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Everything You Need to Know About Inauguration Day in Washington, DC

Travel Tips | Mike Sheridan | January 6, 2021

Editors note: Presidential Inaugural Committee Urges Americans to Stay Home, Refrain from Travel, and Limit Gatherings During the Inauguration.

It’s no secret that every four years LA and New York usually ship the entirety of their celebrities down to Washington for inaugurationpalooza. But this year attendance will be mostly limited to Congress. COVID-19 safety protocols are being put in place to limit attendance in order to keep Americans safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Washington, DC erupts in celebration following the defeat of Donald Trump


But the inauguration is really an event for the people — We The People — so, here’s a round-up of the good, the amazing, the virtual, and basically what you need to know about Inauguration Day to get involved:

When will the official inauguration take place?

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office and be sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States.

Where is the swearing-in ceremony?

The 46th President of the United States will be sworn in on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The Oath of Office usually takes place at noon, followed by an inaugural address.

How can I view the new president’s parade route?

Instead of a traditional inaugural parade, the Bidens will arrive at the White House with a presidential escort consisting of representatives from every branch of the military. A “virtual parade” showcasing communities across the country will be televised at approximately 3 p.m. on Inauguration Day.

No, seriously, I’m going to be in DC so how can I view the new president’s parade route in person?

Traditionally, the parade travels down the 1.7-mile stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. We suspect that will be the same route the Bidens will take with the military escort. But, seriously, you can’t see this in person since core areas of National Mall will be closed  for the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

The following areas will be closed to public use:

  • Constitution Ave, NW from Rock Creek Parkway, NW to 17th Street NW, to include the adjacent sidewalks;
  • 17th Street , NW to H Street, NW, to include the adjacent sidewalks;
  • H Street, NW to 15th Street, NW, to include adjacent sidewalks;
  • 15th Street, NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW to include adjacent sidewalks;
  • Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, from 15th Street, NW to 3rd Street, SW, and adjacent sidewalks (except for designated areas for First Amendment activities to be overseen by the National Park Service and United States Park Police);
  • 3rd Street, SW, from Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, to Independence Avenue, SW, and adjacent sidewalks;
  • Independence Avenue, SW, from 3rd Street, SW, to Ohio Drive, SW, and adjacent sidewalks; and
  • Ohio Drive, SW, to Rock Creek Parkway, NW, and adjacent sidewalks.

Are all of the roads closed in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day?

Driving is usually not recommended. Parking is limited and there are usually road closures, so visitors and residents are recommended to walk, bike and use the Metro. Please plan accordingly with the Metropolitan Police Department’s complete list of road closures.

What’s the best way to navigate the District during inauguration weekend?

The Metro — period. Keep in mind that Metro stations directly near the festivities are closed for added security. In the past that has included Smithsonian (Orange, Silver and Blue lines), Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Green and Yellow lines), Pentagon (Blue and Yellow lines), Federal Triangle (Orange, Silver and Blue lines) and Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center (Green and Yellow lines).

If you are using a ride-sharing app such as Uber or Lyft, there will be a geofence around the security perimeter, meaning the apps will not work inside it. Attendees using the services will have to leave the perimeter to get picked up.

Where can I get up-to-date information?

You can follow @BidenInaugural on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube) and visit for the latest news and information about the inauguration.

Photos by Ted Eytan used under Flickr Creative Commons

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