Tucson is one of those cities with one foot headed toward the future and one happily planted into the past. But the “future” foot is really active these days. A lot of interesting things are happening there, particularly in the hospitality and meeting industries.
In September, Tucson was designated a World Festival & Event City by International Festivals & Events Association, one of nine cities around the world to receive that designation. Small wonder. Tucson supports nearly 50 annual festivals and major events, as well as many smaller ones throughout the year.
An exciting new development is happening downtown. City Park, a retail/restaurant/office complex, is scheduled to open mid-year. Plans call for the first floor to have a food hall with numerous restaurants, and adjoining restaurants in the buildings on either side. The second floor will be a fun, flexible venue with a bowling alley, pinball arcade, bar and private event space. The top level, the fifth floor, will include a 2,600-square-foot deck for outdoor entertainment and corporate events.
Mercado San Augustin is undergoing an expansion that will double the number of shops this year. This is Tucson’s colorful public market, and there are surprises around every turn. Expected to open are four new restaurants and bars, several eclectic clothing shops, a bike shop that will encourage urban cycling, and home-design and urban-living shops, along with an Many Mouths, One Stomach arts cooperative and Flam Chen Theater Company. Of special interest to planners, the Mercado will also have festival grounds with seating for 500.
We’ve saved the best for last: Some of these new shops and restaurants will be in old shipping containers.
Read more about Arizona in the story “Meeting Spaces in Unusual Spaces,” in the February issue of Smart Meetings.