Main photo: I-X Center; where to sleep photo: metropolitan at the 9; where to eat photo: Shebeko/Shutterstock.com; Taxi photo: D-N-D/Shutterstock.com
Originally incarnated as the Cleveland Bomber Plant in 1942, the International Exposition Center in Cleveland, better known as the I-X Center, is a sprawling venue with 1.2 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space on a 2-million-square-foot campus. The facility also boasts 55- to 77-foot-high ceilings, a grand ballroom, 26 meeting rooms, and 300,000 square feet of column-free space, as well as a new convertible arena/theater with state-of-the-art technology. But the unique attraction of the venue is an unexpected indoor Ferris wheel rising past the roofline into a glass atrium in the ceiling like a crown jewel, offering not only an outstanding view of Cleveland, but also a new twist on trade show facilities.
WHERE TO SLEEP
The I-X Center has an abundance of chain hotels within a few miles driving distance, though a broader selection of properties is available 15 miles away in downtown Cleveland. Nearby, the Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Airport is also a popular choice, or for trendier digs head to Metropolitan at the 9, Cleveland's most popular hotel.
WHAT TO EAT
The best option for lunch is one of the on-site concession stands or bistros, as there are no restaurants within walking distance of the I-X Center. Treat clients to the seafood and view of Lake Erie at Pier W, or entertain up to 50 people with the sophisticated cocktails and American fare at Lola, a downtown bistro.
HOW TO GET THERE
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is 1 mile from the I-X Center, and taxi service is available for approximately $15 each way. A variety of ground-transfer options are also available, though many hotels near the airport offer free shuttle service for guests (www.clevelandairport.com
). The venue has 7,200 parking spots, and a rental car may be useful if you are planning to explore the city beyond your hotel and the I-X center.
The I-X Center retains the exclusive right to furnish all services including labor, decorating, electrical, material handling, Internet, and telecommunications.
The I-X Center recently upgraded the Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities throughout the entire property.
Outside contractors may only provide supervision for installation and dismantle, but I-X Center personnel must perform all labor. Contractors must be approved by the I-X Center in advance and register with show services daily.
Up to three exhibitor employees may set up and dismantle a display using battery-operated tools. If more labor is required, it must be a 3-to-1 ratio of employees to I-X Center laborers.
Ohio Transient Vendor's Licenses are required for companies that plan to sell goods or taxable services on the trade show floor.
Noncommercial cars, trucks, and vans may be unloaded with the use of a hand truck at the venue's docks, but hand trucks may not be used inside the venue.
The I-X Center has an on-site sign shop and business center that offers assistance with signage, as well as printing, copying, and graphic services.