Things to Do In Montgomery County Blog

Pope in DC

The Pope will be in the District from Tuesday, September 22 to Wednesday, September 24. Washington, D.C. is expected to be filled with tourists and celebrants and many of the city’s roadways will be closed with three days projected to be disrupted by traffic congestion.

Quick Facts:

  • The pontiff will visit D.C., then New York and Philadelphia.
  • It will be his first trip to the U.S.
  • He will be the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress, and perform a canonization in America.
  • The Archdiocese of Washington set up a text/email alert system for his visit. Visit or text the phrase “PopeinDC” to 84576.
  • Events will be live-streamed at
  • The pope’s visit has two official hashtags: #WalkwithFrancis and #PopeinDC

The pope has added a visit to the National Mall where spectators who arrive early and pass through security can line the streets where he’ll pass in the Popemobile.

Where can you see the Pope?

Tickets for the few events open to the public are extremely limited, and the venues are small. So the short answer is, if you don’t already have tickets, they are likely out of reach.

It is possible to see Pope Francis in his Popemobile as he tours the Ellipse and part of the National Mall so those without a ticket will be able to see the pontiff. The popemobile will drive a parade route along the mall after the pope’s scheduled 9 a.m. visit with President Obama at the White House on Sept. 23, according to the archdiocese.

There are no tickets required to see the pope along the mall, but expect to pass through security.

Security gates will open at 4 a.m. and no one will be allowed to enter the secure area after 10 a.m. See more details of the pope’s route along the National Mall below:

Other opportunities to see the Pope:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 23, 11:30 a.m. — See the pontiff enter/exit the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Rhode Island Avenue NW
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23, 4:15 p.m. — Along the route to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue NE before and after the pope celebrates an outdoor Mass there. The Mass itself is a ticketed event and the campus of adjacent Catholic University will be closed to the general public. His route to the basilica has not yet been released. His address to U.S. bishops and the canonization Mass — will be broadcast on a large screen set up on the National Mall near the Washington Monument.
  • Thursday, Sept. 24, 9:20 a.m. — The pope visits the U.S. Capitol to speak to a joint meeting of Congress. The entrance he’ll use is not being made public. Video screens will be set up on the West Front of the Capitol, facing the National Mall. Francis is also expected to appear on the Capitol balcony after his speech.


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