RANKED: The 7 Most Popular Cities for Trade Shows in North America

Based on polls put out by The Trade Group, here’s what exhibitors, industry suppliers and event directors say about the best cities for hosting trade shows in North America.

Exhibiting at trade shows is an effective way to not only grow your business but strengthen your team. Plus, there’s the opportunity for sightseeing. Take a glance through this list of the 7 most popular cities for trade shows in North America as voted by industry professionals.  

Most popular cities for trade shows
A summer day in Central Park, New York City.

#7 New York City 

New York has it all. The history. The architecture. The glamor. Broadway. The Statue of Liberty, for crying out loud! And, it also has one of the most famous event centers in the world: the Javits Center.  

What’s not to love? Well, for one thing, it’s also home to some of the strictest labor union laws. For example, there are stories of exhibitors connecting plugs into power outlets only to have their cords cut in half by show vendors. 

Of course, New York’s not the only state with union laws… And that’s why it’s a good idea to know the restrictions and codes of any city you’re exhibiting in.  

Still, these minor issues are nowhere near enough to keep people from exhibiting in the city that never sleeps. This includes massive shows such as BDNY, NRF, New York Vet and Plant Based World.  

Cities for trade Shows
Antoine’s is a restaurant off of St. Louis St., New Orleans.

#6 New Orleans  

New Orleans came in right behind Dallas in the best Southern Cities for trade shows poll.  

There’s no place in the U.S. quite like NOLA. The coastal clouds incessantly float over the French Quarter while you search the nooks and crannies of this old port city. It’s most well-known event center is the Morial Convention Center.  

Shows like WEFTEC have been holding their events in NOLA for years. Among the best reasons for having a trade show in New Orleans is its unique experiences from Mardi Gras to authentic Beignets. 

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#5 Chicago  

Chicago is one of the most popular midwestern cities for trade shows, conferences and events. In terms of cultural influence, it’s only behind New York and Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA. Did you know the first skyscraper was built in Chicago in1885?  

The architectural history alone is worth the trip. Its greatest convention center is McCormick Place. Shows like the National Restaurant Association, Cosmoprof, and the Experiential Marketing Show (EMS) held their events there in 2022.  

The Statler Hotel
The Statler off of Commerce Street is one of the historic hotels in Dallas.

#4 Dallas 

Can anyone really hate Big D? Ok, maybe we’re biased since The Trade Group’s headquarters calls Dallas home. But our vote didn’t count! Promise.  

What does Dallas have going for it from a trade show perspective? It’s a city whose influence has been growing tremendously in recent years due to its central location, tech-friendly environment, and big business draw.  

Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center is hosting important shows like MRO Americas and the National Auto Dealer’s Assocation (NADA).  

With plenty of 5-star hotels with impressive convention centers all their own, Dallas is quickly becoming a popular destination not just for trade shows but for leisure travel.  

Explore San Diego Beach via horseback riding.

#3 San Diego  

San Deigo was voted far and away the best West Coast city to host a trade show. With 70-degree weather year-round, what’s not to love?  

Some of the largest conventions in the world are hosted in San Diego such as Comic-Con International. However, plenty of smaller shows are also held in San Diego.  

#2 Orlando

Orlando is practically one large show operating 24/7. It’s home of the Magic Kingdom and the Florida skies will have you wishing you were on the beach.  

What makes Orlando especially visitor friendly is the fact it has the second largest concentration of hotels in the U.S. at 450!  

International shows like KBIS/IBS hold their events in this part of the sunshine state. 

#1 Las Vegas  

Were you secretly hoping Las Vegas didn’t take the number one spot… again? The fact remains the Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada hosts the most, and the largest, trade shows in North America. Shows like CES, SHOT Show, and SEMA, to name a few…  

Las Vegas’ infrastructure was built to hold hundreds of thousands of people attending a show. With three of the ten largest convention centers in the U.S. and 140,000 hotel rooms, Vegas’ convention centers are conveniently located near multiple attractions. 

Conclusion 

There are many great cities in America that are popular destinations for trade shows, conferences, and summits. Some of the top cities include Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando. 

These cities are popular because they have a lot to offer in terms of facilities and amenities. They also have a lot of experience hosting large events. This means that they have the infrastructure in place to accommodate large groups of people. 

Thinking of hosting your own show? The Trade Group offers general contracting services for a wide variety of events. From Bitcoin 2021 and 2022 to EVO to Pokémon Worlds, we can build your event from the ground up! Contact us below! 

The Trade Group is a full-service trade show and event marketing company. We will work with you to create an exhibit or create an event that brings in leads and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us here or give us a call at 972-734-8585. 

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