Planners who haven't visited Phoenix lately will find that 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 new walkability.
Chief among the recently revamped meeting venues is the Phoenix Convention Center. Thanks to a massive, $600-million expansion project, the 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 Center's West Building has been awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The convention center includes another unique feature, 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, which features a revolving rooftop restaurant called Compass Arizona Grill; and the 520-room Wyndham Phoenix Hotel.
It's also now easier to get around downtown Phoenix thanks to the addition of the Metro Light Rail. This $1.4 billion light-rail system makes it convenient to travel to popular downtown venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, Chase Field and US Airways Center. It also travels to the nearby cities of Tempe and Mesa and will eventually connect to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when construction of a "people mover" system is completed.
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 46 guests.
For special events, Alice Cooperstown, a popular sports bar owned by its namesake "shock rocker," can accommodate groups from 20 to 1,000 in its indoor and outdoor spaces. Nearby at Chase Field, there's T.G.I. Friday's Front Row Sports Grill. This unique restaurant overlooks third base in left field and includes a private World Series Suite that can accommodate 50 guests. Planners in search of a more historic venue may want to check out the Orpheum Theatre, a magnificently restored Spanish Baroque Revival theater that is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Approximate taxi fare: $14 USD
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