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DC’s Official Convention & Tourism Corporation Issues Checklist for Inauguration Visitors
With just days remaining before the inauguration of Barack Obama, it’s time for inauguration travelers and group travel planners to finalize their trip arrangements. Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the nation’s capital, has compiled this checklist to help ensure that inauguration visitors are prepared for the historic occasion. For immediate assistance and additional information, please use Washington.org/inauguration or call 1-800-422-8644.
Tips for All Travelers:
Confirm your hotel: If you have a hotel reservation, call the hotel directly to confirm it. If you’re still looking for a hotel room for yourself or for a group, call 1-800-422-8644 so that Destination DC’s team of local tourism experts can refer you directly to hotels with availability. In a survey conducted last week, Destination DC located about 500 hotel rooms that are still available within the city, plus more than 10,000 hotel rooms within 200 miles of the inauguration action.
Make Your Metro Plans: With record crowds expected on Metro, be prepared to wait an hour or more before you board the train. You can save a step inside the station by pre-purchasing your fare cards online. Every rider needs his or her own card; up to two children under age 5 can ride free with a paying adult. The Metro parking lots at Greenbelt, Morgan Boulevard and Van Dorn Street stations will be available for charter bus parking only; the Minnesota Avenue station will be restricted for use by Metro employees only. Parking at all other stations is $4 per day, cash only. The Smithsonian and Federal Triangle stations will be closed on Inauguration Day. If you’re traveling with a group that’s being dropped off at a Metro station, take note of the Tips for Motorcoaches below. For more information and to purchase fare cards, visit wmata.com.
Reserve Your Train Ticket: If you are taking the train to DC, plan ahead. Amtrak is adding service along the Northeast Corridor on Jan. 20, but trains will require reservations and tickets must be purchased prior to boarding. Commuter rail service will also be available on certain routes on the MARC (Maryland Area Rail Commuter) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE); reservations are also required. Plan to arrive at the station no earlier than one hour prior to departure time, and be sure to pick up your roundtrip tickets before boarding the train.
Choose Your Celebration: Along with the official balls, there are dozens of unofficial celebrations at venues throughout the region. Log on to Washington.org/inauguration for a list of celebrations, like the Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball at the breathtaking Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sun., Jan. 18, where Lincoln’s own inaugural ball took place, plus links to sites where you can learn more about the official events.
Get Travel Tips & Insider Advice: Need some help organizing your visit? Need recommendations on a good meeting point for your group? Contact Destination DC at 1-800-422-8644 or log on to Washington.org to request a copy of the Official Visitors Guide, Official Visitors Map or to get advice from a local travel expert. You’ll also find insider tips, sample itineraries, information about African-American history and news about our latest cultural tourism promotion, celebrating the Lincoln Bicentennial. On our dedicated inauguration page, Washington.org/inauguration, you’ll also find information about attractions that have modified their hours during inauguration, a list of 44 free and affordable things to do in DC during inauguration and a rundown of restaurants serving up special inauguration-themed menu items.
Dress the Part: January temperatures average around 40 degrees in DC; be sure to wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes fit for walking. If you’re holding tickets to the swearing-in, you’ll also want to review the list of prohibited items on inaugural.senate.gov. You can also pick stock up on souvenir inauguration-themed apparel before you arrive by visiting zazzle.com/Washingtondc .
Special Tips for Travelers Arrive by Bus or Motorcoach:
Make Sure Your Motorcoach Has a Permit: If you’re planning to bring a group to DC by bus or motorcoach on Inauguration Day, make sure you’ve applied for a permit. All coaches traveling to DC on Inauguration Day must have a permit from the DC Department of Transportation, and applications for permits must be submitted by January 15. More information is available at inauguration.dc.gov/bus.asp.
Make Sure You Have a Motorcoach Parking Plan: Once you’ve secured your permit, you’ll need to register to park at RFK Stadium and other designated locations (including the Greenbelt, Shady Grove, Vienna, Morgan Blvd. and West Falls Church Metrorail stations) by visiting 2009inauguration.clickandpark.com. Because of the high level of Metro ridership expected on Inauguration Day, buses will not be allowed to drop passengers at Metrorail stations without registering in advance.
Additional tips and event information will be posted on Washington.org/inauguration as it becomes available.
About Destination DC: Destination DC, the lead destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of more than 850 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. Destinationdc.com.