. Phoenix | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Phoenix

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

Why Phoenix for Your Next Meeting or Event?

In recent years, more than $5 billion has been pumped into a 1.7-square-mile zone in the heart of the city, contributing to a downtown growth spurt that has seen the development of office space, shops, restaurants, hotels, and convention and academic facilities. Meanwhile, the Greater Phoenix area continues to build on its reputation as a golf and spa mecca with luxurious resorts that offer eco-friendly lodging, healthy dining and wellness-oriented activities such as outdoor yoga, hiking and meditation programs. 

Transportation

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, dubbed America's Friendliest Airport, is the main airport for the Greater Phoenix area and is one of the most convenient airports in the United States. Be sure to check with individual airlines for current flight schedules to Phoenix.

Sky Harbor is served by 20 competitively priced carriers, and is located in the center of Greater Phoenix — less than 10 minutes from downtown, and within 30 minutes of most hotels and resorts.

• Sky Harbor is approximately 3 miles south of downtown Phoenix; transfer cost by taxi to downtown, $15. The airport is also served by Uber and Lyft.

• Convenient transportation to the airport comes by way of PHX Sky Train®. This driverless people mover transports Valley Metro Rail passengers between the airport and the 44th Street/Washington Street station.

• The airport earned an Envision Gold Award for sustainability in May 2020. This recognition highlights Stage 2 of the airport’s PHX Sky Train Stage project. Upon completion, projected for 2022, this 2.5-mile extension of the track will connect to the rental car center. 

 • In 2019, it was named the No. 1 airport in the nation by The Wall Street Journal, as well as the best airport for shopping in USA Today's 10 Best Travel Contest.


Travel Essentials

Taxes: Bed tax, 3.0%; city tax, 2.3%; county tax, 1.77%; state tax, 5.5%
 
Convention Center: Phoenix Convention Center; exhibit space, more than 900,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 99
 
CVB: Visit Phoenix

2018 Stella Award Winners

Room to Meet

 

Looking to Plan a Phoenix 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.

It's time to go beyond: To the heart of a lush desert landscape where each sunrise welcomes big ideas. To a vibrant downtown core where history meets innovation. To reimagined venues where state-of-the-art spaces and new ventures converge. To Phoenix, where your next opportunity awaits. 

Phoenix Convention Center 

Inspired by the red-rock walls and turquoise waters of the Grand Canyon, the Phoenix Convention Center (pictured above) is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated convention centers in the United States. Its interconnected campus includes three ballrooms, 99 meeting/breakout rooms, a 2,300-seat performance hall and an Executive Conference Center.

Additionally, the center debuted the Canyon on Third outdoor event space. This flexible 80,000-square-foot space is a blank canvas for groups seeking to host everything from a post-convention reception to an open-air food festival. Its centralized location and easy access to the surrounding neighborhood gives the Canyon on Third a buzz and vibrancy, a unique addition to the site’s 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. 

• In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the center announced that it is pursing the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation, which is offered by the International Sanitary Supply Association. The program is supposed to teach venue-cleaning professionals best practices on how to prepare and respond to infectious diseases and biohazards, such as COVID-19.

• Huss Brewing Co. announced an all-new craft beer taproom and full-service restaurant coming to the Phoenix Convention Center in 2021. A partnership between Arizona-based brewing company, the City of Phoenix, and Aventura Catering, the Convention Center’s food and beverage partner, Huss Brewpub at the Phoenix Convention Center will be housed inside a two-story, indoor/outdoor space carved into the building’s north façade and will serve as a brew-hub offer a full menu of hearty dishes showcasing Arizona-sourced ingredients, paired with the award-winning Huss’ family of beers.

Phoenix Desert Discovery Train

Venues 

Greater Phoenix offers an incredible spectrum of special events venues — for an intimate group of a few or a delegation of several thousand — that bring the flavor and culture of the city to you.

• Stroll the winding paths of the Desert Botanical Garden,  (pictured above) a 140-acre venue that showcases a variety of arid plants — from towering saguaros to delicate blooms. This space also plays host to rotating art installations, cultural festivities and seasonal events, including Las Noches de las Luminarias each winter.

• Cloth & Flame, an Arizona-based outdoor dining and luxury retreat company, partners with private landowners and state parks to create unforgettable culinary experiences at inspiring locales. From the secluded desert, forest wilderness and local lakes – all with picturesque mountain backdrops – to city rooftops, community gardens, and rare and unusual urban spaces, including private art galleries, these picturesque tablescapes pair perfectly with the Arizona ambiance for your next event.

Rawhide Western Town & Event Center, Arizona's largest Western-themed attraction, is an authentic replica of an 1880s town — complete with a Main Street, gunfights, stagecoach and train rides, burro rides, mechanical bull, gold panning, shootin' gallery and unique shops. The world famous Steakhouse & Saloon celebrates the spirit and hospitality of its Western roots through traditional cooking, true hungry-cowboy portions and live music.

Corona Ranch and Rodeo Grounds, Arizona's only private Mexican and Western rodeo venue, offers Southwest ambiance, flavor and entertainment. This indoor/outdoor venue, just 8 miles from downtown, offers a rodeo show in a full-size arena, complete with cowboy cookout and six-piece Mariachi Band or four-piece Country Western band.

Biomedical 400w

• The Phoenix Biomedical Campus (pictured above) is a 30-acre urban medical and bioscience campus offering more than 6 million square feet of academic and clinical space. It is home to more than a dozen research facilities and serves as a natural extension of the learning environment provided by the nearby convention center. Additionally, a $77 million downtown "innovation center" is being developed in partnership with Arizona State University. The new research facility, part of the PBC, is scheduled to open late 2020.

• Greater Phoenix is home to teams in all four major professional sports leagues, and your attendees are invited to share their turf. Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns, is on track to complete a $230 million renovation in time for the 2021 basketball season. And State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, recently underwent a $28 million renovation to its club level in preparation for two major events coming to the city within the next five years: Super Bowl LVII in 2023 and the NCAA men's basketball Final Four in 2024.

Room to Stay

Looking to Plan a Phoenix 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.

Whether your attendees seek modern spaces for connecting in the lobby of a convention hotel or the ambiance and amenities of a resort, Greater Phoenix is home to more than 495 hotels and resorts — that’s over 68,000 guest rooms — and even more on the horizon.

• The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown (pictured above), a short distance from the city's convention center, is in the process of renovating its guest rooms, lobby, meeting space and culinary offerings.  The 1,003-room property — the city's largest — was selected to become the prototype for Marriott's portfolio-wide rebranding of Sheraton. Guestroom, lobby, restaurant and meeting space renovations are projected 2020 completion.

• Following an exterior refresh last year, the Hyatt Regency Phoenix completed floor-to-ceiling renovations of its 693 guestrooms as well as revitalization of meeting spaces and three new meeting rooms. The 24-story hotel, located across the street from the Phoenix Convention Center, also revealed a new patio, an expanded rooftop courtyard and renovated third-floor deck — all for enjoying Phoenix's perfect weather. Additionally, an expanded grab-and-go market will complement Barrel & Bushel, the new indoor/outdoor eatery that opened in January 2020.

• Neighboring Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel completed a $12 million renovation on their lobby and exterior in 2017 and has now shifted focus to remodeling their guestrooms rooms — splitting the construction between summers 2019 and 2020. The Renaissance rooms will get fresh carpet, wall coverings, lighting, window treatments and walk-in showers.

• The Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix Convention Center, a seven-story, 127-room property in the downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row Arts District, opened its doors in late November 2019. The $26 million hotel features a rooftop bar (From the Rooftop Bar & Lounge, with 360-degree views of the city and can accommodate up to 499 guests; 900 square feet of indoor meeting space; several large art pieces, including murals that span the height of the building; and an onsite restaurant, Poppy, led by chef Nate Cayer, former the executive chef of The Godfrey Hotel in Chicago.

 • The new AC Hotel by Marriott broke ground at the Arizona Center in September 2019. The 199-room hotel, which is scheduled to open in 2021, will be the third AC Hotel in Phoenix after the AC Hotel by Marriott Phoenix Biltmore and the AC Hotel by Marriott Phoenix Tempe/Downtown. The mixed-use Arizona Center completed a $25 million renovation to office space, dining, entertainment and outdoor space in 2019.

Biltmore 780

• The iconic Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, (pictured above) is in the midst of a $35 million facelift, which includes a highly anticipated adult pool; a family area, complete with larger-than-life water slides and newly dressed cabanas; followed by the new event lawn and bar, perfect gathering places equipped with water and fire features. The resort’s 22,000-square-foot spa, fitness center and soaking retreat will reveal expansion efforts —as well as the transformation of The Wright Bar — in 2020.

• Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley Resort, projected to open in 2020, will span more than 20 acres overlooking Camelback Mountain. The resort’s 215 guest accommodations will include spacious rooms, oversize suites, detached casitas and private bungalows. A specialty dining concept will harvest seasonal produce from the resort’s anticipated herb garden and 400-tree citrus orchard, incorporating ingredients into the daily menus. The property will also feature a 16,000 square-foot spa; a 2,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art health and fitness center; various indoor/outdoor meeting and event spaces, including an amphitheater and secret garden; and a grand lawn with stunning views of neighboring mountains and unobstructed sunsets.

Forbes Travel Guide, the world-renowned and global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas, unveiled its annual Star Award winners in February. For 2020, both Aji Spa and Kai restaurant at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass earned the Five-Star Award, distinguishing the property as the only resort in Arizona to boast both a Five Star spa and restaurant within its collection of luxury amenities.

 • The Arrive hotel is set for 2020 completion in uptown Phoenix. Venue Projects and Vintage Partners have joined forces restoring twin midcentury modern towers, just north of the Melrose District, which will feature a pool bar helmed by Ross Simon, local cocktail guru behind globally awarded cocktail bars Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour and Little Rituals. Guests will be able to enjoy poolside craft cocktails at the fittingly named Lylo — a British colloquialism for a pool float. The all-new $20 million, 79-room neighborhood hotel also promises a lineup of food and beverage offerings as well as a retro rooftop cocktail lounge with 270-degree city views.

 • Great Wolf Lodge has added Arizona to its roster of family-friendly resorts. The Scottsdale location, which opened in September 2019, offers an 85,000-square-foot indoor water park (heated to 84 degrees year-round), a 27,000-square-foot family entertainment center and 350 rooms. With the grand opening came the debut of a new ride: Diamond Drop. This high-speed, four-person waterslide features serpentine curves and high-bank thrills. Great Wolf Lodge Arizona is the first water park in the world to offer this slide. 

Room to Relax

Inhale Sonoran Desert tranquility and exhale the trappings of the ordinary. Your attendees deserve a day lush desert recreation and luxe relaxation. Unwind and recharge with us. 
 
Every Phoenix-area resort is distinguished by its own style and flavor, yet they all share a commitment to delivering a meeting experience rooted in service, attention to detail, first-rate facilities, award-winning restaurants and such amenities as native spa treatments and championship golf. 

Stay and Play 

Greater Phoenix’s golfing roots are more than a century old. In 1910, nine holes were laid out on oiled dirt at the Ingleside Inn, located in the then-sleepy town of Scottsdale. Early courses were built near canals and irrigated by flooding them with canal water.

Today, Phoenix and its neighboring communities are home to nearly 200 golf courses in a variety of styles, and Greater Phoenix is known as one of the top destinations for golf — for good reasons.
 
• Each year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open attracts more than 700,000 fans to the TPC at Scottsdale, making it the best-attended event on the PGA Tour. 

• Boulders Resort & Spa, which earned “Best Golf Resort in Southwest” honors from Golf Digest, is home to two award-winning Jay Morrish-designed courses that stretch across an enchanting and rugged landscape that inspired the resort’s name.

• In 2018, The Phoenician Golf Club (pictured above) unveiled the it’s new, cohesive 18-hole golf course that offers unique landscapes — including Arizona’s only sand-island green — as well as incredible views of Camelback Mountain and the Phoenix skyline.

• And for untouched natural beauty, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club lies on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation land offers unsurpassed views of the McDowell, Four Peaks and Superstition mountain ranges with no homes, roads or commercial developments in sight. 

Phoenix Aji Spa Couples Massage Room

Add a Spa-liday to Your Stay

For those looking to experience a world-class spa at the end of a conference, or after a day on the links, indulgent spa treatments await.  
 
Greater Phoenix has one of the highest concentrations of resort spas in the United States, and, not surprisingly, the menu of treatments available to spa-goers in America’s sunniest destination is eclectic and vast. 

But spas in Phoenix aren’t just located in the desert, they’re known for using the desert. While some destination spas take their cues from luxurious European and Asian practices, others utilize botanicals found in the surrounding Sonoran Desert and take inspiration from Native American traditions. 
 
Located on the Gila River Indian Community, the Aji Spa at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass (pictured above) reflects the traditions of these two Native cultures in every aspect from art and architecture to treatments and services. 

• Aji Spa: The Sacred Prickly Pear Body Treatment combines includes sacred prickly pear red clay to detoxify the body and tone the skin.

• Joya Spa at Montelucia Resort & Spa: The Joya Signature Massage features a warming essential oil blend infused with essences including Arizona's “Queen of the Night” cactus flower, a rarity that blooms only one night each year.

• Spa at The Boulders: The Turquoise Wrap highlights turquoise as a color of protection, self-confidence and positive energy. A revitalizing desert salt exfoliation supports a nourishing warm turquoise clay wrap and leaves the skin purified

Room to Explore

In Phoenix, your attendees can traverse new horizons through collaboration, blaze the trail of innovation, and embark on your next great venture without sacrificing their ability to go beyond. Add an authentically Sonoran Desert experience or a one-of-a-kind attraction to your itinerary. 

• If you're in Phoenix at the beginning of the month, catch the self-guided First Fridays Art Walk, which takes place along and around Roosevelt Row in downtown. More than 70 galleries, venues and art-related spaces participate; tour them by utilizing the free hop-on/hop-off shuttles that circulate through three artsy districts.
 
• The Heard Museum in Phoenix has one of the most extensive collections of American Indian art in the U.S., with a focus on tribes of the Southwest. The downtown venue features some 40,000 fine artworks and cultural artifacts.
 
• With a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum (pictured above) in Phoenix is an engaging venue for tourists as well as groups. The 2019 Tripsavvy Editors' Choice Awards recognized the MIM as a "Hall of Fame Winner," an honor bestowed to businesses that impress year after year, with less than 1% making the cut.

• UNESCO World Heritage Site: Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Scottsdale home Taliesin West was added as a cultural site on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. Arizona’s second UNESCO site (the Grand Canyon is the other one), Taliesin West was the longtime winter home of Wright, who died in Phoenix in 1959. Along with Taliesin West, seven of Wright’s other iconic designs around the United States were included in the UNESCO designation.

Phoenix Camelback Mtn

• Camelback Mountain (pictured above) is one of the area’s most striking natural wonders. Two challenging trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla, ascend 1,420 feet to the summit, where a stunning panoramic view awaits.

• South Mountain Park and Preserve, located less than 8 miles south of the Phoenix Convention Center, is one of the largest municipal parks in the country (over 16,000 acres). Start a visit at the South Mountain Environmental Education Center, hike, bike and ride more than 51 miles of trails, or follow the road to the top of the mountain for spectacular views.