Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in diverse biological processes; however, few have been identified that regulate immune cell differentiation and function. Here, we identified lnc-DC, which was exclusively expressed in human conventional dendritic cells (DCs). Knockdown of lnc-DC impaired DC differentiation from human monocytes in vitro and from mouse bone marrow cells in vivo and reduced capacity of DCs to stimulate T cell activation. lnc-DC mediated these effects by activating the transcription factor STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3). lnc-DC bound directly to STAT3 in the cytoplasm, which promoted STAT3 phosphorylation on tyrosine-705 by preventing STAT3 binding to and dephosphorylation by SHP1. Our work identifies a lncRNA that regulates DC differentiation and also broadens the known mechanisms of lncRNA action.