Everything You Need to Know About Pope Francis' Visit | NBC 10 Philadelphia
Pope Francis in Philly

Pope Francis in Philly

Look Back at the Pontiff's Historic Visit

Everything You Need to Know About Pope Francis' Visit

With the Pope arriving Saturday morning, parking and driving restrictions are coming into effect, and NBC10’s Jim Rosenfield shows just where these restrictions are. Driving and parking are not the only restrictions though, there are also restrictions on what items will pass through security. (Published Friday, Sept. 25, 2015)

Pope Francis will be in Philadelphia September 26 and 27 for the World Meeting of Families. To help you out, we've created this page to aid with some questions you might have regarding travel, closures, timing, etc.

Many of the answers to these FAQs are quick-hits; for full answers, links are provided as well.

What security restrictions and closures do I need to know about?

The bulk of closures will take place on Friday night and continue to get more restrictive throughout the weekend. No-parking zones expanded throughout the week.

We've put together a full day-by-day breakdown and timeline of what's closing when for the papal visit.

Which roads will be closed during the Papal visit?

Beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 25, the following highways were closed:

I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway) eastbound from I-476 (Blue Route) to I-95
I-76 westbound from I-95 to Route 1
I-676 (Vine Street Expressway) in both directions from I-76 to I-95

These roads are expected to be open again by noon on Monday, Sept. 28.

On Saturday morning at 6 a.m., US Route 1 from Route 30 to Belmont Ave will close. It will reopen after 10 p.m. and then be shut down again on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. through the afternoon.


I'm not planning on attending any WMOF events. Will other places around the city still be open?

Yes. While some places have rescheduled some events (Union Transfer moved the dates for a few of their concerts), the city is not shutting down completely. The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Barnes Foundation will both close for the weekend of Pope Francis' visit, but will be open during the WMOF congress. The Barnes will have extended hours (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) from September 21-25, and the Museum of Art will stay open until 8:45 on September 23, with discounted admission as well.

The Philadelphia Zoo will be closed that weekend, but they are also hosting many visitors, including a church congregation from Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital will also remain open during the Papal visit. Public safety officers will be located at 38th Street to assist people traveling to the hospital with pets.

Even if you're not planning on leaving the house, there are still preparations to be made. NBC10's Lauren Mayk has the latest on filling out your Pope Checklist.

Closures in Place for Pope VisitClosures in Place for Pope VisitClosures are already in place along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as preparations are being made for the Pope's visit to Philadelphia. NBC10's Drew Smith has the details. (Published Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015)

Who are some of the big names that will be performing during the Papal Weekend?

Actor Mark Wahlberg will host The Festival of Families with Pope Francis in Philadelphia. Aretha Franklin, The Fray, Jim Gaffigan, Marie Miller, Andrea Bocelli, Juanes and the Philadelphia Orchestra will also perform. Read more on Mark Wahlberg here.

I'm traveling to Philadelphia and don't know much about area roads and how to get around the city. Where can I go for more information about travel?

Governor Tom Wolf announced that PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike launched a much needed detailed travelers' website to assist people traveling to see the Pope. The site's homepage gives you options to view information on real-time traffic conditions for the highways in the Philadelphia region, how to get to and around the Papal venues. Also the pages on the inside will give visitors health tips and information for street and highway closings.

How can I get information should an emergency arise?

NBC10.com and the NBC10 app will provide up to the minute information as news breaks. The NBC10 app will provide news alerts pushed to your mobile device.

The City of Philadelphia is also providing text message alerts through the Office of Emergency Management. You can enroll in this service by texting "papalvisit" to 888777. Again these alerts wil be sent out by the city.

Will schools be closed during the Papal visit?

Yes, Philadelphia public schools will be closed on Wednesday, September 23 for Yom Kippur and Thursday, Friday and Monday, September 24, 25 and 28 for the Papal visit.

Catholic schools are closed Wednesday, September 23 through Friday September 25.

Many area colleges and universities are also closed for the Papal visit.

What other services will be impacted during the Papal visit?

UPS has announced delivery service interruptions Friday and Saturday of the Papal visit in Philadelphia.

Megabus warned riders to plan for delays during the Papal visit.

The United States Postal Service is suspending mail collection and delivery in eight Philadelphia postal codes on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27 during the papal visit.

Curbside trash and recycling collections will be suspended Friday, September 25 and Monday, September 28 cityside, according to the City of Philadelphia.

I got tickets and will be going to an event! What items aren't allowed?

Relatively strict security measures are in place, which ban selfies sticks, laser pointers, bikes, drones, and various other items. Bags can be no larger than 18 inches x 13 inches x 7 inches, and no pets will be permitted outside of service animals.

A full list of prohibited items can be found here.

Careful Packing for Pope's VisitCareful Packing for Pope's VisitLess than a month until the Papal visit and now we know what you won’t be allowed to bring if you’re planning on seeing Pope Francis. NBC10’s Keith Jones shows us selfie sticks and other items not allowed. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015)

I don't have tickets for an event but want to watch. Where can I go?

There are 40 jumbotrons that will be set up throughout the city to allow everyone an opportunity to see the events unfold. Some are located near or on the Ben Franklin Parkway, but there will be many set up near City Hall and Independence Hall.

Click here for exact locations of the jumbotrons.

I want to buy Pope gear while I'm in town as a souvenir. Where can I buy some merchandise?

Aramark, the official merchandise provider for Pope Francis' visit during the World Meeting of Families, will celebrate its new pop-up Pope shop in the lobby of its headquarters at 11th and Market streets in Center City Philadelphia. It is currently open and will remain open throughout the Pope's visit.

How will the suburbs be affected by the influx of people?

Thousands of people will be boarding Regional Rail stations in the suburbs, causing major traffic delays in Radnor and Fort Washington, among others. Emergency vehicles will be roving around Montgomery County ready to respond to any backups or emergency situations. There may also be food and water supplied locally for people who may be stuck for up to hours.

State police will also be flying in helicopters to assist people if necessary.

Individual towns and counties may make announcements of their own, so stay tuned to your local area announcements for the latest on how you may be affected.

I live in New Jersey. How can I get into Philadelphia to see Pope Francis?

The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed to vehicles starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 25, but it will be open to pedestrians. Bike riders will also be allowed to cross the bridge, but they will have to walk their bikes across.

NBC10's Matt DeLucia walked the bridge in August and gave us some information about the Bridge's function during the pontiff's visit.

The RiverLink Ferry will also be open and taking passengers from Camden to Philadelphia, with extended hours during Pope Francis' visit on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 and will be sold online.

PATCO will also be running trains in from South Jersey, and tickets are expected to be available at stations during the weekend. More information on travel from New Jersey can be found here.

Okay, once I get into the city, how do I get around?

Organizers have been saying for months that public transit is the way to go to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia. SEPTA has announced increases to the number of passes and parking spots along their routes. Every SEPTA stop is within two miles of Logan Circle.

There are also 3-day passes available for just $10, which will allow you to travel on subways, buses and trolleys from Saturday September 26 to Monday, September 28.

For a full diagram or to buy tickets, visit SEPTA's website.

Certain cabs have been given permission to drive around in the designated pope zone as well, and Philadelphia's bike share program Indego will be available so people can rent bikes within the blocked off areas.

I have a question that wasn't answered here. Who should I ask?

The Papal Visit Playbook has these answers and much more on the World Meeting of Families website.