise Valley — a 215-room, 20-acre resort — will debut in 2022.

Group Venues

Go Western out at Desert Foothills, which hosts groups of up to 1,500 people at its outdoor cookout area, 10,000-square-foot barn and 2,500-square-foot patio.

The 140-acre Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix showcases more than 50,000 local plants along its five trails. The venue has a number of spaces for conferences and events for groups of up to 110 people.

Scottsdale is home to one of the world’s best hotel bars, according to Forbes: The Thirsty Camel at the Phoenician. The rooftop bar, which was renovated along with the resort in 2019, features modern décor and panoramic views. The menu pairs Sonoran Desert-inspired cocktails with sharing plates and to-die-for desserts.


Travel Essentials

Taxes: Hotel tax, 5.3%; local tax, 3%; state tax, 5.6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.9%
 
Convention Center: Phoenix Convention Center; exhibit space, more than 900,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 99
 
CVB: Visit Phoenix

2021 Stella Award Winners
2020 Stella Award Winners
Tucson Mountain Park
Tucson Mountain Park Photo Credit: Digital Masters for Adobe Stock

Why Tucson for Your Next Meeting or Event?

The always-warm climate in Arizona's second-largest city is slightly cooler than its northern counterpart, partly because Tucson is about 1,300 feet higher in altitude than Phoenix. One of the southern city's main resorts, the El Conquistador, has been revamping and renewing, getting ready to welcome back more and more meetings as the months roll on.

Recent Updates

The 106-room Eddy Hotel, a Tapestry by Hilton property, will open this fall in the Tucson foothills. The boutique property will have a lounge, a bar and 3,000 square feet of meeting space. 

The 170-room DoubleTree by Hilton debuted at the Tucson Convention Center last year. The hotel offers a pool, 4,000 square feet of meeting space, a mesquite-themed restaurant and two bars.

The 10-room Citizen Hotel, which has a 5,000-square-foot wine bar and tasting room, has opened in downtown Tucson, in a building that once housed the city’s oldest newspaper.

The 165-room Graduate Tucson has opened at the University of Arizona with two bars, a café, a rooftop pool, and 2,700 square feet of event space.

Old Tucson Studios, the city’s iconic movie location and tourist attraction, has a new operator. American Heritage Railways is set to purchase and reopen the venue, which was built during the golden age of the Western films. Among the memorable films shot here were Three Amigos!, Winchester 73 and Tombstone. The historic site, closed since 2020, is slated to reopen in fall 2022.

Group Venues

Guests can stroll through the zoo, aquarium, botanical garden and more at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The venue hosts groups of up to 700.

Get a taste of the town visiting restaurants with Tucson Food Tours, which welcomes private groups of 12 to 100 people.

Barrio Charro is the brainchild of two local James Beard–nominated powerhouses — baker Don Guerra and chef Carlotta Flores. The eatery joined the Tucson food scene this year serving staples like avocado toast and tamales, but what really sets Charro apart is the signature “tortamano” sandwiches. Guerra’s house-baked azteca bread made with heritage Sonoran white wheat holds the various fillings.

Up to 60 passengers can hop on an emission-free electric shuttle for a tour of Tucson’s Sabino Canyon. Learn how it was formed, what kind of plants and wildlife are native to the area, and other historical and cultural facts.

Travel Essentials

Convention Center:Tucson Convention Center, exhibit space, 148,000 square feet; meeting space, 205,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 24 

Airport Transit: Tucson International Airport, about nine miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, approximately $35

Taxes: Hotel tax, 6%; regional taxes, 6.05%; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.05%, %, plus a $4 per night room fee

CVB:Visit Tucson