Black Meetings and Tourism

March / April 2015

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Page 46 of 72

ARIZONA Arizona, offers the engaging versatilities of desert, pine forests, canyons, mountain ranges, lakes and valleys. Group and leisure travel- ers alike enjoy this state's vast natural beauty, engaging in everything from hiking and mountain biking, to downhill skiing or viewing the desert sky. The most famous state attractions include the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fort Apache, and the reconstructed London Bridge at Lake Havasu City. However, the stunning desert setting of Arizona stands in rugged and delightful contrast to its sophisticated urban lifestyle. This Southwest state is well known as a premier meetings destination due to its pleasant year-round climate, urban flair and enticing value- added options and packages designed to maximize any budget. Meeting facilities of all sizes can be found in Arizona, from the award winning High Country Convention Center and Hotel in Flagstaff, to the centrally positioned Centers in Tucson and Mesa and the famous Tempe Market Place. B M & T ••• March/April 2015 ••• 46 PHOENIX Anybody and everybody can discover some of their favorite travel interests in Arizona's capital City Phoenix, "The Valley of the Sun." There's lots to do to keep one busy with the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Gardens, countless designer fashion boutiques and the famous George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. The center promotes appreciation and respect for people of African and African-American decent both in Arizona and worldwide. It's housed in the former Phoenix Union Colored High School, where African-Americans attended during enforced segregation. The muse- um now features exhibits on African-American pioneers, families, ath- letes and soldiers, as well as religion in the African-American commu- nity. Getting around in Phoenix is made easy by way of the Valley Metro Light-Rail system, which is very inexpensive and takes one through the busiest streets of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. Phoenix, the heart of the Sonoran Desert, offers the beautiful Southwest landscape and relaxed lifestyle, while its downtown district is the commerce and culture capital with a variety of urban discoveries. There are major sports stadiums, the Arizona State University and enter- tainment venues such as the Dodge Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and Phoenix Symphony Hall. The Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, Hyatt Regency and Wyndham Phoenix are also known for holding spectacu- lar meetings and upscale events. There are great performing arts venues, hip shops and restaurants, anchored by the new Phoenix City Scape – a dinning and retail mecca that occupies two square city blocks. Several hotels within walking distance of the 24-acre Phoenix Convention Center can be found. The center has been has been hosting national and regional conventions and trade shows as well as consumer events and theatrical productions since it opened in 1972. For foodies, the word is, "don't miss" Mrs. White's Golden Rule Café or Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles restaurants for real down-home cooking. CALIFORNIA California is the Golden state many rush to when seeking the world-famous attractions; from the beauty and tranquility of Yosemite to the joy and thrills of Disneyland, there is a lot to be found, including some of the most diverse hidden gems around. The hardest part about California is selecting a region since entertainment, outdoor activities and group attractions are famed from the rolling city hills of San Francisco, to San Diego's 70 miles of majestic coastline. Globally rec- ognized as much for being a beach capital, an environmental aware- ness hub and cultural hot spot for young Hollywood, the golden state of California offers the ultimate in possibilities. All the regions of California make it as varied as it is intriguing, and offers a wide variety of culture, meetings possibilities and landscapes. View of Downtown Phoenix Photo Credit: Phoenix CVB SAN DIEGO San Diego is the second largest city in California and the blue skies keep watch over 70 miles of majestic coastline and a gentle Mediterranean climate. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Anza-Borrego Desert and the Laguna Mountains to the east, and Mexico to the south, the diverse neighborhoods of San Diego are spread out over 4,200 square miles, offering endless opportuni- ties for exploration and activities. Travelers can spend a day relax- ing in one of the many beach communities or hiking in the east San Diego County Mountains. Other favorite pastimes include explor- ing the urban neighborhoods of San Diego's downtown, from the iconic Gaslamp District to the eclectic community of Hillcrest; there is also the quaint and charming island town of Coronado. San Diego's regions are so unique and diverse; there are plenty of options to discover. When it comes to planning a major convention or meeting, it's hard to beat the world-class San Diego Convention Center. The 2.6 million-sq. ft. facility is located downtown along the sparkling waterfront and has plenty of flexible exhibit and meeting space for groups of any size. It's close to everything you need – 11,000 first- class hotel rooms, the best restaurants, exciting entertainment, shopping, and an airport that's just three miles away. Top it all off

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