In the words of the man of the hour himself, Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia: “I will be there,” he said, “because you will be there.” The notoriously ascetic man will be visiting Philly from September 26th till the 27th and with such a short visit, we’ve composed a list of must-do’s for the holy leader for the 48 hours he’ll visit the city. His schedule might be packed, but these are some must-dos and must-eats for anyone visiting the city of love.
What He Should See And Do
It may not be the Vatican but Philadelphia has its own American charm. With plenty of culture, sports and iconic photo opportunities, the Pope will surely find that the city has its own unique brand of allure.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts might be launching a new collection entitled Faith and Family in honor of the papal visit but we’re positive those pieces won’t be the only ones catching his eye. While his favorite painter, Modernist Marc Chagall might be missing from their collection, we’re positive he’ll enjoy the works of America’s rich artistic heritage, include Chagall contemporaries like Milton Avery and John Marin.
The Pope has been a rabid user of social media (at least in comparison to the others) and never turns down an opportunity for a selfie with a fan. The ultimate Philly selfie has to be at the unofficially named Love Park (JFK Plaza) next to Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture.
The Philadelphia Eagles might not be playing while he’s in town, but we’re sure that the Pope, who is a big fan of soccer, would want to see what American Football is all about. Instead, he can immortalize himself in full American glory with a run up the “Rocky Steps” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Museum will also have a special Papal tidbit — LOVE sculpturist Robert Indiana will unveil his AMOR sculpture at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Amor means love in Pope Francis’ native Spanish and the sculpture will face the original LOVE, next to which he’ll have taken selfie part one.
What He Should Eat
The Pope’s diet is normally quite austere but a visit to Philadelphia isn’t complete without a large side of indulgence. His robes might get a bit tight by the time he leaves, but we guarantee he’ll be searching for a taste of Philly when he returns home.
The Center City Pretzel Company in the Italian Market has got a touch of Papel-fever with cross-shaped pretzels celebrating the pontiffs visit. Year-round, however, they offer the best pretzels in Philly, made using only flour, yeast and water. This is the holy grail of soft Philadelphia pretzels and we’re sure the Pope will appreciate their holy appeal.
The Pope might normally prefer plain chicken for dinner but a visit to Dalessandro’s will change his tune: a long, crusty roll stuffed with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese will make him a beefsteak advocate for the masses. Long hailed as one of the best cheesesteaks in Philly, we wouldn’t be surprised if he praised the corner shop during his Sunday mass at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In case he’s feeling a bit homesick for his ancestral and current Italian home, for dessert we think Pope Francis should indulge in some Cannoli. Philadelphia has a strong Italian heritage and the Termini Brothers‘ cannoli rivals even the best canolo in Italy, making it some of the best cannoli in the world, outside of Italy.
Where He Should Stay
The Pope has shunned the decadent Papal apartment in the Vatican in favor of much simpler lodging, but when he travels, he can hardly be put up in a rooming house. Philadelphia has no lack of beautiful hotels but we think he would appreciate the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Housed in a 1930’s buidling that holds the title of our nation’s first skyscraper, he might even indulge in a cheeky swim in the hotel pool. In-room WiFi means he can comfortably surf the web, or reply to messages from his adoring worldwide fanbase. Plus, the view from the suites will remind him of just how blessed he is.