After being delayed for a year due to the global pandemic, Expo 2020 has finally opened its gates to the world. We couldn’t wait to walk through the now-iconic gates, and visit the site for ourselves, and believe us, we were not disappointed. What we found inside was a beautiful testament to the collective resilience of humanity. We enjoyed parades, shows, lights, waterfalls, innovations, art, creative pavilions, and so much international culture that we still aren’t certain where to file it.
However, there were a few things we wish we had known before we got there. So we’ve put together a list of pro tips that might be useful for you or anyone you know heading over to Expo so that you can get the most out of your trip.
Take the Metro
Even though there is ample, well-organized parking, taking the metro was a much simpler, quicker, and easier way to get to and from the Expo site. It will take you directly to the front gates of the Mobility Pavilion, saving you time, and making your visit a lot more pleasant.
Don’t wear strappy sandals. Don’t wear flip flops. For the love of God, don’t wear heels. Don’t even wear ballet flats. The only shoes you should wear to Expo are the sneakers you can walk (and walk and walk) all day in. Trust us.
Don't Wear Short Skirts or Dresses That Fly Up in the Wind
Remember that scene in The Seven Year Itch when Marilyn Monroe’s dress flies up as she stands above a subway grate? Just think of the Expo as one giant subway grate. Wear shorts (or pants in the winter months) or long, flowing dresses and skirts. Leave the shorter skirts – or the ones you know will fly up easily – at home. Unless you want to be posing like Marilyn all day long.
Visit at Night
The Expo lights up at night. Literally. It’s magical and beautiful and a completely different experience than visiting during the day, which is why every pavilion we visited insisted we come back to see them at night. Also, to be perfectly honest, it’s still extremely hot in the afternoons. Our advice is to save the day trips to Expo for December, and start your night visits now. Win-win.
Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Do not forget a water bottle. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but the Expo has placed hundreds of places to refill your water all over the site for free.
Pro tip: If you do forget your water bottle and cannot fathom braving the line at the Zoom kiosk, go upstairs in the Visitor Centers, where they have vending machines with bottled water. We also found that the cans of water that are sold at the food trucks (which have significantly shorter lines) refill just as easily as a bottle.
Don't Try to Do Everything in One Day
The Expo site is massive. There is no way you can enjoy everything in one day. The best way to do it is pick one district to explore per visit: Sustainability, Mobility, or Opportunity. That monthly pass, and even the season pass, are great deals at the moment. Take advantage of them so you can get the full Expo experience.
If you’re visiting with children, bring their scooters, a boogie board on a stroller, or even those sneakers that have wheels, because even the bigger kids were getting tired with all the walking. There are also bikes you can rent, and the ones in the Mobility Pavilion had baby seats on the back. So keep that option in mind as well.
When you need a break, take them to the Brazilian Pavilion, where they can remove their shoes and socks and walk through the ‘Amazon waters’ while you lounge in a chair with your feet in the cool water. Also, the USA Pavilion has a moving walkway and a real rocket ship, and we don’t know about you, but the kids we were with went gaga for it.