President-elect Barack Obama's motorcade pulled up to Independence Hall, accompanied by five Philadelphia police officers on motorcycles.
According to the Associated Press, Obama's prepared remarks state "if we're listening to our governors, we'll not only be doing what's right for our states, we'll be doing what's right for our country."
He also is sounding a bipartisan tone, telling Republican governors: "I offer you the same hand of friendship and cooperation that I offer our Democratic governors."
The meeting comes a day after the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the U.S. economy has been in a recession for the past year.
Earlier, five Philadelphia Trolley Works buses dropped off many of the governors attending today's meeting with the President-elect on the financial meltdown and its impact on states.
Separately, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin arrived in a town car.
Security outside Independence Hall stopped pedestrian traffic on Fifth Street between Chestnut and Market, while national TV news crews huddled in a pack on the southeast side of the Hall.
A crowd of about 40 people waited outside the Hall.
Kristen Nelson of Seattle is in Philadelphia with her three children, Eli, 5, Isaac, 3, and Silvie, 1, and her husband Chris. They were planning on flying back later today after spending Thanksgiving here. They wanted to show their children Independence Hall, but weren't expecting the President-elect and more than 40 governors.
"I don't know if we'll see Obama or not. I sure hope so," said Nelson. "This has turned into a real teaching moment."
Karen Page, 23, of West Philadelphia, was taking a break from classes at the DPT Business School, and said she caught a glimpse of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But she's really hoping to see Barack Obama.
"I just want to get a glimpse of him [Obama] and get a great picture," Billups said.
Courtnay Tyus, an administrator at the Charter High School of Architecture and Design, said she was disappointed that she was not able to get a glimpse of the president-elect.
She saw his vehicle pull into a closed tent, and then saw it leave empty.
"It's like Oz," she said. "He's behind the curtain and you're not allowed to see him."
With her was Elsie Garcia, a math teacher at the school: "We came over knowing we probably wouldn't see him, but it's history in the making and we were close."
At the Independence Visitors Center, they're still welcoming tourists and, according to park workers, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall itself will remain open today.
The only attraction that will close is Congress Hall, the site of the meeting - which is big enough to hold 105 people.
Traffic is snarled around the area, with swarms of Philadelphia city police, FBI agents and Pennsylvania state troopers are filling the area.
Earlier today, Obama worked out the Philadelphia Sports Club on 20th Street, after Secret Service agents searched and wanded club patrons working out inside.
Obama left his hotel, the Center City Sheraton, at about 8 a.m., wearing a Secret Service cap instead of his usual Chicago White Sox cap.