MILWAUKEE — The Republican National Convention is almost here.

Politicians, businesses and local leaders have been busy preparing for the event that will bring thousands to the city of Milwaukee.

But what is the RNC? When is it? Who will be there?

Here’s what we know so far about the event.

Where is the Republican National Convention?

The RNC will take place in Milwaukee from July 15-18.

What is the RNC?

The multi-day event is where Republican delegates from across the U.S. come together to choose the party’s nominees for president and vice president.

Where is the RNC being held in Milwaukee?

Fiserv Forum will be the main stage for the event. It’s the same venue that hosted the first Republican presidential debate in August last year.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena and the Baird Center are also being used.

Who will attend the RNC?

Over 50,000 people are expected to attend the four-day event, from delegates to journalists to speakers and more.

Around 2,500 delegates will attend, with 41 coming from Wisconsin.

Can citizens attend the RNC?

Not really, as the main event is closed to the public unless you have credentials.

Are speeches or parades to express opinions allowed during the RNC?

Yes to both. The city said it will support free speech acts through organized sign-ups. Those sign-ups have now closed.

One official platform will be located on the north side of the RNC venues, on Dr. M.L.K., Jr. Drive near McKinley Avenue. There will be a microphone and speaker set up by the city on the east half of the road. Assembly space will be available in Haymarket Square Park. There will also be several road closures for more space. Time slots for speaking time are between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day of the RNC.

There will also be a south side parade and podium. Staging will take place on the east side of Zeidler Union Square Park and will start on Michigan Avenue. See the full route below. The speaker’s podium will also be in the park.

(Courtesy of City of Milwaukee)

Will the RNC stretch to other areas of Wisconsin?

The RNC is expected to have a statewide impact. In addition to the three standout venues downtown, there is also a large group of other businesses playing host to events in the city. Venues include areas in Brookfield, Oconomowoc and even all the way out in Madison.

Delegates are expected to stay at hotels across the state.

A bill passed by Gov. Tony Evers will also allow bars in 14 southeastern counties to stay open two to four hours later during the RNC.

What will the security be like?

Safety at the RNC will be handled by the U.S. Secret Service and state and local law enforcement. A perimeter has been established around the main event area.

The yellow zone indicates the Vehicle Screening Perimeter, while the red zone indicated the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter.

The yellow zone is “generally accessible to everyone.” That means people and bicyclists can freely enter. Vehicles, though, must enter through a vehicle screen point, which is indicated by black circles on the map below.

The red zone is restricted to those who have a documented need to enter. For example, those who are credentialed convention attendees and volunteers. Those wanting to enter need to go through a checkpoint and will be subjected to a screening by security. Checkpoints for that are being distributed on an attendee-specific map. All checkpoints for pedestrians will be open 24/7.

Here’s what time certain areas’ security restrictions go into effect:

  • Areas around Henry Maier Festival Park: July 14 at 5 a.m. CT
  • Vehicle Screening Perimeter: July 15 at 2 a.m. CT
  • Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter: July 14 at 6 p.m. CT
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Secret Service)

Will there be changes to public transit?

The Hop is expected to abide by its normal schedule, operating from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. and arriving every 15 minutes.

Milwaukee County Transit System buses will operate normal hours of service, but many routes traveling downtown will be affected. MCTS said the RNC will cause detours that could start as soon as July 11, which is when fencing will go up for the security perimeter.

MCTS said it will serve the existing bus stops and temporary stops along Milwaukee Street located outside the security perimeter. MCTS had originally said there would be no temporary stops, but amended that statement on Wednesday.

At least fourteen routes will be most impacted, including the CONNECT 1, BlueLine, GreenLine, 12, 15, 18, 19, 30, 31, 33, 34, 57, 80 and 81. MCTS said the majority of service that’s impacted will be rerouted to 12th, Walnut and Milwaukee Streets.

Temporary stops along Milwaukee Street will include:

  • Chicago Street
  • St. Paul Avenue
  • Wisconsin Avenue
  • Kilbourn Avenue
  • Juneau Avenue
(Map courtesy of Milwaukee County Transit Service)

Despite the detours, MCTS said that riders should plan for delays across all routes due to an increase in traffic.

You can find the full details on impacted routes, here.

Will roads be closed?

Some roads will be temporarily closed beginning July 11 to accommodate security during the RNC.

Here’s what will be closed near Henry Maier Festival Park starting July 14 at 5 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. CT:

  • N Lincoln Memorial Dr / N. Harbor Drive closed from E Clybourn St. and E. Erie St.
  • Harbor closed At E Clybourn Street
  • E Chicago St. Closed N. Jackson St. to N Harbor Drive
  • E. Summerfest Pl closed from N. Jackson Pl to N Harbor Drive
  • Interstate 794 Eastbound closed at the Jackson St. / Van Buren St. Exit
  • Interstate 794 North/West closed at the Carferry Dr. Exit

Here’s what will be closed downtown, starting July 14 at 8 p.m. CT to July 19 at 1 a.m. CT:

  • W. Wisconsin Avenue between Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive & James Lovell Street
  • W. Wells Street between Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive & James Lovell Street
  • W. Kilbourn Avenue between Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive & N. 8th Street
  • Kilbourn Avenue Exit tunnel from Interstate 43
  • Kilbourn Avenue Entrance tunnel to Interstate 43
  • W. State Street between N. 8th Street & Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive
  • W. Juneau Avenue between N. 8th Street & Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive (Moderne Condo garage will be accessible to residents)
  • Northbound I-43 offramp to eastbound & westbound Fond du Lac
  • W. Fond du Lac Avenue/W. McKinley Avenue/E. Knapp Street between Interstate 43 and N. Water Street
  • Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive, no northbound traffic past W. Juneau Avenue (the Aloft Hotel will be accessible to guests)
  • Old World 3rd/Martin Luther King Jr Drive, no southbound traffic past W. McKinley Avenue
  • N. Vel R. Phillips Avenue between W. Michigan Street & W. McKinley Avenue (the parking garage entrance on N. Vel R. Phillips Avenue immediately south of W. Michigan Street will be accessible to vehicles)
  • N. 6th Street between W. Michigan Street and W. McKinley Avenue (the 5th Street Parking Garage will be accessible to residents of the 550 Ultra Lofts Building and guests of the Trade Hotel via 6th Street)
  • N. James Lovell Street between W. Wells Street and W. Juneau Avenue
  • Southbound Interstate 43 ramp for Fond Du Lac Avenue
  • Eastbound I-794 Ramp for N James Lovell St.

*Westbound I-794 Ramp to Northbound I-43 Ramp will have intermittent closures as needed for bus traffic.

Will there be parking restrictions?

Street parking will be prohibited in some areas of downtown Milwaukee before the convention for its set-up, during the RNC and afterward for its take-down. Some parking restrictions will start as early as July 5 and some will run through July 21. To view parking restrictions by date range, click here.

Will the RNC impact city services like police response or trash pickup?

At this time, the city said there are no plans to limit or reduce services provided to the public. Although some resources are being directed to the RNC, there are additional public safety agencies ensuring services remain the same.

Can I still get my food delivery if I live in security perimeters?

It’s complicated.

Taxis, rideshares and hot food delivery will be allowed inside the Vehicle Screening Perimeter (yellow zone) through screening points. However, delivery vehicles will not be allowed to enter the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter (red zone). Delivery drivers can use designated drop-off areas on their attendee maps.

Can I still get my mail and trash picked up in the perimeter?

Yes, trash services, mail and package delivery will continue in both security areas. However, be prepared for disruptions in the timing of services.

If I live in the perimeter, how do I access my home?

You’ll be able to access your home as normal if you live within the Vehicle Screening Perimeter. You’ll just have to enter through a vehicle screening point. Only one building falls within the Pedestrian Restricted Perimeter, the 550 Ultra Lofts. Residents of that building have been given entry instructions.

How bad will traffic be?

Traffic is expected for an event of this size. City officials said to plan ahead if you’re planning to travel within the city.

Will I still be able to go out to eat during the convention?

Yes, many restaurants will be open for regular business; however, you may want to call ahead for a reservation, as some restaurants are booked for certain times during the RNC. Some places may also adjust their hours, so check ahead before heading out the door.

How did Milwaukee get selected as the host?

In Aug. 2022, Milwaukee was selected to host the RNC. The city had submitted its bid to host the convention in Dec. 2021. It was competing against Nashville until the music city dropped the convention agreement.

The selection of the city can be chalked up to a couple of factors.

This isn’t the first time Milwaukee been selected for a convention. Prior to the RNC, Milwaukee was set to host the Democratic National Convention, but COVID-19 forced it online.

That allowed the city to pull together the necessary resources, which ultimately helped them secure the RNC. In its bid, it highlighted access to Lake Michigan, entertainment venues, the culinary scene, the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship and more as reasons to host the event.

Wisconsin is also appealing to Republicans for its status as a swing state. President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by a narrow margin of roughly 20,000 votes in 2020. The Badger State could very well determine who wins the presidency in 2024.

Find more answers to common questions on the City of Milwaukee website, here.