How to Survive Inauguration Weekend in DC

This weekend, DC will play host to both MLK and Inauguration Weekend. For an event that happens just once every four years – the city is expected to see crowds as high as 2 million arriving to the city to celebrate. It’s going to be one hectic weekend, to say the least. How are you getting there? If you’re planning a trip to the area, be sure to post your trip on RidePost – you can find others traveling the same way, cut down on your expenses, and aid the collective effort to cut down on all that traffic!

There’s a lot to do while you’re there – here’s a quick schedule of events:

Saturday, Jan. 19: National Day of Service. Celebrate the legacy of MLK and get your community service on. Projects are happening all over the country: sign up asap!

Sunday, Jan. 20: The President will be participating in a small private swearing-in ceremony. For the rest of us, I’d recommend using the day to prepare for Monday…

Monday, Jan. 21: Inauguration Day. Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Parade, & Inaugural Balls. If you’re not on the guest list for a ball – fret not: there will be plenty of festivities you can join, without an invite!

The crowds in DC don't disappoint.

The crowds in DC don’t disappoint.

If you are one of the two million people headed to DC this weekend, I’ve got some survival tips for you:

  1. Dress for the weather. You’re going to be outside, a lot. Today DC is about 35 degrees and rainy. This is typical of this time of year – so come with lots of warm layers and rain-proof yourself.
  2. Walk, Bike, or Metro. Do yourself a favor and buy your MetroCard in advance of Inauguration Day. Several of the metro stations nearest the Inauguration Day Parade will actually be closed – so plan your route in advance and prepare to walk. Metro did us all a big favor and created this video with more tips for using Metro – definitely worth a view if you’re planning to Metro it up on Monday. I’d also recommend checking out Capital Bikeshare – you can join for the weekend and use bikes to get around town – much more reliable than a cab with these crowds!
  3. Rise & Shine. The parade starts at 2:30, however if you’re planning to attend the parade without a ticket (which you can – yay), the gates open at 6:30am. Grab your coffee and hustle on over to land a good viewing spot. You can download the parade route and entry point map here.
  4. Bring your own food and bevvies. There will be plenty of vendors running around with food and drink – but they’ll charge you an arm and a leg for it.
  5. Prepare to hang out after the parade. The crowds will all be racing to get out of the city, so use the time to walk around DC and explore some of the outdoor memorials. Lucky for you, the memorials are best viewed at night, at their prettiest. Plus, there are plenty of warm restaurants and bars to grab a drink with friends and toast your surviving of the day.

The best thing about Inauguration Weekend? All of the excitement – you can just feel the crowd buzzing. People can set aside the politics of the recent election and celebrate all things democracy and country. Definitely not to be missed!

Screen shot 2013-01-16 at 9.20.02 AM

Are you going to DC for this Inauguration Weekend? Or have you attended an Inauguration in the past? We want to know your travel tips – let us know in the comments below!

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One thought on “How to Survive Inauguration Weekend in DC

  1. Pingback: Happy MLK, Jr. Day « the life and times

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