With more than 10.5 million square feet of convention and meeting space (most in the U.S.), Las Vegas hosts nearly 60 of the 200 largest conventions (most in the U.S.) and 20,000 meetings annually (most in the U.S.). As such, Las Vegas has reigned as the U.S.'s top trade-show destination 22 years in a row, according to the Trade Show News Network.
This is great for conventioneers, with plenty to see and do around town when they’re not pounding the trade-show floors. But it’s not so great for general visitors, who must contend with hordes filling airplanes, crowding hotels, monopolizing rental cars and parking places, jamming the monorail, and packing shuttle buses clogging the streets and casino porticos.
In addition, room rates are sky high when the largest conventions are in town. And they’re held weekdays, generally Tuesday through Thursday, when rates are ordinarily lowest. If you're booking for a weekday and a reservations agent asks, "Are you attending a convention?" get ready to be gouged.
On the other hand, there are a few benefits of visiting Las Vegas when big conventions are in town: During the day, the crowds are working, so non-conventioneers have the run of the place. For example, minimums at the table games plummet, often as low as $5 at the big Strip casinos. Strip restaurants are busy for breakfast and dinner, of course, but lunch is an easy ticket. Same goes for a lack of daytime attendance at the pools, attractions, tours, etc.
Still, at night you'll contend with the hordes. So with the up-to-the minute listings below, you can determine whether you'd rather avoid, if at all possible, the periods when big and even medium-sized conventions are in town.