It’s been less than a year since the last event that brought Philadelphia an influx of visitors. The visit of Pope Francis last October turned the city upside down and the Democratic National Convention, set to hit the City of Brotherly Love July 25-28 is sure to keep things interesting as well.
The convention will be held mainly in and around the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia but will also hold meetings and events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City. We are expecting around 50,000 visitors to the city including lots of important political figures, not to mention the many planned, and most likely unplanned, demonstrations that will be taking place, chances are things will be a little crazy but also exciting since this is a great chance to show off our awesome city! Here are some tips to help you survive the DNC here in Philadelphia.
How to get around
The city is doing what they can to keep the streets in and around Center City running normally during the Democratic National Convention, even though at certain times of the day “normally” is still pretty nuts!
Restrictions in the City:
There are six permitted demonstration zones throughout FDR park from Sunday, July 24 through Thursday, July 28.
The roads outlined in red on the map above will be closed from 9PM on Saturday, July 23, through 9PM on Friday, July 29. Pattison Avenue will be closed to the public from 20th Street to 7th Street. Broad Street from Packer Avenue to the Terminal will be closed to vehicular traffic with the exception of authorized vehicles. The sidewalks will remain open to pedestrians to allow access to FDR Park. The SEPTA Broad Street Line (BSL) station at Pattison will remain open.
Restrictions on I-95:
PennDot has also announced restrictions for I-95. From noon on Friday, July 23, until midday on July 29 for vehicles weighing more than five tons. These vehicles will be prohibited from traveling between Exit 13 (Interstate 76 West/Route 291/Valley Forge) and Exit 22 (Interstate 676).
In addition, the northbound and southbound entrance ramps to I-95 between Exit 13 and Exit 22 in Philadelphia will be closed to commercial vehicles over five tons. Commercial vehicles will be directed to use arterial roads to reach either I-95 north or south beyond Exit 13 or Exit 22.
PennDot officials announced that all interstate highways and expressways in the Philadelphia region will remain open to passenger vehicles throughout the convention. They advise commuters to allow additional time for travel on I-76, I-676 and Route 291 during this time because these highways will experience heavier traffic volumes due to commercial vehicles being diverted off I-95. Citizens should consider using public transportation for travel into and out of Center City.
Broad Street Exit Closures:
The I-95 exit ramps at Broad Street (Route 611/Exit 17) in south Philadelphia also will be closed during convention week. The northbound exit ramp at Broad Street (Route 611/Exit 17) will be closed from Friday, July 22 at 10:00 PM until midday Friday, July 29.
The southbound I-95 exit ramp at Broad Street (Route 611/Exit 17) will be open intermittently during convention week, but only for access to the Navy Yard. The southbound exit-ramp will be closed:
-Friday, July 22, at 10:00 PM to Saturday, July 23, at 6:00 AM
-Monday, July 25, at 2:00 PM to Tuesday, July 26, at 2:00 AM
-Tuesday, July 26, at 2:00 PM to Wednesday, July 27, at 2:00 AM
-Wednesday, July 27, at 2:00 PM to Thursday, July 28, at 2:00 AM
-Thursday, July 28, at 2:00 PM to midday Friday, July 29
Click here to access the website that is being set up to announce traffic restrictions during the convention.
How can residents benefit?
There’s no denying that Philadelphia businesses will benefit from this influx of visitors. They will need to eat, somewhere to sleep, and will hopefully leave town with a few purchased Philly-wares! So what does this mean for you? If you are one of the 93,000 small business owners in the city then consider running specials, advertising in hotels if possible or on social media. Take advantage of hashtag #DNCDeals on Twitter which was created to help Philadelphia-area businesses to share information on Twitter and Instagram about unique and exclusive deals or specials they may offer during Convention Week.
And what if you aren’t a small business owner? Consider becoming one! Companies like Uber, Lyft, and airbnb, are just some of the ways you can turn this influx of people in your city into an opportunity to make some extra cash! Use your car to taxi folks around or offer up your spare room to house them and you can pull in a few pretty pennies.
Fun things to do!
-Search the hashtag #DNCDeals on Twitter to find what bars, restaurants, and other places of entertainment are offering deals to celebrate the DNC in Philly!
-Participate in PoliticalFest, a one-of-a-kind festival celebrating political history, government and the road to the White House. Tickets are $5 for children, seniors, and college students, $15 for Adults, and FREE for veterans and credentialed Convention attendees. For more information and to buy tickets click here to visit the website.
-What could be better than donkeys around town? Ok maybe not actual donkeys, that could get a bit messy, but you may have already noticed 57 fiberglass donkeys placed throughout popular Philly sites. Each donkey has been pain
ted by local artists and represent the 50 states, Washington DC, and the 6 U.S. territories. They will be displayed until September 9th and there is a scavenger hunt via a free app which you can find here.
Other Helpful Links
The City of Philadelphia is very good at being the host with the most. It might be a bit of a pain but it’s also pretty cool to live in a City worthy of such national attention. Here are some other helpful links pertaining to the DNC. Stay safe out there while history is being made!