Every four years, Washington, DC hosts the country’s largest political party on the National Mall. The historic swearing-in ceremony, the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and plenty of inaugural balls and events all create a one-of-a-kind experience found only in DC.
The 57th Presidential Inauguration will take place on Monday, January 21, 2013. Because the federally-mandated inauguration day (Jan. 20) falls on a Sunday this year, there will be an official private swearing-in ceremony on Sunday with a public ceremony and festivities on Monday.
Official schedules and information for the 57th Presidential Inauguration are still taking shape. Please check back here often for updates. You may also want to visit inauguration.dc.gov and inaugural.senate.gov for more information.
Update (12/10/12): President Obama’s official Inaugural Committee has been announced. It includes honorary chairmanships for the four living ex-presidents, and Co-Chairs actress and activist Eva Longoria and former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun, the national finance chairman of Obama's campaign.
Below are a few key points to keep in mind if you’re planning to attend any of the inaugural events.
The President-elect and Vice President-elect take the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building just before noon on Jan. 21. The formal ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are distributed in advance by U.S. senators and representatives. You should contact your senator’s or representative’s office to inquire about obtaining tickets. Please note that tickets are limited and in great demand. Attendees who don't have tickets to view the swearing-in can watch from at least 20 jumbotrons posted along the National Mall. Please note there will be certain secure entry points along the National Mall for the public and ticketed sections. You should expect to have your bag searched—and it is recommended that you travel as lightly as possible.
The swearing-in ceremony is followed by a parade from the Capitol to the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue. There are limited ticketed bleacher seats available, but the public is invited to stand along the parade route. The First and Second Family travel in the parade, as well as various marching bands, military units and other entertainment.
Tickets to the many inaugural balls will be distributed or available for purchase by the ball organizer. Inaugural balls typically take place the week leading up to and on Inauguration evening. If you are interested in attending an inaugural ball, we suggest contacting your state society as most host an inaugural ball in Washington, DC. Local restaurants and attractions also typically host themed events throughout inauguration week. We will post this information as it becomes available.
The Inauguration festivities will also include a National Day of Service on Jan. 19. Obama, Biden and members of their families will participate locally, while Americans are encouraged to “organize and participate in service projects in their communities.”
Visit our hotel booking page or call 1-800-422-8644 for assistance in booking a hotel. Hotels will book up early and many will require a 3- to 4-night minimum stay. If you plan to stay at a hotel in the Washington, DC region (including Virginia and Maryland), it is suggested that you reserve your room(s) soon.
The use of public transportation is strongly encouraged on Inauguration day. Many roads and parking spaces will be closed and/or barricaded. The best way to get to your destination, whether it’s for the morning swearing-in ceremony or an evening inaugural ball, is to take Metro. To save time, purchase your Metro pass in advance of inauguration day. (Metro is also offering a special Inauguration SmarTrip card, commemorating the occasion.) If you do plan on driving, the web and mobile site Parking Panda will allow you to find and reserve a parking space in advance.
Visit goDCgo.com/inauguration for more information about Inauguration Day transportation options and updates including Metro's extended service hours, Capital Bikeshare corrals, bike parking for personal bikes, motorcoach/tourbus information for groups, bus detours, parking & more.
The United States Secret Service has also detailed important information regarding road closures, screening procedures as well as a list of items attendees cannot bring. Please check their website for information and updates.
The Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee advises that there will be designated drop-off points for visitors with disabilities outside of the security perimeters, but traffic conditions may make it difficult to reach these points. Visitors using walkers or wheelchairs should be aware that they may need to move across bumpy surfaces, grassy areas and possibly icy patches.
For group tours and groups arriving by motorcoach - please review the steps listed in the Group Tour section below.
The 2013 public Presidential Inauguration falls on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It will be only the second time in inaugural history that this has happened. Additional events and crowds are expected in DC because of this holiday overlap. There will also be volunteer opportunities available on Jan. 21 for those who wish to participate in the MLK National Day of Service in DC. Please check back for updates.
Groups of 10 or more in need of assistance locating rooms, restaurants, transportation or other needs may contact Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for Washington, DC, for support. Groups requiring 10 or more rooms may call Morgan Maravich at 202-789-7056 or fill out an online RFP for travel professionals or meeting planners.
For all groups arriving by motorcoach, follow these steps:
1) Apply for mandatory bus permit.
2) Reserve bus parking for Inauguration Day at RFK Stadium by calling (202) 608-1113 or reserving online. RFK Stadium will have their Capital View Café’ open for all bus drivers to relax and order food. Café hours will be open during entire parking hours. Entrance to the Café will be located: Gate A administrative entrance, via parking lot 5. Once you gain access to the building there will be signage.
3) Stay updated on routing information and road closures at GoDCGo.com. For additional routing/road closure or parking information, please contact Morgan Maravich.
4) Register for traffic alerts on GoDCGo.com, District Department of Transportation news and National Captial Region updates.
5) Purchase a special pre-loaded commemorative SmarTrip card for Metrorail.