The DNC Is Coming to Philly -- Here's What You Need to Know

What do you get when you host a gigantic, complicated, expensive event on the world’s stage?

Another gigantic, complicated, expensive event on the world’s stage.

Yes, Philadelphia, as a reward for not screwing up the Pope’s visit last fall and successfully avoiding an almighty smite, it seems we’ve been blessed with hosting the Democratic National Convention. Touching down at the Wells Fargo Center July 25th-28th, the gathering will flood the city with thousands of delegates, party groupies, and tourists, many of whom will have the nerve to make eye contact and smile at you on the street.

So, what is the DNC, exactly? Once you get past the caucuses and superdelegates, it’s actually pretty simple: in the interest of keeping the party together for the kids, Hillary and Bernie will put up a united, loveless front while the Democrats formally confirm candidates for president and vice-president. To lighten the mood during this stabby circus of an election season, rumored convention entertainers include Katy Perry, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Amy Schumer.

But what do you, average resident, need to know about July 25th-28th in the city? Glad you asked.

Wait, real fast, can you go back to the part about the superdelegates? The whole concept seems really confusing, and I don’t quite understand--

Next question!

No offense to the delegates and convention guests but... how can I avoid crossing paths with these people?

Spoken like a true Philadelphian. Unlike the Pope's visit, the DNC takes place on the outskirts of the city at the Wells Fargo Center, so the convention-proper is unlikely to disturb your day. However, most of the delegates are staying at hotels in Center City, so expect those restaurants to book up and subway platforms to be swamped. (Thing to remember: SEPTA is the least user-friendly system known to man, and these people spent all day surrounded by politicians -- maybe give them a little break.) Although far removed from the action, count on Fishtown getting its fair share of delegates who know how to use Uber and say the word "foodie."

Um, I work at the Navy Yard

That sucks. Consider it overdue payment for being able to walk to Phillies games. (And check out detour info here.)

What if I momentarily put aside the gigantic Philly chip on my shoulder and want to take part in this historic honor bestowed on our fair city?

Well hello, sunshine! Good on ya. After most residents fled town during Popeadelphia, the Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention has been hard at work planning nonpartisan events to engage citizens in the electoral process. Check out the website and blog for info on special museum exhibits, restaurant deals, watch parties, and more.

Everything election-related makes me want to drink. Where can I do that during the DNC?

Anywhere you damn well please, thanks to this great country of ours. If you're feeling shy, our money is on West Philly being delegate-free. If you want to join in, the Host Committee is teaming up with Center City Sips on July 27th for a super-sized happy hour at Dilworth Plaza, Comcast Plaza, and Centre Square starting at 5pm. If you'd rather hole up at home and try your best to forget that the former host of Celebrity Apprentice could become leader of the Free World in November, no one would blame you.

WTF is with the weird donkey statues I keep seeing around town?

Painted by local artists, the Host Committee thought they'd make great photo ops for Instagram-happy tourists. In the spirit of brotherly love, try to resist peeing on them.

Any protests I should know about?

Sure are. The city has approved a handful of rallies and marches, with more permits still pending. Most notably, an estimated 30,000 #BernieOrBust protesters are expected to descend upon FDR Park for a weeklong demonstration. But first, on July 24th, 5,000 activists will walk from City Hall to Independence Mall as part of an anti-fracking and clean energy protest the day before the convention.

That sounds like a traffic nightmare. Give it to me straight -- what’s going on with I-95?

Believe it or not, it won't be too bad. Commercial vehicles are looking at some pretty hefty restrictions, but workaday commuters will only have to deal with the Broad St exit being closed during the convention week. PennDOT has even launched a handy website to keep travelers updated.



That sounds pretty easy.

We know, right?

So, back to the superdelegate--


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Monica Weymouth is a writer in Philadelphia.