The 2016 DNC Primer

From road closures to local activities, here’s everything to know as the Democratic National Convention heads to Philadelphia.

At the end of the month, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) will convene in Philadelphia, bringing the heart of American democracy back to its founding city. The time-honored tradition, leading up to the national election for president, runs from July 25-28 and will bring millions of dollars in revenue for the party and quite a few to the region. As with last year’s visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families, the Philadelphia and Main Line areas will be saturated by media, visitors and important delegates.

Main Line residents can join in on some of the city’s events while the party’s leaders make plans and meet the press at the Wells Fargo Center. Below, we give a rundown on what to expect when the Democrats come to town.


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What is the DNC?

The DNC is an event at which the Democratic Party will formally nominate its presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2016 election, then adopt its official platform accordingly. Pledged delegates and superdelegates from all 50 states and American territories will attend to cast their absolute votes. The candidate with at least 2,383 of those votes will receive the nomination. Hillary Clinton is the candidate currently considered most likely to win the Democrats’ endorsement.

The DNC’s priority is unifying the party. This is the third time the DNC has been held in Philadelphia and the first time since 1948. The convention is taking place one week after the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio and will mark the end of the primary election process, ushering in the general election.


How does the DNC affect me?

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The Democratic Party affects all Americans in that its ideals are omnipresent across the country. The party’s delegates descending upon the City of Brotherly Love en mass for a formal meeting bring it right to the Main Line’s front yard, altering locals’ usually uncomplicated means of access to the city.

Drivers, take note: I-95 will close its Broad Street exit ramps in South Philadelphia. A map of street closures can be found here. Those flying away from the DNC should expect excess traffic and lines at the Philadelphia International Airport. An influx of visitors will add to delays, plus, nearly 1,000 of the airport’s workers recently announced plans to strike during the DNC. City officials will use social media for updates regarding how members of the public can stay safe and aware using the #PHLDNC hashtag on Twitter.

“Security and transportation plans have been developed by a partnership of local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies outlined above,” according to the Secret Service. “Every effort has been made to minimize the impact of these safety measures on the public.”

Only those with prearranged tickets will be able to enter the Wells Fargo Center where the actual convention is taking place, but Main Liners can head towards Center City and explore the temporary ultra-patriotic scheme.


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What is there to do during the DNC?

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

July 26-29

Comedy Central’s popular comedic troupe, led by Trevor Noah, heads to the Annenberg Center for the Convention to tape four episodes of their satirical news show. The crew is spending the prior week at the RNC in Ohio.

3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia. 


The Atlantic at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

July 25-28

Join The Atlantic magazine at Field House, a popular city bar, where it will host morning briefings and conversations each day of the convention.

1150 Filbert St., Philadelphia.


Donkeys Around Town Scavenger Hunt

July 25-Sept. 9

To add a touch of whimsy and art to the DNC, the city will have fiberglass donkeys scattered throughout its boroughs and neighborhoods. There will be 57 in total—each representing a Democratic delegation and painted by a local artist—and visitors and locals alike can go on a scavenger hunt using an app to find them all between July 21 and 25, or just admire them for the rest of the summer.


Center City Sips

July 27

Take part in a citywide happy hour with discounts on appetizers and alcohol at dozens of local bars and restaurants.



July 22-27

This family-friendly ticketed exhibition gives access to seven locations around the city, including the National Constitution Center, which will feature performances, nonpartisan political displays, games and special guests throughout the convention.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!