Exclusive: Itinerary and Road Closings for Philadelphia Papal Visit

By: Glen Jessie

Pope Francis’ long-awaited visit to Philadelphia finally draws near.  As the dust settles, it appears that an itinerary for the weekend-long stay has been finalized, as have road and bridge closings:

Friday, September 25 – 1336 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

When the Bishop of Rome arrives in Philadelphia, he’ll first be letting loose by engaging in one of his favorite pastimes – bowling! Pope Francis plans to get a couple of games on the books at the Lucky Strike Bowling and Entertainment Center on Chestnut Street in Center City. His Holiness will be staying there for the entirety of the day on Friday, September 25. As a result of the Pope’s visit to Lucky Strike, Center City Philadelphia will be closed to all residents, tourists and motorists.

Saturday, September 26, 9:00 a.m. – 1336 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

The pope plans on sleeping, in the bowling alley, for just a few short hours during this hectic weekend. Upon waking up, he’ll get his daily exercise in by bowling a few more games at the Lucky Strike bowling alley, and trying one of their luxurious meals – perhaps their signature Burger Of The Month.

Saturday, September 26, 11:30 a.m. – 4040 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA

Mid-day on Saturday, September 26th, Pope Francis will head towards West Philadelphia, where he will make his much anticipated appearance at a historical site in Philadelphia – the former location of the Strikes Bowling Lounge on the 4000 block of Locust Street. West Philadelphia will close in its entirety for the Pope’s visit to the old building. Formerly a booming bowling alley, Strikes Lounge closed, and is just a shell of the vibrant bowling alley it once was. There is no longer a bowling alley in the building.

Saturday, September 26, 4:00 p.m. – 20 Franklin Mills Blvd, Philadelphia, PA

Dicks Sporting Goods – The Pope plans a mid-afternoon shopping trip to a staple of Philadelphia – the Dick’s Sporting Goods on Franklin Mills Boulevard. Northeast Philadelphia will be closed to all residents and drivers during this time, as well as the rest of the weekend. Pope Francis will shop at Dicks for various pieces of sporting gear, such as elbow sleeves, sporting khakis, and lane oil.

Saturday, September 26, 5:45 p.m. – 1200 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA

After a long day, the Pope will unwind with 30 frames (3 games) of bowling at Pep Bowl, located directly off of Broad Street in South Philadelphia. Built in the 1950’s, Pep Bowl offers a comfortable but vintage atmosphere – 6 lanes and a small snack stand in a petite space. The pope won’t have to worry about waiting for other bowlers to finish, however – all of South Philadelphia (South of South Street to the stadiums) will be closed off to the public because of the planned visit.

Saturday, September 26, 8:30 p.m. – 1346 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

Pope Francis will be refueling with an extravagant dinner planned at the Olive Garden in Center City Philadelphia, which will remain closed. Olive Garden offers high quality Italian cuisine, often high in carbohydrates for those looking to refuel for an athletic lifestyle.

Saturday, September 26, 10:20 p.m. – 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

The Pope will be sleeping at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, which offers a fantastic location and luxurious atmosphere. The hotel, along with the entirety of Central Philadelphia (North of South Street and South of Girard Avenue), will not be open to the public from Friday, September 25, through Sunday, September 27. The Mariott Location on Market Street is convenient for travelers looking to visit City Hall, Reading Terminal Market, or Lucky Strikes Bowling, which is just blocks away.

Sunday, September 27, 10:00 a.m. – 3081 Holme Ave, Philadelphia, PA

On Sunday morning, the Pope will make a specially planned trip to Northeast Philadelphia. He’ll be heading North on I-95 until he exits near the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road. He’ll then drive past that facility on his way to Thunderbird Lanes, a staple of Holme Street. Thunderbird lanes offers a simplistic but peaceful environment, standard bowling amenities, and a generic snack bar with pizza and sodas. Pope Francis, a fan of the sport of bowling, will be letting a few balls fly down the lanes on Sunday morning.

Sunday, September 27, 1:30 p.m. – 909 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA

Backtracking towards the city, Pope Francis will be taking a break from the responsibilities of speaking on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church when he hits the lanes in Northern Liberties. He’ll be stopping at North Bowl, a retro bowling alley that serves alcohol and bar food. Unfortunately, onlookers will not be able to see the pope at this location, as Northern Liberties and the surrounding Fishtown community will not be open to or accessible by the public.

Sunday, September 27, 6:15 p.m. – 1336 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

Bowling – Tying his itinerary to a close on Sunday night, Pope Francis will be returning to the place where his exciting weekend began – Lucky Strike. The Pope will enjoy one final meal from the widely accommodating menu, and will be bowling 2-3 more games, according to a spokesman. Sources said that His Holiness hopes to be primed for some personal best games by this point in the trip, so this stop could be exciting!

City Parking/Living Availability

Because of the Pope’s travels in Philadelphia, a couple of locations will be closed to driving, parking, walking, eating, or living. The following map depicts colored areas which are entirely closed to the public. Fear not, Philadelphians – any circled areas are still completely open to the public at large during this historic weekend. Green areas denote the Pope’s planned travel routes which will be entirely unavailable to any and all members of the public.

Road And Bridge Closures

The following entrances to the city of Philadelphia will remain open during the papal visit:

The following closures will be in place for the entirety of the papal visit:

  • I-95 S and I-95 N will be closed from Exit 12 (Philadelphia International Airport) to Exit 51 (New Hope)
  • I-76 eastbound from I-476 to I-95
  • I-76 westbound to U.S. Route 1
  • I-676 will be closed in both directions from I-76 to I-96
  • U.S. Route 1 will be closed in both directions from U.S. Route 30 to Belmont Avenue
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge will be closed for the entirety of the papal visit