. Tucson | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Tucson

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

Why Tucson for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Surrounded by soaring mountain ranges with Saguaro cacti dotting the landscape, Tucson commands a dramatic Sonoran Desert setting. Guests and groups also can find all the restaurants, music venues and other cultural offerings you would expect to find in Arizona's second-largest city.

Local Update

Travel Essentials
Convention Center: Tucson Convention Center; exhibit space, 148,000 square feet; meeting space, more than 205,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 24. tucsonconventioncenter.com

Area 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%

CVB: Visit Tucson

• In downtown, the sizzling Rio Nuevo neighborhood has been designated a Tax Increment Finance District, funded by a share of state sales-tax dollars. In partnership with developers, real estate investment firms and other entities, the area is helping fund new shops, offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. This effort already has helped attract professional hockey to the Tucson Arena, home of the AHL's Western Conference champions, the Tucson Roadrunners. In addition, five hotel projects now in the works will add more than 600 guest rooms to downtown, helping to draw larger conventions to the city.

• The Tucson Complex — home to the Tucson Convention Center, the 8,962-seat Tucson Arena, the 2,294-seat Tucson Music Hall, the Eckbo Plaza and fountain, and the 511-seat Leo Rich Theater — is scheduled for a $65 million upgrade. The convention facility, which offers 205,000 square feet of meeting space, will undergo a $14.7 million renovation that will add meeting rooms, a new floor for the ballroom and technology enhancements.

• Coming soon is the Double Tree by Hilton – Tucson Convention Center Hotel. Ground was broken for the new hotel in May of 2019. The six-story property will have 170 guest rooms, 4,000 square feet of meeting space and two entrances: one street-facing and one connected to the convention center. Other features include a mesquite-themed restaurant and twobars— one at the entrance to the Tucson Convention Center. The property should be ready for business by the end of 2020.

• Ground is scheduled to be broken next year on a multilevel, 350-spot parking garage that will serve both the Tucson Convention Center and the soon-to-open DoubleTree hotel.

Tucson Marriott University Park recently received an $18 million facelift. Renovations were made to its ballroom and meeting spaces, 250 guest rooms, and lobby and dining areas. The property has almost 25,000 square feet of event space.

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• This summer, ground was broken on a 76-room Hampton Inn and a 123- room Home2Suites. The properties are slated to open in early 2021.

• A new Graduate Hotel currently is under construction in Main Gate Square next to the University of Arizona. The 14-story, 164-room property will feature sweeping mountain views, and will offer 4,840 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020.

• Fayth Hospitality Group, a Hilton Hotels developer, plans to build a dual-branded property — a 75-room Hampton Inn and a 123-room Home2 Suites — across the street from the landmark St. Augustine Cathedral. Fayth managing partner Greg Fay said his group hopes to debut the property in the end of 2020. 

Meeting Venues

What's Brewing
The Ten 55 Brewing and Sausage House, in the heart of Tucson’s downtown on Congress Street, is a Bavarian-style beer hall with its own event space. Smaller groups can enjoy a wide variety of locally made sausages, including delicious vegetarian and vegan options, not to mention a selection of local beers. 

 Group properties with event space in the Tucson area include the 398-room Loews Ventana Canyon; 487-room Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa; 428-room El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort; and 128- room Omni Tucson National resort. To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meetings Group's venue finder.

Group Properties

• The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a quirky facility spotlighting the art of tiny sculptures. Groups can be accommodated for tours, lunches and meetings. 

• In such a beautiful setting, a number of venues let groups take advantage of the outdoors. Consider Tohono Chul, a nature preserve and cultural museum, and Tanque Verde Ranch, which offers outdoor team-building activities.

• Tucson Botanical Gardens, near Saguaro National Park, can host up to 300 attendees for receptions, and offers both indoor and outdoor space. The 5.5-acre collection of urban gardens has 2,500 square feet of meeting space and five breakout rooms. 

• Canyon Ranch, a resort and spa near the Santa Catalina Mountains, offers group activities like painting and drawing classes, golf, an afternoon with an exercise physiologist, and more. The property has 10,430 square feet of event space. 

• Overlooking the Saguaro National Forest’s East District, Tanque Verde Ranch, owned by Cote Family Destinations, plans to construct a new Event Barn. The space will span 20,000 square feet, with completion scheduled for later this year. 

Top 10 Restaurants in the Old Pueblo
  1. Vivace Restaurant - Italian
  2. It's Greek to Me - Mediterranean
  3. Renee's Organic Oven - Italian
  4. The Tasteful Kitchen - Vegetarian
  5. Feast - International
  6. Bob's Steak and Chop House - Steakhouse
  7. Cup Cafe in Hotel Congress - American
  8. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - Steakhouse
  9. Wildflower - American
  10. Flying V Bar & Grill - Southwestern