How to see the Pope in Philly

Courtesy of the City of Philadelphia

The culmination of the World Meeting of Families, the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia, is finally upon us after months of anticipation.

All pilgrims to Philadelphia should take extra caution to remain safe during this event dedicated to celebrating God and the Catholic Church. Bring plenty of water and pay attention to your surroundings.

Meanwhile, locals who are in the city for the Festival of Families and Papal Mass are encouraged to provide aid and help to the visitors to the city, even if its by simply helping out someone who looks lost.

Related: 4 things to do in Philly this weekend that aren’t the papal Mass

See below for details on how to access the transit you need to get into and around the city, and up to the areas where Pope Francis will be delivering his ministry to the public.


Bicycle use is permitted anywhere in Center City, except within secure areas during the Papal Visit.

Indego, the Philadelphia bike share program, will be open.

Bike rentals cost $8 an hour.

Indego staff will be at the following stations to assist visitor:

Rittenhouse Square (Walnut & 19thstreets)

Foglietta Plaza (Front & Dock streets)

30th Street Station (30th & Market streets)

Broad & Spring Garden station.

Visit for more info.

Public Transit

On Friday, regional rail will run on a weekend schedule.

On Saturday and Sunday, special Papal Passes will be needed to get onto regional rail lines and high speed trolleys. The Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Lines and trolley lines will be running modified schedules with fewer number of stops starting Friday.

Suburban Station, City Hall, the 15th St complex, and 5th St stations are closed until Monday.

As of 10 p.m. Friday, will be taken down and will be the only source for SEPTA updates over the course of the weekend.

On Monday, September 28, all Regional Rail Lines will operate on a Saturday schedule with some enhancements.

Regular service will resume on the Norristown High Speed, Trolley Routes 101/102, Board Street and Market-Frankford Lines and city trolleys – all stations will be open. Bus service will have some detours, especially in the vicinity of the Parkway where may still be in place.

Please check

Food and Groceries

While Center City will bear the brunt of the Papal visit, it’s possible that many outlying neighborhoods will face traffic gridlock.

Note that sales of public transit passes and hotel rooms fell short of expectations. That means either turnout for the papal visit will be lower than expected, or a whole bunch of people will be driving here. City officials say to treat the weekend like a snow day and stock up.


Center City driving restrictions begin Friday. If you’ve managed to keep your car from getting towed and want to risk losing your parking spot, you can drive in Center City during the Papal visit. You will not be able to drive into Center City from outside of it starting Friday.

The areas where Pope Francis will appear — the Ben Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall — will be blocked for traffic. The restrictions are in effect for a longer period for the Parkway, restrictions will be removed near Independence Mall after Francis speaks there on Saturday.

From Friday Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. until Monday Sept. 28 after Pope Francis leaves town, the following highways will be closed:

-I-76 east between I-476 and I-95; I-76 west between I-95 and Route 1/City Line Ave

-I-95 access ramps to I-676, Callowhill Street, Washington Avenue and Broad Street

-I-676 between I-76 and I-95


Taxis and legal Uber cars can enter Center City until 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Cabs will not be allowed inside the Francis Festival Grounds again until 3 a.m. Monday.


If you bank downtown, check with your bank to see if its branches will be open during the papal visit. Some banks are advising clients that their branches won’t be open. Plan ahead and get cash, just in case.


There will be no trash pickup on the 25th and on the 28th.


Call 911 for emergencies. Call 311 for non-emergency issues.

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