Walter E. Washington Convention Center Named Best North American Convention Center

10 December 2021

Today Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announced that the Walter E. Washington Convention Center was recognized by Exhibitor Magazine as the best convention center in North America with between 500,000 to one million square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitor named 17 facilities as Centers of Excellence finalists for recognition in seven categories: Best Convention Center (in four size-based categories), Best New or Improved Convention Center, Best Customer Service & On-Site Support, and Best Health & Safety Protocols (a new award this year). The Walter E. Washington Convention Center was named a Best Convention Center finalist in its size category and in the Best Health & Safety Protocols and received the award for Best Convention Center. The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony.

"We appreciate the recognition from EXHIBITOR Magazine acknowledging the hard work and excellence our team at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center continues to exhibit," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. "Events DC remains committed to the health and safety of our customers and employees as our highest priority. Our goal remains to ensure their confidence and safety as they enter our venues, and we are dedicated to focusing our efforts on taking our operating standards to the next level."

Featuring 2.3 million square feet of flexible conventions and meetings space, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is home to meetings, conventions, trade shows and events of every kind, hosting everything from world leaders' summit meetings and the annual meetings of major corporations and associations to pop culture expos and executive retreats. The Center welcomes more than 1.2 million attendees each year and has generated over $6.5 billion of economic impact for Washington, DC since 2003.

The Center's five guiding principles of Respect, Professionalism, Communication, Accountability and Teamwork drove its transformative changes and physical improvements during the pandemic, all with an eye toward to the future and the economic recovery of the District of Columbia. In addition to adopting such cutting-edge technologies as the Synexis BioDefense System HVAC technology and BIOPROTECT™ by SurfaceGuard, the Center was the first building in the District and the convention center in the Northeast Corridor to achieve GBAC STAR™ certification in 2020; the Center was recertified for 2021.

Events DC also unveiled a new 19,000 square-foot state-of-the-art production studio in the Center for virtual and hybrid programming, and recently opened two locally-owned vendors inside the Center – the iconic Ben's Chili Bowl and Shop Made in DC. Hosted in partnership with our service partner Aramark, these exciting new additions will provide guests with authentic DC experiences through locally inspired cuisine and crafts.

During the pandemic Events DC provided $18 million in funding to support local restaurants, destination marketing and undocumented hospitality industry employees. Events DC also established a $5 million undocumented workers' relief fund through the District's CARES program, lending financial assistance to workers excluded from federal stimulus efforts. In partnership with Safeway, Events DC provided over 5000 Thanksgiving meals and gift bags to District nonprofit organizations in both 2020 and 2021; and donated the Center's kitchens as staging areas for preparing and assembling over 100,000 bags of fresh, nutritious groceries to families in need.

"We are thrilled to achieve the 2021 EXHIBITOR Center of Excellence award for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center," said Samuel Thomas, chief operating officer of Events DC. "To receive this acknowledgement speaks to all the contributions from every department, division, campus, service and marketing partner, and of course, every staff associate at the Center. We have safely reopened and will continue to provide premier hospitality for our clients and their attendees."

"Using the same criteria and algorithm employed to identify North America's top 30 convention centers for trade shows and events, we took things a step further to find the ultimate best of the best," said Travis Stanton, editor of EXHIBITOR magazine. "These seven facilities range dramatically in size, and they vary in geographic location. But they all share one thing in common, and that's a commitment to excellence."

The Center returned to its core mission of hosting major conventions and tradeshows with the return of OTAKON 2021 and Awesome Con. The Center has since hosted the annual conventions of the Association of the United States Army, the Association for Financial Professionals, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the American Speech-Language-and Hearing Association, the AOC Symposium and Expo and the popular MetroCooking DC food show and are honored to host President Biden's Summit for Democracy. Looking ahead in 2022, there will be 20 citywide meetings and such noteworthy public events as the Washington Auto Show to the Convention Center.

About Events DC
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the Nation's Capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District's hospitality and tourism economy that hosts more than 1.7 million visitors and generates more than $400 million annually in direct economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus (RFK Campus), including Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Festival Grounds at RFK Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, and the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Stay current on the 190-acre RFK Campus Redevelopment Project at Events DC also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. Events DC manages Gateway DC, R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and Entertainment & Sports Arena all conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit and find us on social media – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (Events DC), and Twitter (@TheEventsDC) — and on our new hub for live and on-demand event programming on GATHER by Events DC at

Contact: Chinyere Hubbard
[email protected]