It hosts events on a main pitch sprawling across over 22,500 m² (242,200 ft²). Its total floor space is over 207,000 m² (2.2 million ft²) across eight stories, and the lobes of its roof peak at more than 60 m (197 ft) from the ground.
While the stadium is used for sporting events, it is most famous as the site of massive performances and shows celebrating Kim Il-sung and the North Korean nation. In June–July 2002 it was the site of the colossal and meticulously choreographed "Arirang" gymnastic and artistic performance (often referred to elsewhere as "mass games"). The extravaganza involved for the first time some 100,000+ participants—double the number of spectators—and was open to foreigners. These performances are now an annual feature in Pyongyang, usually in August and September. The Guinness Book of Records has recognized these events as the largest in the world.
In the late 1990s, a number of North Korean army generals implicated in an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-Il were executed via burning in the stadium.
It was also the venue in which Kim Jong-Il in 2000 entertained Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Collision in Korea was the largest professional wrestling pay-per-view event ever that was jointly produced by World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling. It took place over a period of two days on April 28 and 29, 1995 at the stadium and had a record attendance of 150,000 and 190,000. It did not air in North America until August 4, 1995.