Shine Like a Star at a Los Angeles Trade Show

April 2, 2019
Andrew Doerfler
Voiced by Amazon Polly

In the City of Angels, everyone wants to see their name in lights. Amid Hollywood’s glitz and glamour, Los Angeles trade shows offer blockbuster opportunities for companies like yours. Attending a Los Angeles trade show can be the perfect way to make connections and expand your business.

As the hub of the entertainment industry in the United States, Los Angeles is a major destination for trade shows related to sectors like

  • Media
  • Fashion
  • Comics
  • Video games
  • Food and much more.

To maximize your Los Angeles trade show experience, utilize the skills and experience of R+L Global to handle your trade show needs. 

What to Know About Los Angeles Trade Shows

what to know about los angeles trade shows

The Los Angeles and Orange County area in Southern California is among the most popular destinations for trades shows in the United States. According to Exhibitor Magazine, the cities of Anaheim and Los Angeles both rank among the top 20 cities in the United States for trade shows.

But it’s not just the number of trade shows that sets the area apart - it’s also about the West Coast experience. Long Beach, just outside of Los Angeles, and Anaheim both rank among exhibit and event professionals’ 20 favorite U.S. cities for attending trade shows.

What Draws Trade Shows to the West Coast

It’s no wonder that fashion trade shows and other industry expos flock to Los Angeles and surrounding cities. A major industry expo in Southern California appeals to exhibitors and attendees as both a business hub and a travel destination.

For out-of-towners, Hollywood’s glamour, nightlife and tourist attractions make Los Angeles an appealing trip. After all, the city saw 50 million visitors last year, including 7.5 million international travelers.

Plus, the year-round picture-perfect weather makes the city an appealing locale in any season - rain is rare, and it hasn’t snowed there in more than 50 years. Especially in the winter months, industry professionals across the country are eager to visit a more temperate part of the country. With a trade show in sunny SoCal, organizers rarely have to worry about weather disrupting the smooth operation of the event.

Los Angeles trade shows aren’t all fun and games. The second biggest city in the United States with about 4 million people, La La Land has economic clout and business heavy-hitters. In recent years, California companies have typically claimed about 50 spots on the Fortune 500 list. The prevalence of nearby industry leaders only adds to Los Angeles’ strong case as a trade show host.

The trade show industry benefits the city in turn: The Los Angeles Convention Center alone generates about $781 million in economic impact every year, including 526,000 nights booked in hotel rooms, according to the Trade Show News Network. The convention center is also responsible for more than 12,000 local jobs.

The Best Convention Centers for Los Angeles Trade Shows

The appeal of Los Angeles and adjacent West Coast cities as trade show destinations is also practical. These places boast the facilities to handle major industry events, with some of the top convention centers in the country. These are the foremost trade shows venues in and around Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Convention Center

los angeles convention center

Within city limits, the marquee Los Angeles trade show hotspot is the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). First opened in 1971, the Los Angeles Convention sees more than 2 million people visit its more than 200 events annually. The downtown facility has more than 720,000 square feet of exhibition space and 147,000 square feet of meeting room space.

Known for massive events like the video games expo E3 and the Japanese animation event Anime Expo, Los Angeles has also had its 15 minutes of fame, with appearances in the movies “Starship Troopers” and “Galaxy Quest.” In addition to trade shows and conventions, the venue has also hosted entertainment extravaganzas like BET Experience, the Emmy Awards Governors Ball, and the Grammy Awards Celebration.

This being Los Angeles, you can expect many people will be driving, so the convention center offers on-site parking for 5,600 vehicles, totaling 2 million square feet of parking space. However, it’s also within walking distance of dozens of hotels, plus attractions like the Staples Center and Downtown LA’s public art installations.

The Los Angeles Convention Center also touts its status as the largest convention center in the United States to be LEED-EB Gold certified, a coveted distinction for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient design.  

Anaheim Convention Center

Los Angeles can’t claim the biggest convention center in the region. Instead, you’ll have to a few cities over to Orange County. With more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space, the Anaheim Convention Center calls itself the largest exhibition facility on the West Coast.

First opened in 1967, the Anaheim Convention Center has undergone six major expansions over the year to keep up with the rising tide of bigger and better convention centers throughout the country. The most recent cost $190 million and added 200,000 square feet. In all, the venue covers 53 acres, which includes 99 meeting rooms.

Its signature events include NAMM Show, the annual event for the National Association of Music Merchants, and Disney’s D23 Expo. It’s a coincidence that Disney has a major presence at the convention center -- Disneyland is just down the road in Anaheim, another reason the venue has proven so popular.

Shine Like a Star at a Los Angeles Trade Show 1

Pasadena Convention Center

Pasadena Convention Center’s biggest claim to fame was more than 30 years ago when it hosted the famous Motown 25 celebration, where Michael Jackson first wowed audiences with his signature moonwalk dance. But the venue continues to host major conventions every year, along with Hollywood events such as the Daytime and Creative Arts Emmys, “America’s Got Talent” audition rounds and the NAACP Image Awards.

First built in 1931 as the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the venue was expanded into the Pasadena Center in the 1970s with the addition of a conference center, exhibit hall, ballroom and more. It now features 97,000 square feet of space, including its historic 17,000 square foot exhibition hall. About 270,000 attendees visit the convention center in a year for events like entertainment trade shows.

Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

A recent $509 million expansion modernized the Long Beach Convention Center, which for decades has been among the West Coast’s premier venues for trade shows and exhibitions. The venue features about 400,000 square feet of combined meeting and exhibit space, with 34 meeting rooms and a grand ballroom. Long Beach boasts about 5,000 hotel rooms to put up many visitors.

California Market Center

At 1.8 million square feet, the California Market Center is a hub for the fashion industry in Los Angeles. The Downtown LA complex features showrooms, offices, event spaces and more, according to its website. Throughout the year, the CMC’s calendar is packed with fashion trade shows, most of them off-limits to the general public.

The facility will soon undergo a $170 million renovation and expansion that will add skybridges, rooftop spaces, an outdoor plaza, and 150,000 square feet of retail space, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

LA Mart

The LA Mart Gift + Home + Design Center is a top wholesale showroom with more than 500,000 square feet of space. Several times a year, it holds special markets and wholesale fairs that allow special previews of trendy new products, including gifts, home decor, furniture and lifestyle offerings. The space spans about 500,000 square feet.

The Top Trade Shows in Los Angeles

Every year, Los Angeles hosts some of the most hotly anticipated trade shows in the United States. Here are the biggest and most influential shows to look out for. It's important to get noticed on these expo floors. 

E3

A veritable wonderland for gamers, E3 stands for “Electronic Entertainment Expo.” The trade show is the biggest yearly event for computer and video games, showcasing the latest innovations and previewing some of the long-awaited new releases. Taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center every June, E3 draws more than 50,000 developers, programmers, manufacturers, executives, and, of course, hardcore gamers.

Anime Expo

Calling itself the biggest celebration of Japanese pop culture in North America, Anime Expo has in recent years seen attendance exceed 100,000. Spanning animation, music, fashion and accessories, and video games, the show reliably draws flamboyantly dressed cosplayers looking to convene with like-minded Japanophiles.

First launched in San Jose 1991, Anime Expo moved to Southern California in 1994. After stints in Anaheim and Long Beach, the show has taken place at its current home at the Los Angeles Convention Center since 2008.

Shine Like a Star at a Los Angeles Trade Show 1

The FitExpo Los Angeles

It’s no surprise that Los Angeles, home to perfectly toned, organic juice-chugging models, actors and all manner of beautiful people, hosts a yearly fitness expo that draws upwards of 60,000 people. The show, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, is among the biggest fitness expos in North America.

TheFitExpo goes beyond buying, selling and networking, with live contests in fields such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, arm wrestling, calisthenics and more. Editions of TheFitExpo are also held in Anaheim, San Jose and San Diego.

Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo

Nearly 9,000 people attend this major event for the hospitality industry, which features networking opportunities, demos, educational sessions and more. Chefs, restaurant owners, food service personnel and more gather to learn where their industry is headed. Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the show hosts more than 450 exhibitors showcasing food and beverage products, kitchen equipment, new technology and more.

American Film Market

It should come as no surprise that the largest film industry trade show takes place in Los Angeles County. More than 7,000 industry professionals gather in Santa Monica for the American Film Market, including producers, writers, directors, financiers, festival organizers, agents, distributors and more. The market says that more than $1 billion in deals are made over the course of the eight-day event, which features screenings, workshops, networking opportunities and more.

More Top Los Angeles Trade Shows

The expos above are far from the only major industry events to come to the City of Angeles. Here are a few of the others to watch.

  • International Gem & Jewelry Show (InterGem): This traveling jewelry wholesale fair comes to both the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Pasadena Convention Center in the spring and fall every year.
  • Franchise Expo West: While this event for aspiring entrepreneurs changes its location year to year, it’s not rare for it to come to the Los Angeles Convention Center in November.
  • GMSA Mobile World Congress (MWC): This major exhibition for mobile technology draws nearly 1,000 exhibitors to the Los Angeles Convention Center. The trade show also holds events in Barcelona and Shanghai.
  • Los Angeles Cash & Carry Show: With spring and Christmas editions, the Los Angeles Cash & Carry Shows offer a wide stock of gifts, collectibles, aromatherapy, bath and spa Items, crafts, food products, fashion accessories, jewelry and more. The show is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
  • Pasadena Bridal Show: At the Pasadena Convention Center every March, attendees see the latest trends in everything having to do with weddings, such as venues, caterers, dresses, tuxedos, honeymoon destinations, florists, DJs, photographers and much more.
  • Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo: Vendors that are blazing trails in the burgeoning fields of recreational and medical cannabis convene at the Los Angeles Convention Center for workshops, exhibitions, seminars and more. Sister medical trade shows are held in New York City and Boston.
  • The Los Angeles Ultimate Women’s Expo: Celebrity speakers at this yearly event at the Los Angeles Convention Center have included Lisa Vanderpump, Fran Drescher, Carson Kressley, Justine Bateman, Brandy, Tatum O'Neal, Mo’Nique, Tiny, Helen Unt, Jane Fonda and more.
  • Abilities Expo Los Angeles: At this yearly expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, thousands of people with disabilities and their families learn about new technologies and services, participate in workshops, and watch live entertainment.
  • Los Angeles Auto Show: This massive car show draws more than 20,000 industry professionals to the Los Angeles Convention Center, along with tens of thousands more from the general public.

The Top Trade Shows in Anaheim

top trade shows in anaheim

We would be remiss to limit this list to only shows in the immediate Los Angeles area. After all, the Anaheim Convention Center is even larger than the one in Los Angeles proper. Anaheim attracts some of the West Coast’s biggest trade shows.

The National Association of Music Merchants Show (NAMM) Show

The NAMM Show is the world’s largest trade show for music products, drawing about 115,000 people to the Anaheim Convention Center. Its sectors span recording technology, instruments, sound equipment, stage lighting and more. Amid all the business opportunities, attendees are treated to concerts and educational sessions.

Medical Design & Manufacturing West (MD&M West)

The largest medical device technology trade show in North America, MD&M West brings 19,000 visitors to the Anaheim Convention Center every February, along with more than 1,900 exhibitors. The expo features a product showcase, panel discussions and career advancement sessions.

The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX)

A relative newcomer to the trade show scene, CAMX has made a big impact in just six years. Nearly 8,000 industry professionals attend this show to see the field’s latest products and strategies. The show host about 550 exhibits at the Anaheim Convention Center. CAMX is a joint venture from the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Society for Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE).

More Top Anaheim Trade Shows

Here are a few of the other top shows coming to Orange County.

  • Disney D23 Expo: The annual expo for committed Disney fans features exclusive merchandise, sneak previews, celebrity appearances. It draws tens of thousands of people every year.
  • California Construction Expo (CalCon Expo): A two-day trade show for contractors, trade unions, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to network and grow their businesses.
  • Southern California Facilities Expo: Facility and property managers learn about the newest products in areas like grounds maintenance, energy management, utilities, lighting, HVAC and more.

The Top Long Beach Trade Shows

Not to be outdone, Long Beach has established itself as one of Southern California’s top destinations for trade shows and industry conferences. Here are the most important Long Beach trade shows.

  • Imprinted Sportswear Long Beach: One of the country’s top apparel markets shows off the latest sportswear trends in Long Beach every year. It has other editions in Atlantic City, Houston, Orlando and Fort Worth.
  • International Salon & Spa Expo (ISSE): A major gathering for the beauty industry, ISSE brings together salon owners and professionals.
  • Western Pool and Spa Show: The show may be in March, but this Long Beach trade show transports you to summer with the latest pool-related products.
  • Long Beach Expo: A destination for collectors, this show focuses on coins, currency, stamps, and sports memorabilia.
  • The NBM Show Long Beach: This show for digital graphics, which has other editions in cities such as Phoenix, Milwaukee, and Denver, encompasses digital printing, screen printing, embroidery, apparel decorating, custom gifts and more.
  • WESTEC Long Beach (WTLB): A top manufacturing trade show, Westec attracts about 10,000 people. It was previously held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but has moved to Long Beach.

Shipping to a Los Angeles Trade Show

shipping to a los angeles trade show

When headed to the West Coast for a trade show, you want to be able to soak up the California sun without worrying about your exhibit materials and tradeshow shipping. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced and professional shipping and logistics company to take care of it for you.

R+L Global Logistics has a team well versed in the ins and outs of the complicated trade show shipping process. Whether it’s packaging, warehousing or delivery, these trade show shipping professionals will track your shipment through every step of the process. Get started by using the chat feature or calling 866-415-8986.

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