What to Do in Philly During the Democratic National Convention
The birthplace of the constitution, a bedrock of American political history and home to the country’s longest standing cheesesteak rivalry, Philadelphia has remained a pillar of modern day democracy ever since the founding fathers dipped their indelible quill into ink to sign the Declaration of Independence.
From July 25-July 28, patriotism—along with lots of city-wide partying and a fair amount of traffic—will reign supreme as the Democratic National Convention rolls into town to nominate a Democratic candidate for president and vice president of the United States. The main event is being held at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly, and more than 50,000 visitors, including delegates, journalists and protesters, are expected to descend upon the city.
“Any visitor to Philly during the DNC should, at the very least, get to Historic Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center and the Pennsylvania Convention Center,” Meryl Levitz, President & CEO of Visit Philadelphia told Travel + Leisure. “Philadelphia was chosen, in part, to connect today's political process back to its roots. Lines may be long at the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (a World Heritage Site), but you can get inspired even seeing them from the outside. Read the historic markers and pavement engravings; or join the ‘I'm With Her’ or ‘Feel the Bern’ historic tours.”
Politics, much like cheesesteak is a deeply personal choice. While the dems are expected to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Presidential nominee, in an election year as unpredictable as this one anything is possible.
From the Constitution Center to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, to the chance of catching Pokémon on the Love Statue at Dilworth Park, there’s a lot going on in the city of brotherly love over DNC week. So get ready to don some good ol’ fashion red, white and blue and read on for some tips and tricks for getting around town.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out T+L’s Philadelphia travel guide complete with intel on the best things to eat, see and do.
Located around seven-miles from Center City, Philadelphia International Airport serves as a hub for recently merged American Airlines and US Airways as well as 30 other carriers. Before you go, make sure you stay up to date about possible airline strikes happening during DNC week. An estimated 1,000 employees are expected to walk off the job during DNC week due to wage disputes.
With trains running along the northeast corridor from Boston, New York, Baltimore and Washington, DC, Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is a major hub for Amtrak, Megabus and Boltbus. Located in downtown Philly, the station is only a few minutes walk from Center City.
According to VisitPhilly.com, there are more than 11,000 hotel rooms in Philadelphia’s Center City, 8,000 rooms are within a 15-minute walk of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and City Hall and 4,500 rooms near the Philadelphia International Airport. For a complete list of some of the best hotels in town, check out T+L’s comprehensive Philadelphia Travel Guide.
There will be a lot of political hoopla over DNC week. Check out VisitPhilly.com for a complete list of where and how you can get your DNC on and read on for some of T+L’s top picks below.
- What: DMC Pop Up Tour
- Where: Old City & Historic Philadelphia
- When: Daily, July 17- 31
- Deets: I’m With Her: Hillary Clinton and Philly’s Founding Women tour and the Feel the Bern: Bernie Sanders and Philly’s Revolutionaries tour individually developed by Philadelphia Urban Adventures for Philly Tour Hub.
What: Philly Feast: United We Eat
Where: Third and Arch streets in Old City from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When: July 25
Deets: A daytime food truck festival featuring some of the best local eats in town.
What: Donkeys Around Town
When: Now through September 5
Deets: Donkeys Around Town is a citywide public installation of 57 fiberglass donkeys representing the 50 states, five United States territories, Washington, D.C., and Democrats Abroad. It is also the perfect opportunity to take 57 selfies around town.
- What: PoliticalFest
- Where: 7 Locations around the city
- When: July 22 and 27.
- Deets: Celebrating all things American history, US government and the road to the White House, PoliticalFest is a non-partisan display that combines multimedia and interactive displays, historical objects and special events to entertain and engage both residents and convention attendees. A bus loop courtesy of the Philly PHLASH will circulate to all seven locations during operation hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in addition to the regularly scheduled downtown loop.
Michelle Gross is a Digital Producer and Contributing Writer at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @mtothegnyc.