After Obama’s victory speech on November 4th, I was already getting emails from friends who wanted to know if they could crash at my apt on January 20th! Six people will be sleeping in my 500 sq feet studio! Sorry slackers, I don’t have any more room!

General information for the Inauguration on January 20, 2009 at Washington, DC:

Inauguration: The inauguration Swearing in Ceremony, which you need tickets for (ask your congressman!) is going to be held on the steps of the Capitol Building, which is at the end of the National Mall (Federal Center/ Capitol South). I hear tickets are going for over $25k. The Inauguration Parade (free) is going to be going down the Pennsylvania Ave (Smithsonian, L’Enfant/ pretty much any stop around that area). Viewing stands and bleachers will extend from 3rd to 17th Sts. Most of the people are going to be there watching it on a jumbo tron for free.

metromap1(click here for Metro website)

Transport: DC’s a super walkable city! I think it was actually voted as the most walkable city! The Metro is the metrorail system here. It looks just like the Bay Area’s BART except it’s cleaner and no one pees in the corners. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car, just b/c inauguration week is going to be crazy!! Plus, DC has these weird loop-de-loop things in the middle of their streets that make driving in the district really confusing. You can get to most places in DC via metro, bus, taxi. You can’t get to Georgetown by metro (designed that way to make it less accessible for the “lesser” masses), but it’s about a 15 minutes walk from Foggy Bottom. It’s not a bad walk at all, but you do have the option of taking the bus.

Hotel: If you’re going to go with a hotel, take a look around. Hotel rates are going to be astronomical during this time. If you can’t find something for cheap in DC, also do a search for hotels in Pentagon City or Crystal City in Arlington, VA. There’s lots of hotels in Pentagon City and Crystal City, both close to The District. It’s really close to DC. It only takes 6 minutes to get from Pentagon City to L’Enfant. I heard that hotels get booked up really quickly during that time, so I’d suggest doing that asap. Also, you probably want to check if the hotel is metro accessible.

Airport: The best airport to fly into is Ronald Regan National (DCA). It’s a smaller airport, but the metro goes right into it. As a local, I always try to fly into DCA. Dulles International Airport (IAD) is bigger and more flights come into it (hence cheaper/no layover), but IAD’s far. (designed that way in case of nuclear war/missles, crazy, right? ) I think it’s like  $60+(?) cab ride. Otherwise, you can take a shuttle to get to the Metro to get into DC. The third option is to fly into Baltimore Washington International (BWI). One landed at BWI, you can take a 20 minute shuttle to the closest metro stop.

Geography: DC’s not very big at all. The metro reaches Maryland and Virginia. It’s broken up into quadrants: NW, NE, SE, SW. check this map out. Since most tourist attractions are in NW and NE, most visitors rarely venture into SE or SW.

Additional Reading:
Washington-Area Hotels Book Up for Inauguration- NPR

District of Columbia’s Official Inauguration Website

A Guide to Presidential Inauguration Events in Washington DC- About.com

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