News & Politics

The Pope’s Visit Isn’t the Only Big Event Going on in DC This Week

Expect this. Photograph by Flickr user Rudi Riet.

By now you probably know that Pope Francis is coming to town on Wednesday, and that you shouldn’t do things like drive, ride mass transit unless you have many hours to spare, expect to make phone calls, fly drones, or use selfie sticks. Plainly speaking, the best option—if possible—is to stay home and watch madness unfold on television or the internet.

But about those with pre-existing engagments in DC? Despite the inconveniences the Pope’s visit will cause, the city will not shut down. There are other things going on that, to some, rival the importance of seeing Francis or his popemobile in person.

Wednesday, the busiest day of the pope’s stay in DC, is also Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when practicing members of the faith will fast all day and attend synogogue. For Nationals devotees still holding out hope for an improbable playoff run, the team has a home game against the Baltimore Orioles, fans of whom may want to attend as well. And fans of bland English pop will swarm the Verizon Center for the second of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran‘s two concerts..

In other words, Wednesday stands a high likelihood of being a confluence of several different constituencies. But it will also be the ideal night for anyone looking to perfect a joke about a Catholic, a Jew, a Nationals diehard, and an Ed Sheeran fan walking into the same bar. Maybe hang around these neighborhoods for when everyone converges:

Gallery Place:

It’s in the middle of the city (with its Metro station underneath the Verizon Center), and is just a short walk from where Pope Francis will pass for a midday prayer at St. Matthew’s Cathedral. It’s also close to Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and is only a few Green Line stops away from Nationals Park.


Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope, which Georgetown University might look upon with pride. College kids also love Ed Sheeran, so expect much of the 18-to-21 set migrating toward Gallery Place on Wednesday. Perhaps the only thing they love more than Sheeran is doing things cheaply, and tickets for Wednesday’s Nationals game are going for as little as $6 on Stubhub. Georgetown will see its share of Yom Kippur foot traffic, too, with many of the neighborhood’s Orthodox residents heading to Kesher Israel for services. Cleveland Park’s Adas Israel Congregation isn’t too far, either.

Eastern Market:

Everyone wants a nice meal at the end of the day, regardless of their background—Jews breaking their fasts, Catholics after Mass, potentially disgruntled Nats fans, and Ed Sheeran devotees. Food unites us all.