RNC Convention Visitor 411
Visiting During the Republican National Convention? Here's what you need to know.
By Lexi Hotchkiss
Need comprehensive information on the Republican National Convention in Cleveland? Go to www.2016cle.com.
In case you haven't heard, Cleveland is hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention this July. And, things are expected to get pretty busy in Downtown Cleveland with an expected 50,000 attendees.
Cleveland hotels, airports, restaurants and attractions will be abuzz with Convention delegates, policymakers, political surrogates, lobbyists, campaigners, media and, of course, the one and only Donald J. Trump July 18–22.
“Visitors to Cleveland should know that while the Convention will certainly cause some travel disruptions, visitors will still be able to explore Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region to experience our world-class museums, neighborhoods and outstanding food scene,” said David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee. “The key is to plan ahead, communicate and pack your patience.”
So, if you’re heading to town during these dates, there are some things you should plan for in advance:
There will be two secured areas located in Downtown Cleveland.
The first, which directly surrounds Quicken Loans Arena and will be very tightly secured, is known as the “Security Perimeter.” It’s important to know that unless you have an official Republican National Committee-issued credential, you won’t be able to cross this exceptionally tight security perimeter.
The second security area, however, will be known as the “Event Zone,” and will include a much larger portion of Downtown Cleveland. While still secured and monitored, the area will allow for much easier visitor access through controlled entrance points.
The caveat to these security areas is that transportation within them will be prohibited.
If you’re not a credentialed Convention attendee or delegate, make this your big opportunity to go green by using Cleveland’s award-winning public transportation system to get Downtown and then walk, walk, walk. Lucky for you, Downtown Cleveland has been consistently rated as one of the most walkable in the country. (Plus, you’ll climb your Fitbit leaderboard like a boss.)
Approved Convention attendees and delegates are encouraged to use the GOP Convention Express, a pre-arranged bus system that’s been organized for them in advance. These buses have already undergone security sweeps, which means attendees will be able to access Downtown at a faster rate than going through both security areas.
According to Convention organizers, hotel space between Cleveland and Canton, Ohio will be limited. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will likely experience increased traffic between July 17-23. And, there’s the potential that some area restaurants and attractions will be sold out for private events.
What’s the lesson here? Plan ahead.
Most delegations will not collectively make their way to Downtown Cleveland until around 7 p.m. each night of the event. That means that daytime travel throughout Downtown is expected to be quite manageable.
If you’re concerned about an attraction being opened to the public or a restaurant being able to accommodate you, simply call ahead. If they’re closed, consider heading to many of Cleveland’s unique neighborhoods like Tremont, Ohio City and University Circle.
And, of course, expect some transportation delays. After all, 50,000 extra people isn’t chump change.
“There will be so much activity in the city during those four days, and the excitement will be felt not just by our guests attending the Convention, but by our community, as well,” Gilbert said. “This is a historic moment for Clevelanders, and we encourage them to come Downtown and share their hometown pride with those who will be here.”