Top 10+ Reasons to Meet in Tucson

Unique culture, beautiful landscape and modern amenities brings groups to Tucson, Arizona year-round.

By Christine Loomis | Photo: Hilton El Conquistador

NEW AND IMPROVED

The $65 million Tucson Convention Center renovation, slated to wrap in 16-22 months, adds 18,000 square feet while also upgrading existing space and infrastructure, including connectivity. A 170-room DoubleTree by Hilton, with 4,000 square feet of meeting space and connected to the center, will open in late 2020, as will the 76-room Hampton Inn & Suites and 123-room Hilton Home2 Suites.

GET TO WHERE YOU’RE GOING

The Sun Link Streetcar connects attendees with 100-plus eateries, over 30 museums, 150-plus shops and 30+ bars in Tucson’s popular districts. There are discounted three-day passes for only $5 for groups of 60 or more.

FOODIES FLOCK

UNESCO designated Tucson its first City of Gastronomy due to its diverse influences in the city’s food traditions, culinary innovation, dedication to local ingredients and efforts to preserve a culinary heritage dating back 4,000 years. These food tours tell the story.

Tucson Food Tours

A choice for private events and corporate team-building, these tours focuses on downtown and the Main Gate/4th Avenue districts as well as the why behind Tucson’s designation as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Four-hour tours include enough tastings for lunch.

Taste of Tucson Downtown

This tour combines culinary exploration with team-building on private four-hour tours exploring architecture, history and local culture downtown and beyond, including Mercado San Agustin. There’s a Toast to Tucson Happy Hour Tour, too.

Gray Line of Arizona

In addition to many themed tours, Gray Line’s food tours include Gastronomy Through the Ages, A Taste of the Wild, Marana Gastronomy and Sonoita Vineyards.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES ABOUND

Space and expertise for team building? These destinations get that done.

Saguaro National Park

See the desert and giant saguaros in bloom from late April to June. The east and west sides of the park are different, but both offer short, easy trails as well as team-challenging treks. Trails range from one-quarter to almost nine miles. Highlights include the Signal Hill Petroglyph Area, cactus gardens and sunsets.

Adventure Outside

The company’s Wild West Bandit Showdown Team Building, mountain biking, build-a- bike, challenge courses and guided hikes in the national park are all options for groups. Plan on three to four hours. A little tamer are their electric bike tours on a city loop.

Arizona Star Tours

Revealing the nighttime universe to groups wherever they are—including hotels—via large telescopes and friendly astronomers. Clients include Fortune 500 companies and the organization regularly works with Arizona’s major DMCs.

Arizona Zipline Adventures

Let these experts customize a team-building package of high and low challenge activities and five ziplines ranging from 400-1,500 feet. Ramp it up by navigating the courses at sunset or by moonlight. Another option: the Peppersauce Wild Cave Tour.

COOL OFFSITES

Find your perfect function location.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Groups can arrange access to parts of the mountain and facilities the public rarely sees on Daytime VIP Tours. But it’s during the Nightly Observing Program that all the lights in Tucson’s dark skies come into view.

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

This intriguing museum has two event spaces, one for up to 30 guests, the other for up to 50, both with A/V and Wi-Fi. Outside catering and alcohol are permitted but linens are extra.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

One of Tucson’s top museums, it celebrates desert flora and fauna. Event spaces accommodate up to 450 people depending on the venue and setup. Add-on activities include guided tours, animal encounters, art experiences and team-building scavenger hunts. The raptor shows are inspiring.

LOADS OF LODGING

Here’s only a sampling of where your group can rest their head.

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
398 rooms, 65,000 square feet

Book summer 2020 or 2021 for a $5,000 master account credit, waived resort fee, complimentary break package, pool cabana and more. Two Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole-courses make for memorable golf tournaments.

Westin La Paloma
487 rooms, 92,352 square feet

Ask about Fuel SuperFoodsRx, the hotel’s menu of fresh fruits, veggies and grains. Make the Nicklaus Signature golf course and spa part of your meeting.

Casino del Sol Hotel & Convention Center
366 rooms, 100,000-plus square feet

Gaming, entertainment, golf is all here—and the property is able to accommodate up to 1,900 attendees.

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
253 guest rooms, 44,000-plus square feet

In addition to 27 holes of golf, group activities include evening golf, hiking, yoga, wine-blending and team building to benefit local communities. All guest rooms were renovated late 2018.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
575 rooms, 88,000 square feet

Green initiatives include ingredients sourced from local Native Americans who have been organic farmers for generations. Treat VIPs to healing and revitalizing therapies at Hashani Spa.

El Conquistador Tucson, a Hilton Resort
428 rooms, 100,000-plus square feet

Meeting space highlights include an 11,000-square-foot IACC-approved conference center and a mini Western Village for private functions.

Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites
216 rooms, 14,747 square feet

The hotel is conveniently located near the Tucson Medical Center, the university and Tucson Botanical Gardens. Its stellar Canyon Theater features stadium seating.

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tucson Airport
204 rooms, 12,000 square feet

Proximity to Tucson’s airport allows for quick in-and-out meetings. The hotel also offers multiple handicap-accessible services and amenities—including the pool.

AUTHENTICITY REIGNS

Past and present meet at these only-in-Arizona resorts and attractions.

Old Tucson

Buy out the whole town with private tours, live-action stunt shows and old west musical reviews.

Historic Tombstone

About an hour from Tucson, is the self- proclaimed “most authentic western town left in the United States.” Attractions include dramatizations of the OK Corral’s infamous gunfight and trolley, silver mine, ghost and Jeep tours, plus quirky shops and saloons.

White Stallion Ranch

In addition to indoor space, this family- owned ranch has three outdoor areas; two with full cookout facilities. Team-building activities include team penning and sorting, shooting and rock-climbing, and full buyouts accommodate 47-90, depending on accommodations.

Tanque Verde Ranch

Set on 640 acres adjacent to Saguaro National Park, Tanque Verde has welcomed events since 1868. Custom team penning bonds attendees, the spa afterward revitalizes them.

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch

The resort’s Casa Luna Ballroom courtyard is a striking reception setting for up to 200. A spa and pool are among the amenities, and activities include horseback riding and desert explorations.

Rancho De La Osa Guest Ranch

This ranch has hosted outlaws, missionaries, Hollywood celebrities, renowned writers, U.S. presidents and justices. Meticulously preserved and private, this historic ranch southwest of Tucson is the embodiment of the Old West, and ideal for groups of 25-35 depending on accommodations