The Big Apple. New York City. NYC. However you prefer to call it, New York’s name alone is enough to attract attention and visitors from all over the world. They’ve got the numbers to back that statement up too, with over 60 million people coming to the city each year.
Many of those make the journey for vacations or to see family and friends. Some come to check out the sights — Central Park, Times Square, Madison Square Garden, and so on. Some come to work for all the big names — The New Yorker, KPMG, The New York Times, and more. But a significant number of visitors come to attend events in the city. Each year there are hundreds of events covering all forms of topics, genres, and interests held in NYC, meaning that the city welcomes people from all sorts of professional and personal backgrounds.
The city has the ability to host though, with an extensive transportation network, an abundance of hotels and many top-notch conference venues, the city is a world-class destination to accommodate events of all sizes.
What You Need To Know Before Attending New York City Events
You’ve got your tickets, you’re ready to go, but wait! Have you been to NYC before? Sure, you might have watched a few episodes of Friends in your younger years, and you’ve probably heard of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Wall Street, and Central Park — but do you actually know where to go, how to get around and where to stay? Here are a few helpful pointers.
Traveling To (And Around) NYC
Getting to New York City is easy simply due to the multitude of transport options available. The city is a hub for international and domestic travel and is served by three airports: John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International.
Within the city, public transport is excellent and includes buses, ferries and one of the most extensive subway systems in the world. You’ll also be able to flag a taxi pretty easily, meaning that you’ll have no problem getting to just about every corner of the city.
Where To Stay In NYC
As is the case with most cities, it might be best to stay close to your venue, if possible. That will generally mean paying more if it’s a large conference or event, and if that’s not an option you can always rely on the trusty transport network we mentioned.
There are plenty of places to stay wherever you choose with the total hotel inventory standing at around 113,500 rooms - a figure which seems to continually grow! A blend of new construction, renovation of historical buildings, and huge hotels means that you’ll not be stuck for somewhere to rest after a long day of eventing.
What Types Of New York City Events Are There Throughout The Year?
If you’ve spent any time browsing through the events in NYC, you might have noticed that it’s now commonplace for them to be listed under a variety of names rather than just “events.” With the world of events, there are different types of events, such as:
- Conferences: The backbone of the events industry and most commonly used when for multi-day events which typically aim to educate, inform or even train attendees. They can get quite pricey!
- Trade Shows: This is where companies in a specific industry have the opportunity to showcase their products and services. Trade shows are often closed-door, unlike conferences or other events.
- Summits: These tend to be of a smaller size than conferences and are generally comprised of c-level executives. However, they’ll mostly function in the same way a conference does.
- Seminars: Think of seminars as mini-conferences that are much smaller in scope and sometimes only last one, or maybe half of a day.
Why Should You Attend New York City Events — Are They Worth Your Time?
This is one of the hotly debated topics around events — are they actually worth the investment based on what you get in return. If you want to attend an event in New York for the first time, you’ll probably have to pitch the idea to your company and outline why it is actually of benefit for you, and others, to attend.
The actual benefits might be plentiful, but for most companies, particularly those on a tight budget, it can be difficult to give the green light to an expensive event or conference without statistical numbers proving that it will be worthwhile to back it up.
With that in mind, there are some questions you can ask yourself before you decide whether you want to go to an event or conference. If you can’t manage to justify your attendance after answering some of these then it might not be worthwhile pitching the idea to your manager or senior team. If you’re looking to attend the event for your own benefit the same principle applies.
- Will this event help you develop better relationships with people in your industry?
- Will the event offer the chance for you to generate high-quality leads?
- Are there speaking opportunities where you could promote yourself/your company?
- Will you be able to connect with people through social media easily?
- Is there any potential for you to use your event attendance for additional marketing purposes?
- What is the opportunity cost of you attending, or not attending, the event?
- Are your competitors attending? If so, can you assess why?
Answering these is a great exercise to carry out on a few events you’ve highlighted as potential contenders.
Which New York City Events Should You Attend?
Ok, so we’ve figured out which types of events might be for you, what the benefits are of attending, and what you need to know about NYC. Now let’s get stuck into the actual events. We’ve broken down the best 2018 New York City events for you to attend based on the following categories:
- Best of the rest
We recommend that you have a browse through the list, pick a few that catch your eye, and then do your own research and assessment to determine whether they’ll be worthy of a trip.
1. Collective Design
When: March 9-11
Collective Design explores the significance of design in everyday life. The annual fair highlights both the importance of the design process and also the diversity of today’s material culture. You’ll experience a series of conversations and educational programs sure to spark ideas, encourage conversation, and set you on your way to achieving collectible design.
When: May 11-23
NYCxDESIGN spans all forms of design and opens the door for a host of cultural and commercial opportunities. Discussions on established and emerging design practices take place at the event which attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and designers from across the world.
Over the course of the 13 days, events take place across the city’s five boroughs, making for a truly community-based, uniquely creative, and diverse experience for all attendees.
Pitched as North America’s “premier showcase for contemporary design,” the ICFF attracts professionals intrigued by the trends and truths of the design world. There’s a packed schedule of exhibits and feature events covering luxury international design, showcasing the best of interior design.
Over 800 exhibitors and more than 36,000 industry peers make for a truly remarkable blend of international companies and attendants.
When: Nov (with no set date yet)
Boutique Design New York (BDNY) is the leading trade fair and conference for the hospitality design industry. The event brings interior designers, architects, purchasing agents and hospitality owners together for what has turned out to be a hugely successful event, now in its eighth year.
Usually running for two days, the creative talents of the hospitality design industry come together to focus on innovation, and what the future holds. The show culminates with the Gold Key Awards Gala.
When: Feb 25-28
Typically, a fast-paced few days, the O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference provides design, development and deployment training for both veteran and aspiring software architects, engineers and senior developers.
Experts share new techniques, proven best practices, and the skills they consider essential for success in the industry. You'll hear about the tools they use and why, plus the effect they can have on their work, focusing on:
- Cloud native development
- Application and enterprise architecture
- Distributed systems
When: April 29 - May 2
Organizations are in a rush to apply AI where they can with the hope of innovating and gaining a competitive advantage over their rivals. And with companies like Google and Nest teaming up using AI tech, you can't afford to be left behind. The AI Conference gives you a solid understanding of the latest breakthroughs and best practices in AI that could well benefit your business.
You’ll get information on several AI related topics, including:
- AI in the enterprise
- How to successfully implement AI projects
- The impact of AI on business and society
- Interacting with AI (including a discussion on design, metrics, and bots)
When: May 9-11
The 99U Conference is a live experience that inspires creative professionals to bring their ideas to life and shape the future of the design industry. If you want to know what goes into being a top web designer, this conference is for you. You’ll have the chance to learn from the world’s top thinkers and doers who offer a series of pragmatic, real-world insights over the course of two days.
When: June 19-21
FinTech, much like AI and VR, is a booming industry. The Future of FinTech is an exclusive gathering of the world's largest financial institutions, best FinTech startups, and most active venture investors.
The 2017 edition saw world-class speakers cover topics from blockchain to emerging markets, and early-stage investing in algorithmic hedge funds. Most interestingly the event focuses heavily on what the future holds for FinTech (explaining the name!) and what trends you should look out for in an industry that is set to only continue its rapid growth.
When: September 11-13
The Strata Data Conference brings together the world's smartest data scientists and business strategists. Each year they share skills, best practices, and set the foundations for trends and development in the industry.
The conference is the perfect chance to discuss the strategic use of data and shape the future of both business and technology. In 2018 the focus will be on:
- Big data and cloud-based data science
- Data-driven business management
- Data engineering and architecture
- Machine learning
- Emerging tech
- Law, ethics, and governance
- Visualization and UX
When: October 24-25
The Brand Marketing Summit welcomes over 400 CMOs, marketing and social media leaders from over 45 innovative brands to NYC. In 2018 the focus is on:
- Personalization & experience: Helping marketers understand what they must do to better serve their customers
- Content & storytelling: How to tell compelling stories while still managing to scale your content production
- Attribution & insights: How to accurately track the progress of your marketing efforts
- Omnichannel integration: Ways to create the ultimate brand experience including, social media, email marketing, mobile, and more
- Social media marketing: Learning about the latest trends to get you thinking ahead of your competition
When: 18 April
Another FinTech conference, this time geared towards startups, with an opportunity to hear from those forging new trails in various segments of the industry including:
- Insurance tech
- Real estate, and more.
With over 500 attendees in 2017, the conference also plays host to the investors and service providers that help accelerate startups.
When: May 10
TechDay attracts investors searching for companies poised to revolutionize global markets. The event has hosted some of the largest venture firms in the world, plus corporate venture funds, accelerators and angel investors. Things to look out for TechDay include:
- First-hand experiences of the latest tech and newest startups
- Startup founders presenting live demos of their newest products
- Insights from leading tech brands
- First-person access to the directors of top accelerator programs
- Discover new partnerships and business opportunities
More Events You Shouldn’t Miss
When: October 18-19
S.H.E. Summit is the renowned global leadership conference which celebrates and accelerates the global advancement of women and gender equality. Founded by women’s leadership expert Claudia Chan, the summit brings together over 50 thought leaders to discuss today’s most relevant women and societal issues.
When: May 21-24
Leaders Week is a gathering of the who’s who of global sport, technology and entertainment for an unrivaled series of knowledge-sharing, social events, and networking. It’s an opportunity to meet with the greatest athletes and the smartest minds in what is a humongous industry!
As you can see, there's more to New York City than just the typical tourist attractions — and these events are sure to get you motivated to take on your next big adventure! All you have to do is find that one that speaks to you.
Want more news on upcoming events? Sign up for our newsletter!