Planners who haven't visited Phoenix lately will find there's a lot that's new to discover. Venues in Downtown Phoenix have expanded exponentially, and groups will be delighted at the area's walkability.
Thanks to a massive, $600 million expansion project, the Phoenix Convention Center now offers nearly 900,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space. The design of this architecturally stunning facility was inspired by the colors and textures of the Grand Canyon. Features such as solar panels and a water-harvesting garden also make it eco-friendly, and the West Building has been awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The convention center includes another unique feature as well: a high-end, 21,000-square-foot conference center certified by the International Association of Conference Centers.
Hotel venues in Downtown Phoenix have also expanded; recent additions include the 1,000-room Sheraton Downtown Phoenix and the 242-room Westin Phoenix Downtown. Other choices include the 693-room Hyatt Regency Phoenix, the recently revamped Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel with 445 rooms, and the dual-branded Courtyard-Residence Inn with 320 rooms.
It's also now easier to get around Downtown Phoenix thanks to the Metro Light Rail. This system makes it convenient to travel to popular downtown venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort Arena. It also travels to the nearby cities of Tempe and Mesa and connects to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport via the PHX Sky Train, which takes about five minutes to travel from Terminal 4 to the light-rail station at 44th Street and Washington.
Yet another welcome addition to Downtown Phoenix is CityScape, a mixed-use development offering a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment venues. Tenants include Lucky Strike, an upscale bowling lounge, and Stand Up Live, a comedy theater and supper club. One of CityScape's restaurants, The Arrogant Butcher, is known as a gathering spot for the movers, shakers, and power brokers in town. It can also handle private groups with up to 100 guests.
For special events, The Duce, a popular watering hole complete with a boxing ring and bleachers, can accommodate groups from 20 to 800 in its indoor and outdoor spaces. Nearby in the historic Luhrs City Center, an art deco skyscraper, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour can accommodate up to 120 guests for stylish dining and innovative cocktails. Planners in search of another historic venue may want to check out the Orpheum Theatre, a magnificently restored Spanish baroque revival theater that is on the National Register of Historic Places.