22 Aug 2014
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2013 Presidential Inauguration Survival Guide

If you're heading downtown any time this weekend, you'll need to know how to get in, get around and navigate the crowds. Free advice here!

While the crowds may not be as intense as in 2009, when an estimated 1.8 million people came to D.C. for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, there’s still a lot of info you need to know to survive the day.

From Metro closures and changes to where to eat and how to stay warm, Patch has you covered.

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Metro – If you're driving to a metro station to take it into town, know that some metro stations will be closed, and some bus routes will be detoured. See our guide to taking Metro this weekend. 

Driving – Driving is definitely not recommended. If you’re still thinking about driving downtown, be prepared to sit in traffic and face the challenge of parking. More information on driving downtown on inauguration weekend is available here.

Buses – Metro has modified some bus routes around inauguration security areas and to avoid traffic. See more about taking Metro to inauguration here. Looking for other bus systems, like ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector or others? See our transportation guide for more information.

Biking – Bikes are prohibited in the secured area, but there is bicycle parking close by. Here’s a complete guide to biking to the inauguration.

Walking – Some areas will be closed to pedestrians, especially along the inaugural parade route. The inauguration ceremony (including the non-ticketed, public viewing area) has specific access points for security. See our guide to walking downtown on inauguration weekend here.

What to Bring

Essentially, you should bring yourself, an ID and as few other items as possible. There’s an extensive list of prohibited items, including backpacks, strollers (in certain areas) and more. See the list of prohibited items at inauguration and related events here.

Weather and Staying Warm

Right now, forecasts indicate that Monday’s weather will be downright cold with a possibility of snow flurries. Temperatures will struggle to reach 35 degrees during the day, and be in the 20s both Sunday and Monday nights.

Be sure to dress in layers. The layer closest to your body should be synthetic (because cotton can trap moisture), according to the cold weather experts at Hudson Trail Outfitters, which has a location here in D.C.

See more tips on how to stay warm during the 2013 presidential inauguration here.


Definitely have a good solid breakfast before you head downtown, and you might want to bring a few granola bars or other small snacks with you. Although some places will be open early and open for lunch, they will be very crowded. You’ll want to double-check our list of prohibited items—things like picnic baskets and thermoses are not allowed in certain areas downtown.

If you're looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner near the inauguration ceremony or inaugural parade area, check out Patch's presidential inauguration dining guide here.

Do you have advice or tips for out-of-towners or locals heading to DC for inauguration? Share your tips and advice in the comments below!

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