Top 20 Largest and Greatest Convention Centers in the World12 min read

Choosing the right venue is crucial in event management. If you want to organize a large-scale trade show or congress with a few hundred thousands attendees, you don’t have that many choices. If you have ever wondered what are the largest convention centers in the world, check out our top 20.

1. Hannover Messe – 496,000 m2 – Hanover, Germany

The Hannover exhibition center is the largest convention center in the world with a 554,000 sqm surface area (496,000 indoor and 58,000 outdoor).

The convention center was built 70 years ago after World War II and has always hosted massive trade shows, the largest being Hannover Messe. This industrial fair is the gathering of several tech shows in the same place at the same time. Overall, it counts more than 5,000 exhibitors and 210,000 attendees.

Hannover Messe Website

2. The National Exhibition and Convention Center Shanghai – 400,000 m2 – Shanghai, China

The National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC) Shanghai is the second largest exhibition center worldwide. The venue offers a 500,000 sqm exhibition space including 100,000 sqm outdoor. It opened in 2015 and hosts every year some of the largest shows in China like Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics. It’s directly connected to the Pudong International Airport which makes it very convenient to access for international attendees.

NECC website

3. Messe Frankfurt – 366,637 m2 – Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurt exhibition center is the second largest venue in Germany. It features 10 exhibition halls for a total surface area of 592,127 sqm as well as an 100,000 sqm outdoor space. It hosts some major national and international fairs like IAA Cars.

Messe Frankfurt website

4. Crocus Expo – 366,100 m² – Moscow, Russia

Corcus Expo is another massive convention center in Russia. It hosts every year more over 350 events (trade shows, fairs, conferences, corporate events, sport competitions…) including Bauma CTT. In terms of global attendance, it’s the only venue in Russia that exceeds 10,000,000 visitors a year. It’s the largest in the country with 366,100 sqm indoor and 219,000 outdoor.

Crocus Expo website

5. Fiera Milano – 345,000 m2 – Milan, Italy

Fiera Milano is the downtown exhibition center of Milan, the largest in Italy and the 5th worldwide with 345,000 sqm shared between 8 exhibition halls. Around 70 events happen there yearly, most of them are business events like Viscom Italia.

Fiera Milano website

6. Canton Fair Complex (China Import and Export Fair) – 338,000 m2 – Guangzhou, China

The 6th largest convention center in the world is in China again: Guangzhou International Exhibition and Convention Center. It opened for the first time in 1957 and has been constantly refurbished over time to make it bigger and bigger. This is where the well-known Canton Fair takes place welcoming more than 150,000 attendees from 200 countries. The venue offers a 338,000 sqm indoor exhibition space and 43,000 sqm outdoor.

Canton Fair website

7. Kunming Dianchi Convention & Exhibition Center – 310,000 m2 – China

The Kunming Dianchi Convention & Exhibition Center is a very impressive international venue located in the south of China. It’s the 3rd largest exhibition space in the country with 310,000 indoor space and over 100,000 outdoor.

Kunming Dianchi Convention & Exhibition Center website

8. Koelnmesse – 284,000 m2 – Cologne, Germany

Koelnmesse is the 3rd largest convention center in Germany. Based in Cologne, it hosts every year around 70 major fairs, exhibitions, trade shows….In total, it represents 2,7 million visitors yearly. It has 11 exhibition halls for a total of 284,000 sqm as well as large outdoor areas which makes this venue convenient and flexible for organizers.

Koelnmesse website

9. Dusseldorf Messe – 262,000 m2 – Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf Messe is a large German convention center just like the others previously mentioned. Large scale events have more than enough space in its 19 exhibition halls – 262,000 sqm indoor and 43,000 outdoor. In terms of traffic, 1.5 million visitors attend an event in this venue every year. It hosts massive events like Beauty Dusseldorf.

Messe Dusseldorf website

10. Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center – 242,000 m2 – Paris, France

Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center is the largest convention center in France. It has 242,000 sqm of exhibition space with 9 halls and 110,000 sqm of outdoor spaces. It’s in existence since 1981 and welcomes around 2 million visitors yearly. Located near Paris city center and close to the airport it hosts large international gathering such as Batimat.

Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center website

11. McCormick Place Convention Center – 241,000 m2 – Chicago, United States

The McCormick Place Convention Center is the largest convention center in the United States with a 241,548 sqm indoor space. Inaugurated in 1960, the building has been refurbished and enlarged many times. It hosts some major american trade shows like the Chicago Auto Show which is the largest motor show in the US. It welcomes every year more than 3 million visitors from all around the globe.

McCormick Place website

12. Gran Via Barcelona Venue – 240,000 m² – Barcelona, Spain

The Gran Via Barcelona Venue has been designed by the famous Japanese architect Toyo Ito. It’s one of the largest exhibition centers in Spain and also the most modern. It’s located close to the airport and connected to all the major network of the country. The main structure is made of 8 halls connected by gateways for a total surface of 240,000 sqm. It hosts every year some major congress and trade shows such as the Mobile World Congress.

Gran Via Barcelona website

13. Feria Valencia – 230,000 m² – Valencia, Spain

Feria Valencia is the institutional convention center of Valencia. It is well-known for hosting major international events in a warm and sunny mediterranean environment. It has been built a century ago which makes it one of the oldest convention centers in Spain. With a total surface of 230,000 sqm, it’s the second largest venue in the country. Hundreds of events are hosted every year.

Feria Valencia website

14. Paris Expo Porte de Versailles – 216,000 m² – Paris France

Paris expo Porte de Versailles is the second largest convention center in France with 8 main halls and a total exhibition space of 216,000 sqm. Many major international expos and conventions are hosted there every month including the Paris Motor Show and the Paris International Agricultural Show which makes it the most popular venue of Paris. More 7.5 million visitors attend a show there every year.

Paris Expo website

15.  Messe München – 200,000 m² – Munich, Germany

Messe München is also one the well-known convention centers of Germany. It’s a large venue with 200,000 sqm of indoor exhibition space and 414,000 sqm outdoor. Messe München welcomes more than 2 million visitors and 30,000 exhibitors every year with around 250 events. One of the mos popular of them is bauma.

Messe München website

16. Chongqing Expo – 200 000 m² – Chongqing, China

Chongqing Expo exhibition center is one of the largest venues in China with a total surface of 200,000 sqm splitted into 16 halls. It hosts hundreds of international business shows every year in many industries such as Cimamotor.

Chongqing Expo website

17. BolognaFiere – 200,000 m² – Bologna, Italy

BolognaFiere is the main international convention center in the north of Italy. Located in the most dynamic part of the country, it is the largest exhibition center with a total surface of 375,000 sqm including 200,000 sqm indoor splitted into 18 halls. It’s well connected to all the main cities and airports in Italy. It hosts very large events just like EIMA International that brings 280,000 international visitors in November.

BolognaFiere website

18. Shanghai New International Expo Center – 200,000 m² – Shanghai, China

SNIEC is the second largest convention center in Shanghaï with 200,000 sqm surface. It hosts hundreds of global business events attracting 4 million visitors who come from all over the world. The exhibition halls are flexible so that the venue can adapt to many formats: trade shows, conference, congress, symposium, business meetings.

SNIEC website

19. Orange County Convention Center – 190,000m² – Orlando, Florida

Inaugurated in 1983, the Orange County Convention Center is the main
convention center in Florida and the second largest in the United States after the McCormick Place in Chicago with 190,000 sqm. More than 200 events are hosted there in Orlando. The venue has a significant local economic impact with 1,4 million visitors coming every year for a total value of 2,4 billion dollar.

Orange County Convention Center website

20. NEC Birmingham – 186,000 m² – Birmingham, UK

NEC Birmingham is the largest convention center in the United Kingdom. It has 20 halls and more than 186,000 sqm of exhibition space. It welcomes 3 million visitors and 500 national and international events every year such as Grand Designs Live.

NEC website

If you are part of the global exhibition, trade shows and fairs industry or just interested in the sector, check out Tradefest, the leading business events review platform and browse thousands of reviews from trusted professionals. Tradefest helps business executive find and compare the best events in their industry worldwide.