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Pope Francis sunglasses

Pope Francis in Philly

For anyone living in or around Philadelphia, the topic dominating the local news has been Pope Francis’ upcoming visit. It was estimated that 1.5 million tourists would be coming into town over the weekend, and while the actual numbers may be a little lower than projected, there are still going to be a lot of tourists in town. So what’s that mean for you?
Yo Pontiff t-shirt
Infinite will be open, as usual, while the Pope is here; in fact, some new body art could be the perfect antidote for your Pope overload!

If you’re already in town and want to make your way down to see us during the weekend, great! Depending on where you will be, South Street may not be too far of a walk, but do know it may take a bit of planning. (There are many different resources to answer questions and help you navigate the Papal weekend and get around the City, and you can always use the Papal Visit Playbook on the World Meeting of Families site. )

If you’re making the trip into the city this weekend, here’s the basics of what you need to know to get here:

Driving into Philadelphia

If you’re thinking about driving into Philadelphia during the Papal visit, don’t. Parking regulations and street closures started as early as Monday, September 20, and major shutdowns are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 25, and last until Monday morning. Here are a few of the big closures:

  • The Schuylkill Expressway and the Vine Street Expressway will be closed.
  • Most major highways leading into Philadelphia will be closed, including I-76, I-676 in Camden, and Admiral Wilson Boulevard (Route 30) in Camden.
  • The Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be closed to cars, though it will be open to pedestrian and bike traffic.

So while we’d love to see you over the weekend, trying to drive into the City during the Pope’s visit is not a good idea.

Driving Inside Philadelphia

Philly pope visit traffic box

If you’re already in the City, driving and parking inside of Philadelphia during the Papal visit is going to be, quite literally, a clusterfuck. There will be a perimeter created around most of Center City called the “traffic box.” Once inside this area, motor vehicles will be allowed to move freely, but once they exit this area, they will not be allowed to re-enter. South Street is the northernmost border before entering the box, so cars will be able to drive north to South, and will be able to drive down South Street, but will not be allowed to turn north, into Center City. Inside the box, closer to the events, driving will be prohibited altogether.

If you’re attempting to drive to South Street, you’ll have to come north from South Philadelphia. Parking may be especially difficult over the weekend—but when has parking ever been easy on the weekends around South Street? If you are lucky enough to find parking, time limits at meters and kiosks will not be enforced throughout the papal weekend; that means parking is free Saturday and Sunday!

Public Transportation

Philadelphia Public Transit map

SEPTA and PATCO will be operating, but on a very different schedule, and with a limited number of stops. Most tickets must be purchased well in advance of the Papal Weekend.

  • SEPTA’s Papal Visit schedule is here.
  • SEPTA Regional Rail will be accessible at only 18 of its 150 stations, and the only stops in the City will be at University City, 30th Street Station, and the Jefferson stop at 11th and Market. To ride, you will need a special one-day Regional Rail pass, purchased in advance. More information is here.
  • The Broad Street Subway and Market-Frankford El will be running, but with a limited number of stops.
  • SEPTA bus and trolley access will be very limited.
  • PATCO will have a limited number of stops, and the only station open in the City will be at 9th-10th and Locust. The only fares accepted will be Freedom cards purchased in advance.

Walking and Bicycling

Now we’re talking! The good news is, with all the traffic and parking restrictions happening, this weekend Philadelphia will be a walker’s city. Many of the traffic restrictions, including the The Francis Festival Grounds (a.k.a, the “traffic box”) will allow easy interchange to anyone on foot or on a bicycle. Closer to the events at the Parkway and at Independence Hall, security and admittance will be much more regulated, down on South Street, foot and bike traffic will be unimpeded.

So Why Bother?

So why brave the Popocalypse to come to see us during the weekend craziness? Because we have the most amazing (and fashionable) staff anywhere, and this weekend we also have the amazingly-talented Autumn Swisher. We have new jewelry from Venus and BVLA (including a huge selection on genuine diamond ends) that can make your new piercing something special.

Because what else are you going to do this weekend, stay in and binge on Netflix—again?

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