AIA24 First-timers guide

, Starleetah Gaddis

Top 10 tips for first-timers

We’re expecting more than 15,000 AEC professionals and all of the biggest media brands in architecture and construction at AIA24, the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design. Many plan their year around this event, attending year after year to see what’s new, now, in architecture and design.

Use our ultimate guide—10 top tips—to make the most of your first AIA Conference on Architecture & Design.

First-time attendee at AIA24

1. Register early & save

Save hundreds on registration when you take advantage of early bird (through April 10) and advance (through May 8) rates!

Maximize your budget with special discounts:

  • $159 New AIA members
  • $35 Students
  • $599 (early bird), $699 (advance rate) AIA Associates
  • $599 AIA Emeritus members

Save even more with exclusive travel discounts through select airlines.

What to do with the budget you’ll save?

  • Add on a tour, event, or symposia to enhance your experience.
  • Upgrade to the Ultimate Pass and get a FREE guest pass (a $299 value) plus a FREE tour ticket (up to $100)!
  • Create an opportunity for someone else in your office to attend. (Here are 5 tips to convince your boss to send you to AIA24.)

2. Book with peace-of-mind in our hotel block

The D.C. hotel market is one of the most competitive in the country—the best rooms and hotels always sell out. Book your room in AIA’s official hotel block and get the lowest rates at 30 AIA-vetted hotels near the convention center, plus exclusive perks and amenities like free in-room Wi-Fi and shuttle service for select hotels (another option to network!).

Thinking of staying an extra day or two to see more of our nation’s capital? Our hotel block goes through Sunday, June 9, so you can extend your stay at the conference hotel rate and enjoy more of the city!

3. Take a conference-only architect-led tour

Tours are one of the most popular session types this conference offers, and with good reason. These architect-led experiences are exclusive to AIA24 and are a unique way to experience Washington’s best architecture.

Take one of 80+ tours for behind-the-scenes access to the U.S. Capitol, Smithsonian museums, Amazon HQ, U.S. Naval Academy, The Kennedy Center, the currently under construction AIA Global Campus for Architecture & Design, and so much more. Tours are starting to sell out, so don’t wait too long to register.

Pro tip: An Ultimate Pass upgrade comes with a free tour ticket up to $100!

4. Maximize your required CE

With 375+ sessions earning HSW, GBCI, ADA, RIBA, and AIA LU credits, you can earn your required CE credits in one convenient location. Follow one of seven curated education tracks—including AI, climate action, and career success—to plan your experience around a topic of interest or customize your own schedule.

The Full Pass and Ultimate Pass include free workshops and the Pro Series, four sessions on hot topics with high-profile speakers. New this year, you can also add a symposium! Take your pick from five different options hosted Wednesday and Saturday.

5. Take advantage of streamlined session registration

We’ve changed our pre-registration policy to give you more flexibility on-site. Register for keynotes, tours, events, and symposia when you register for AIA24. In May, build out the rest of your schedule using the AIA24 mobile app—including seminars, workshops, and expo-credit sessions.

Adding seminars, workshops, and expo-credit sessions to your personal agenda in the app doesn’t register you for a session, but it does save you time by planning your schedule in advance. We recommend selecting a first-, second-, and third-choice session during each time slot in case your first choice is full.

6. Network at events & parties

AIA24 hosts an unrivaled range of 105+ events and parties—offering unique opportunities to network, celebrate peers, and meet new collaborators. There’s no better place to build meaningful, in-person relationships in friendly, fun environments. But hurry—tickets sell out!

AIA Awards Gala: The can’t-miss event of conference! For the first time ever, AIA is announcing its award winners live at a red carpet-style celebration. Don’t miss an incredible night of recognition with the best in architecture and design.

Opening Night Celebration: Reunite with friends and connect with new acquaintances while indulging in drinks, desserts, entertainment, and captivating exhibits at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Included with the Ultimate Pass!

More exciting events & parties:

7. See the future at the expo

Get the full expo experience from 550+ brands at the AIA24 Expo! Demo the products and materials that are building the future, meet with experts one-on-one for technical advice, take related CE sessions and earn credits right on the expo floor, and order materials samples for free at the AIA Sample Gallery. The expo has everything you need to inform your design decisions and stay competitive.

Plus, new this year, the expo will feature five experiential zones—Inspire, Innovate, Design, Build, and Prosper—to foster learning about emerging trends and connection with peers who share common goals.

8. Connect & engage on social

Enter our #DesigningTogetherAIA24 social media design contest for a chance to win $2,000 and an Ultimate Pass to AIA24! Post a visual of your most innovative and inventive design idea on Instagram using our contest hashtag for a chance to win.

Each of the five expo zones (Inspire, Innovate, Design, Build, and Prosper) will feature cool, new topic-related interactive experiences and/or activations designed to help attendees engage and be seen on social to build organic connections with fellow attendees and AEC professionals.

But why wait until conference? Start building connections today! Use the hashtag #AIA24 to connect before conference—then build relationships in real life at AIA24 through events, tours, sessions, and so much more.

9. Make time for your health & well-being

Wellness is just as much of a priority at AIA24 as education or networking. Visit the Relax and Recharge Lounge at the expo to unwind from work, take a moment for yourself, or recharge mentally with chair massage. Or stop by the Puppy Park for some friendly, furry fun!

10. Visit the AIA Store

From conference essentials to one-of-a-kind finds, the AIA Store is the place to shop unique, curated items available only at conference! The selection includes home decor, books, design items, office accessories, and AIA24 products and gear. Plus, meet your favorite designers at book signings by renowned architects and AIA24 keynote speakers.

We will also be unveiling the new store name, so there’s plenty of reasons to stop by and find something to remember your time at AIA24!