The Presidential Inauguration is this Monday, January 21st. Whether you’re coming to DC for the big events, pretending to be a tourist because you missed it last time, or hiding from the masses because this is all “Oh so 2009,” BlockAvenue has the scoop for you!
Main Event: The swearing in is happening on the west front steps of the Capitol around 11:30 AM. Viewing the event anywhere around the Capitol requires tickets. If you are heading downtown without tickets, the open and free area starts on the mall around 4th street and continues back to the Washington Monument. There will be big screens set up, and although everyone is saying the main event won’t be as packed as 2009 (with almost 2 million people attending), it still will be crazy and crowded, so get there early and be prepared to stand and wait.
Weather: At least this year, the weather should be a little nicer. Although we’ve been seeing rain and fog all week so far and it will continue for a couple more days, the predictions for the weekend are sunny with a high of 50 degrees on Saturday. Monday looks a little colder, with partial clouds, but still better weather than 2009.
Transportation: Don’t even think about driving. The roads around the mall, Capitol, and White House will all be closed for the event and parade. The Metro will be running an extended schedule opening at 4:00 AM Monday morning and running until 2:00 AM Tuesday morning. Remember- the stops closest to the mall will be closed- Smithsonian, Archives, and Mt. Vernon. Only use the stops near the Capitol if you have tickets. Something new happening in 2013 that wasn’t available in 2009 is Capital Bikeshare. They will be putting out extra bikes and corrals on the mall- one at Farragut Square on 17th between K and I St NW and one at 12th and Independence SW. Be aware you won’t be able to bike all the way in. The crowds will get heavy the closer to you get to the mall so at some point, walking will be your only option. For more information, check out this transportation and parking guide.
Security: The Secret Service is in charge of this event and they came out with a great list of Dos and Don’ts for the Inauguration. There will be security check points for Capitol ticket holders, the general public along the parade route, anyone at White House viewing stand or going to the inauguration balls. Besides what you expect to see on these Not Allowed lists like guns, knives, and explosives, you also can’t bring large bags, thermoses, and portable chairs. Signs are allowed along the parade route as long as they are made of cardboard, poster board or cloth and are less than 3 feet by 20 feet.
Parade: After the swearing in, President Obama and his family will walk the 15 blocks from the Capitol to the White House along Pennsylvania Ave. It will start around 2:30 PM and last about 2 hours. Areas around the parade route will open at 6:30 AM. Before you go, check out the parade route and more information about the event. In the exclusion zone this year, there will be 100 vendors, 20 of them food trucks for your eating needs, so keep an eye out for hot, tasty, and quick treats.
Balls: Instead of the 10 official balls that Obama went to in 2009, there will only be two official this year- The Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball and The Inaugural Ball. There are plenty of State Society Events, Unofficial Balls, and after parties to participate in if you aren’t one of the lucky few at these two events.
Alternative Plan: If you want to go out and celebrate the 57th Presidential Inauguration but without the crowds at the mall, I recommend staying near Adams Morgan, U St, Columbia Heights, Arlington, or Bethesda during the height of the inauguration activities. There is plenty going on in DC without having to be at the mall. The food and drink specials alone are amazing! Cashion’s, in Adams Morgan, is offering a Barack Obama themed prox-fixe on Monday. Also in Adams Morgan, Napoleon Bistro is also having an Obama themed drink all weekend. ChurchKey is having their Brewers Ball on the 21st complete with beers and the brewers themselves. In Arlington, check out Bayou Bakery for their Obama themed hog dogs or head up to Bethesda to the Mussel Bar for their Obama-tini.
Or host your own party! The Washingtonian put out a list of how to celebrate like Obama this Inauguration or you can check out Block Avenue’s suggestions from the election. And of course, the bar scene this weekend will be great. While all the tourists are tuckered out in their hotel beds, DC residents can go out and play with extended bar hours til 4:00 AM this Inauguration weekend. Check out the complete list of bars staying open late.
Don’t forget, Saturday, January 19 is the National Day of Service. Whether you are already in DC for the festivities or you’re a DC resident, get out and do something good with your Saturday before the chaos starts.
How are you celebrating the Inauguration Weekend? Where will you be? Let us know!