None of the links in this article are affiliate links. These are just my thoughts / experiences in visiting Transworld.
There are a lot of trade shows out there for the haunt industry but we always made Transworld’s Halloween & Attraction Show in St Louis in March as our choice to visit. This was partially because of it’s size but more so because of it’s proximity to us. St Louis, MO is only about a 3-4 hour drive from where our we live and this saved us from having to deal with airlines, rental cars, etc. We were able to drive and save some money there.
To help save money, we never stayed near the trade-show. Those rooms book fast and are usually pretty expensive. We would drive in and pay the $20/day to park our vehicle in the garage next to the convention center, piling as many people in a single car that we could!
We typically drove in Friday night after work and visited the trade-show on Saturday and Sunday! We used Saturday to try to circumnavigate the entire show floor. We would get literature, take pictures of booths / items and each make notes of what we may be interested in. At dinner or the hotel later, we would sit down and go through everything we had and make the decisions on what we wanted to purchase. Our budget was never high so we always had to really ensure the decisions that we made would give us the most bang for our buck! We used Sunday on the trade-show floor to go back around, get any questions we had answered and ultimately make our purchases!
We usually picked our hotel by price while not getting completely disgusting or unsafe. Here are three that I remember and a bit of my thoughts:
- Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel – Link – This hotel was super fancy. We almost felt a bit out of place, typically staying in cheap hotels but we got a good deal a couple years. It is near the airport so a bit of a drive to the convention center but for the right price, it was worth it. The worst part though when we stayed was that they charged for parking so that is why we stopped going here.
- OYO Hotel St. Louis Downtown City Center MO – Link – We stayed here on one of our last trips before the pandemic. It was nice, affordable, a bit aged but overall, a really good hotel. The nice thing about it is that it was just off I-64 and close to the convention center (still too far to walk). It is also just a few blocks from a place called Chris’ @ The Docket and it is my personal recommendation to check this place out for breakfast! The food was amazing.
- Days Inn by Wyndham St. Louis Lindbergh Boulevard – Permanently Closed – This hotel being gone is a huge shame. It was a nice hotel with a cool game room, free buffet breakfast, and even triple rooms that had 1 queen bed and 2 doubles. You could fit 6 people in for one cheap price! This was a favorite place of ours and well, it’s gone… But if you are on a budget and can find a hotel with 3 beds per room, that is a great way to save money!
A favorite place of ours to eat while in St Louis was always CiCi’s Pizza. In the pre-pandemic world, that had 2 or 3 locations, it appears there is now only 1 but on the plus side, you can get yourself all you can eat pizza, pasta, salad and desert for only $6.99. A bit more for a soft drink but always a great way to refresh and fill up after a long day of walking the trade-show floor! Also, they have items that can appear to most everyone so if you have a big group, you can avoid some conflict.
Another thing that we always did while in St Louis was visit the Goodwill Outlet Center. If you have never been to one of these, imagine a Goodwill store with everything thrown into blue bins and pushed out for you to dig through. Nothing has a price on it but rather, you buy the items by the pound. It can be a madhouse when they first push new bins out but it is also one heck of an adrenaline rush! We would find clothing for costumes, misc. stuff for props, lighting, about anything you could imagine. We would spend an hour or two just digging through bins and finding cool things to dress our haunt up with!
Lastly, what to do after the show? We never attended any of the parties or get togethers, just not our style. We preferred to be on our own. On Saturday night, we typically visited The City Museum. If you have never heard of or checked out The City Museum, you are missing out. I know, you are thinking “a museum, that sounds boring”. It’s kind of a museum, kind of an art exhibit and completely a massive playground for both kids and adults! This place never has disappointed. We went several years and always discovered new things, had great experiences and more. Check it out at least once if you have not!
Finally, to wrap up, another thing you can always do is an escape room but you do need to plan these well in advance. One that we visited was Code Rulers. They have changed locations and rooms since we visited but I do remember that there room was very well put together and the owner was super friendly! I just wanted to give them a quick shout out!
Ultimately, if you are looking for a tradeshow to attend, I recommend Transworld in St Louis and have some amazing memories! Remember, be respectful to the vendors, their time and their ability to get paying customers to their booths. They are there to conduct business ultimately. Most of all though, have a great time at any trade show that you visit!