My next two trade shows this year are in Philadelphia and San Antonio. This lead to an interesting discussion with a colleague. We had a heated discussion as to where we preferred to go to trade shows at. The debate started with a "big city vs. smaller city" debate and evolved to include whether or not we preferred the trips to be located in cities where we could also visit customers, but at the expense of more days away from home. The end point was my top ten cities to visit for trade shows.
10. San Fransico, CA - the pro here is obviously the location and the lively downtown area. The con here is that shows here are typically less attended due to the long travel and high prices.
9. Dallas, TX - A great place to visit a trade show for me, especially if I want to tie in the trip with visits to our dealers. Weather is usually good and there is some great Texas BBQ to be had!
8. Houston, TX - Similar to Dallas with respect to accessibility to other customers. Unique mall located near the Convention Center which features a few good places to eat/shop.
7. Boston, MA - There is something to say about having a fresh, locally made Sam Adams beer. The town is dripping with History and things to do.
6. St. Louis, MO - Downtown St. Louis is one of the hidden jewels of the country. For those who like to gamble, the casino is nearby, the bars and restaurants are fun, and the location is easily accessible from most of the country.
5. Nashville, TN - Its a cab ride away from Opryland, but downtown Nashville is a great place to spend an evening. Great food and even better live country music!
4. Las Vegas, NV - No explanation needed...the downside here is that many people visiting your booth during the first half of the day may still be feeling the effects of the night before.
3. New Orleans, LA - See Above
2. Orlando, FL - At least once every 2 or 3 years, we attend a show here. It's usually in early March. Coming from Chicago, its great to get into some warmer weather. I also enjoy the area where the Convention housing is located (Universal Blvd area). Many places to eat/drink and even a fun piano bar!
1. Austin, TX - Sadly, I've only been here a few times, but this is THE PLACE to come for live music and a city with character. The people are friendly, the convention center is located downtown, and the weather is great year round!
I'd love to hear some of your favorite places to attend trade shows!