Wear comfortable shoes. If you have to pick function or fashion, you want functional footwear when taking on the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s huge, among the largest convention complexes in the world. Moreover, at 1,940,631 square feet of exhibit space and a capacity of 200,000 participants, the LVCC is the most spacious single-story convention center on earth.
City leaders conceived of the convention center to fight the off-peak economic doldrums. After all, Bachelorette Party Season only lasts so long, and Vegas has over 124,000 hotel rooms to fill. The city stewards wanted to make a statement – Vegas was a place to do big business. Message heard, loud and clear – go big … or go gamble.
What does it mean to have almost 2 million square feet and no upper levels? It means the place is spread out. Getting from one end to another requires healthy knees and good cardiovascular foundation. A walking stick wouldn’t hurt either, and you might want to plan on a lunch break.
Don’t count on being wowed by lunch, sadly. Considering that Vegas is practically Emeril Legasse’s second home, the food-court offerings at the LVCC are uninspired. Even the Starbucks suffers in terms of quality and service.
Give credit to the staff, though. A facility this big requires a small army to keep it on a paying basis. A phalanx of ushers, clerks, maids, custodians, porters, and security guards run the place like a Swiss watch. Expect clean restrooms and helpful service. Like many businesses in Vegas, the air-conditioning policy could best be described as “desert-dwelling overcompensation.” Bring a sweater.
The LVCC also shines in terms of parking accommodation. Parking is ample and easily accessible. Still, for a city that can turn a DMV waiting room into a party, the LVCC can’t help but feel a little out of place. It’s big, but neither glitzy like the Strip, nor sleek and modern like some of the more impressive convention centers of the world.
That could all be about to change, as the convention center prepares for $890 million in renovations, its 14th major renovation since it came online in 1959. In addition to modernization and another half-million square foot, plans include a new grand concourse, police and fire facilities on site, covered pedestrian access to the monorail, and a new facade.
If you’re here to work and not to party, plenty of hotels provide easy access to the convention center, including a Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Renaissance Hotel, Embassy Suites, and Hilton Grand. As you can guess by the names, these offerings are fairly vanilla by Vegas standards. Well … do what you gotta do. The showgirls and slots will still be there once you wise up. The nearest bauble hotel is the Wynn, just under a mile away.
VERDICT: Despite lacking in cuisine and in need of an update, the Las Vegas Convention Center is a user-friendly and well-run facility to hold a convention or expo, especially one that needs several football fields of space. Plus, you get your cardio from all the walking.