All World Expo locations since 1851

List by
23 places in 14 countries

For more than a century and a half, global citizens have congregated at World Expos to celebrate human achievement, explore pressing issues of the day, and experience the cultural expressions of people from all corners of the world. The World Expo has seen 168 years of transformation, its locations stretching from Scandinavia's bracing climes to the sun-baked Middle East plains, each offering a distinct and compelling backdrop to this illustrious event.

World Expos are unique in their scale and duration, with each typically lasting six months and drawing tens of millions of visitors who explore hundreds of pavilions. These pavilions are as diverse as the countries they represent, showcasing everything from technological innovations to artistic masterpieces.

This guide offers an in-depth exploration of all World Expo locations from the inaugural event in London's Crystal Palace in 1851 until 2023 when this page is published.


City in🇬🇧 United Kingdomrated

London, the capital of England, has played host to the World Expo twice. Its first endeavor was the inaugural 1851 event held in the iconic Crystal Palace, a remarkable cast-iron and plate-glass structure. As it was known, the Great Exhibition showcased technological advances from across the globe, drawing an impressive six million visitors.

The city's second stint came in 1862 at a different venue - the South Kensington Museum, now known as the Victoria and Albert Museum. It expanded on its predecessor's theme of global innovation, placing emphasis on the arts and design. An estimated six million people were again drawn to London to witness the marvels of modern technology and culture.

In terms of World Expos, London set a precedent, not just as the inaugural host but also as an example of how to successfully bring together nations under one roof for cultural exchange and showcasing human advancement. It's a city where every corner tells a story, making it a fitting location for such global gatherings.

Explore London


City in🇫🇷 Francerated

Paris, the famed capital of France, has held the distinguished honor of hosting the World Expo a record six times. Beginning with the inaugural event in 1855, the city welcomed the world again in 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900, and most recently in 1937. Each Expo has left its own distinctive mark on the city's tapestry, contributing to its global reputation as a hub for culture, innovation, and cosmopolitan living.

The first Expo in 1855 set the stage for what was to become a tradition of grand international exhibitions. Held at the Palais de l'Industrie, it was a spectacle of industrial achievement, drawing attention to Paris's progressive attitude. The 1867 edition took place on the Champ de Mars, featuring a vast central pavilion, an architectural feat that drew praise and wonder.

The third Parisian Expo in 1878 was noted for its focus on fine arts and machinery, its remarkable showcase was the head of the Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States before it was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. However, the 1889 Expo is perhaps the most famous for unveiling the Eiffel Tower, now an iconic symbol of Paris. In 1900, the Expo introduced the world to the Petit Palais and Grand Palais, two monumental buildings that continue to grace the cityscape.

The last Parisian Expo in 1937 was a testament to the role of art and technology in modern society. It featured two rival pavilions from Germany and the Soviet Union, each representing their nation's ideological stance.

Explore Paris


City in🇦🇹 Austriarated

Vienna, the capital city of Austria, has shown the world it has more to offer than good music and apple strudel. The city was chosen as a host in 1873, opening its gates to a global audience and demonstrating its cultural, technological and architectural prowess.

The 1873 Expo, situated in the heart of Vienna at the Prater park, showcased advancements in industry and technology. Its standout feature was the Rotunda, an iron and glass structure of colossal proportions, which unfortunately was destroyed by fire years later. Nevertheless, it served as a testament to the era's engineering marvels.

Explore Vienna


City in🇪🇸 Spainrated

Barcelona, a city on Spain's northeastern coast, is not merely a hub of modern architecture and rich Catalan culture but also a historic host of the World Expo. It has opened its arms to this prestigious event not once but twice.

The first instance was in 1888, when Barcelona stepped into the global spotlight. The Expo was held in the Parc de la Ciutadella, showcasing an array of architectural marvels that still stand today. The Arc de Triomf, acting as the main entrance, is one such edifice that echoes the city's Expo history.

Fast forward to 1929, Barcelona again became the host city, this time focusing on arts and industry. The event was instrumental in the construction of many iconic landmarks. The Montjuïc area was developed, and the grand Palau Nacional was built to house the National Art Museum of Catalonia.

Explore Barcelona


City in🇧🇪 Belgiumrated

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has hosted the World Expo four times. The first World Expo took place in 1897. It was an affair that celebrated Belgian colonialism, focusing on the Congo Free State. An entire Congolese village was replicated, which now sparks debates about the ethics of such displays.

In contrast, the 1910 Expo showcased advancements in science and technology, bringing Belgium's industrial prowess to the fore. It featured 20 different pavilions, each dedicated to a particular scientific field.

The city's third hosting in 1935 focused on tourism and navigation. The 1958 Expo is remembered for unveiling the Atomium, a structure symbolizing an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. This iconic monument stands tall today, offering a panoramic view of the city from its highest sphere.

Explore Brussels


City in🇧🇪 Belgiumrated

In 1905, Liège in Belgium, opened its doors to the world for the first time, showcasing a celebration of industries and applied arts. It was an occasion marked by the introduction of the electricity supply for public use, a significant leap forward for Liège's industrial identity.

Explore Liège


City in🇧🇪 Belgiumrated

The World Expo of 1913, held in the Belgian city of Ghent, is a noteworthy chapter of the global exhibitions. Ghent, a city known for its medieval architecture and canals, was an unusual choice for such a grand event. The Expo was a showcase of innovation and progress, with over 130 hectares of exhibition space dedicated to the latest advancements in industry, technology, and art.

The Ghent World Expo may not be as well-known as some of its counterparts, but it was still holding a celebration of human ingenuity and progress.

Explore Ghent


City in🇯🇵 Japanrated

Osaka, a city in Japan, is much more than its reputation for delectable street food and towering skyscrapers.

Osaka was the stage for the World Expo in 1970 and is planned to host the World Expo again in 2025. The 1970 Expo was pivotal, as it was the first to be held in Asia. It introduced the world to the theme "Progress and Harmony for Mankind" which resonated powerfully in the post-war era. The Expo's landmark, the Tower of the Sun, still stands in Osaka, a reminder of the country's commitment to progress.

Explore Osaka


City in🇪🇸 Spainrated

Seville, located in southern Spain, is an often overlooked gem that played host to the World Expo in 1992. Seville's World Expo, held on the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America, saw participation from over 100 countries and international organizations. It brought about significant infrastructure development, including the creation of a new island, La Cartuja, connected by bridges to the city.

A notable piece of the event is the iconic Spanish Pavilion, showcasing the nation's technological advances alongside traditional arts and crafts.

Explore Seville


City in🇩🇪 Germanyrated

The 2000 Expo in Hanover, the first to take place in Germany, was themed "Humankind, Nature, Technology". The event sought to explore how these three elements could coexist in harmony. It attracted participants from 180 countries and brought in a wave of over 18 million visitors. Its main attractions were the thematic pavilions that touched on key global issues, including climate change and urban development.

Explore Hanover

Aichi Prefecture

Prefecture in🇯🇵 Japan

In the realm of World Expos, Aichi Prefecture has played host once, in 2005. The Expo focused on the theme of "Nature's Wisdom", emphasising the harmonious relationship between technological advancement and natural preservation. The event brought together representatives from 121 countries, in addition to multiple international organizations, and showcased a range of exhibitions and cultural events.

One of the Expo's key attractions was the Japanese Pavilion, a symbol of sustainability built using recycled materials. It hosted various interactive exhibits highlighting Japan's commitment to ecological consciousness.

Explore Aichi Prefecture


City in🇨🇳 Chinarated

In 2010, Shanghai, the most populous city in China, proudly hosted the World Expo for the first time, attracting a staggering 73 million visitors from across the globe.

The Expo's theme was "Better City, Better Life", a nod to Shanghai's rapid urban development. The event saw over 190 countries participate, each showcasing their solutions for sustainable urban living. Among the standout features was the China Pavilion, a colossal structure painted in traditional Chinese red, that still dominates the skyline.

Explore Shanghai


City in🇦🇪 United Arab Emiratesrated

Dubai has made its mark in the world of international exhibitions in 2020. This modern city, situated on the southeastern coast of the Persian Gulf, is home to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and a host of other architectural marvels.

The event was a spectacle that left an indelible mark on attendees. It showcased not only the city's rapid advancement but also its capacity for hospitality, attracting millions of visitors. The Expo featured an array of themes, each designed to promote understanding and cooperation among nations. It focused on sustainability, mobility, and opportunity, encouraging a global dialogue on these critical issues.

What's particularly notable about Dubai is its strategic location. The city is a bridge between East and West, making it a significant hub for business and tourism alike.

Explore Dubai


City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Philadelphia, a city situated on the United States' eastern seaboard, is known to many as the "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia's image abroad often revolves around the Liberty Bell, its pivotal role in American independence, and a sandwich known as the cheesesteak.

In 1876, the city was the site of the first official World's Fair held in the United States - the Centennial International Exhibition. Key exhibits included a range of technological innovations like Alexander Graham Bell's telephone and the Remington typographic machine.

Explore Philadelphia


City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Chicago, the jewel of America's Midwest, has hosted the prestigious event twice.

The first Expo took place in 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America. This event was a showcase of innovation and progress, introducing delights such as the Ferris Wheel and Cracker Jacks to the world. It was a testament to the city's resilience and tenacity just two decades after the Great Fire.

Exactly 100 years later, in 1933, Chicago played host again with the Century of Progress International Exposition. This Expo focused on scientific advancement and technological progress, with exhibits such as a futuristic home filled with labor-saving devices and a sky ride over the fairgrounds.

Explore Chicago

Saint Louis

City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Saint Louis, a city in the central United States, is not often on the radar of international visitors. In 1904, it was the first city outside Europe to be bestowed such an honor as the host of the World Expo. Its selection was linked to the 100-year celebration of the Louisiana Purchase, a pivotal event in American history.

Saint Louis greeted the world with a comprehensive display of human achievement, spanning over 1,200 acres of exhibits. A standout exhibit was the 'Palace of Electricity', which demonstrated the potential of electrical power, a nascent technology at that time.

The 1904 World Expo also introduced the world to new culinary delights. The humble ice cream cone and hot dog bun are believed to have been popularized during this event.

Explore Saint Louis

San Francisco

City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

San Francisco, a city on the west coast of the United States, played host to the World Expo in 1915. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a grand affair, marking the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco's remarkable recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake. The Palace of Fine Arts, a beautiful structure built for the Expo, is one of the city's most notable architectural gems.

Explore San Francisco

New York

City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

World Expos have graced New York's soil once in the past century and a half. In 1939, it was held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, a space that was transformed from a landfill to a global stage. It adopted the theme "The World of Tomorrow" showcasing the city's forward-thinking ethos. Highlights included iconic Trylon and Perisphere structures, Futurama rides, and international pavilions.

Explore New York


City in🇭🇹 Haitirated

Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, holds a charm of its own. The city is a fusion of new and old, where modern establishments find themselves shoulder to shoulder-with historical structures.

The World Expo made its way to Port-au-Prince in 1949. The Expo's theme, "Progress and Harmony for Mankind", was a fitting choice for a city that had seen its share of challenges but was eager to showcase its potential.

The Expo also offered a chance to delve into Haiti's rich culture. Traditional music and dance performances were daily, and local artisans displayed their crafts, from intricate metalwork to vibrant textiles.

The Port-au-Prince World Expo was more than just an event; it was a statement of intent from a city ready to step out from the shadows and take its place on the world stage. It offered a unique insight into Haiti's past, present, and future, making it an unforgettable stop on the World Expo circuit.

Explore Port-au-Prince


City in🇨🇦 Canadarated

The World Expo has graced Montreal the host in 1967. This event left a lasting impression. Dubbed Expo 67, it was one of the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century. Its theme, "Man and His World," led to the creation of the iconic Biosphere, a steel geodesic dome that still stands today as a symbol of Montreal's innovative spirit and commitment to environmental issues.

Explore Montreal


City in🇮🇹 Italyrated

Milan is a European gem in northern Italy. This very city has twice been the stage for the prestigious World Expo - first in 1906 and then more recently in 2015.

In 1906, the Expo was themed 'Transportation'. It showcased impressive inventions like the Simplon Tunnel, the longest railway tunnel at the time. Also of note was the Milan Aquarium, built for the Expo and still operational, a testament to the city's enduring commitment to science and nature.

The more recent 2015 Expo had a different focus: 'Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life'. It offered an impressive platform for global discussions on sustainable agriculture and nutrition, presenting the perspectives of more than 140 countries.

Explore Milan


City in🇦🇺 Australiarated

Melbourne, a city in Australia, enjoys a reputation as a cultural capital with a love for food, art, and sports. As a World Expo location in 1880, the city was put on the global map and showcased its capacity to blend modernity with tradition. Melbourne’s Expo was known for its Great Hall, a monumental structure hosting international exhibits from forty nations. This colossal edifice, featuring intricate ironwork and expansive glass panes, was an engineering marvel of its time.

Explore Melbourne


City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Seattle, a city on the United States' west coast, has a reputation that exceeds its geographic footprint. With a history of innovation and an eye for the future, it has a fitting connection to the World Expo tradition. The city was the stage for the Expo only once, in 1962, but that event left an enduring impact.

The World Expo of 1962, christened as the Century 21 Exposition, propelled Seattle into a global spotlight. The Space Needle, now an iconic part of the city's skyline, was constructed specifically for this event. At a height of 605 feet, it served as a beacon for innovation and progress, which was the central theme of the exposition.

Explore Seattle

Articles you might also enjoy

Popular on Humbo right now
The best places to visit in the worldThe 30 best food cities in the worldThe most beautiful national parks in the worldThe best places for women to travel aloneThe 20 happiest cities in the worldThe best disc golf destinations in the worldThe warmest places in Europe during winterThe 10 most expensive cities in the world
Humbo™AboutVisitedBucket listSustainable travelPrivacyTerms