Going to the Inauguration
Metro riders on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.
Parking will be severely limited on Inauguration Day, but visitors may take public transportation. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has set up a special Inauguration page with information on transportation during Inauguration Day.
The Swearing-In Ceremony will be held outdoors on the west front steps of the Capitol. In the past, the vast majority of tickets have been for standing room. Once underway, the ceremony typically lasts about an hour. Be advised that January is historically cold and wet. Prepare for temperatures below freezing. Crowds will be large and you will likely be outside for several hours. The National Weather Service has a page with more information on Inauguration weather.
Ticketed Viewing Areas
Tickets are needed to enter specific viewing areas, the closer ones, but the viewing area for the swearing-in ceremony is quite large, and will tentatively stretch from the Capitol along the National Mall. Not all sections of the viewing area require tickets. See a color-coded map of the entrances to the National Mall for the Swearing-In Ceremony here.
Arrive early for required security screening and anticipate large crowds. Be prepared to pass through several security screenings before reaching the section indicated on your ticket.
All ticket holders may be required to pass through security screening, including handbag inspection. At the 2013 Swearing-In Ceremony, the following items may not be brought into the ticketed viewing areas near the Capitol:
- Aerosol sprays
- Air horns
- Alcoholic beverages
- Animals (other than service animals)
- Duffel bags
- Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
- Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
- Glass containers
- Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
- Large bags
- Laser pointers
- Mace and/or pepper spray
- Pocket or hand tools, such as “Leatherman” tools
- Portable chairs (other than those for disabled persons)
- Sticks or poles
- Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screener
Several roads will be closed to the public on Inauguration Day. For a list of closures, please see the Inauguration page of the U.S. Secret Service.
For additional resources, please see Transportation & Parking.