Any advice for attending the Inauguration on the National Mall?

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Topic: Any advice for attending the Inauguration on the National Mall?

Events January 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Any advice for attending the Inauguration on the National Mall?

My parents are coming into town and I am looking for some pointers on the best place to view everything on the Mall. I already know not to drive anywhere.

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They will be watching a JumboTron; the only question is how close to the actual action their particular JumboTron will be.

Last time the areas closest to the Capitol filled up first.  The Mall continued to fill up, going toward — and past — the Washington Monument.

Not sure how competitive viewing spots will be this time around in comparison to last time, but last time people who wanted spots anywhere near the Capitol had to arrive really, really early.
I’m glad I went to the inauguration last time — if I hadn’t, I would’ve always wondered what it was like — but it was very crowded, and getting out of the Mall afterward was a nightmare because of the tall chain-link fences and limited points of exit.  (At one point the crowd I was in was on the verge of bum-rushing a fence and knocking it down.)  So I wouldn’t do it again.

Another option would be forgoing the inauguration itself, and instead trying to snag a good spot to watch the parade afterward.

Yes about the fences, if I could go back in time I would have not gone father east than the monument. We walked over that way and then aftwewards there was a fence along 14th st so we could not exit that way. The only exit was somewhere on the south side (the north being compleately closed for the parade) and was approximatly a 3 foot wide space between two jersey barriers. I tried to walk over a barrier to relieve some crowd pressure and a member of the national guard made me go back and wait to exit ten feet over in the 3 ft opening. None of the officers working knew where the people were supposed to exit so try to find out this information beforehand – do not assume that anyone there will be able to help you with anything.
We ended up having to walk south and then around the outside of the tidal basin to go up 17th to get back to the bike valet on the other side of Penn Ave.
So dress warm and be prepared to be outside for a long time.

Don’t underestimate the cold – you’ll be just standing there for hours, so bundle up.  Last time I saw people standing on pieces of cardboard -apparently it’s an insulator between the cold ground and your feet.  Worth a try.  Also, the less stuff you have with you, the quicker it’ll be to get through security and the less risk of getting pickpocketed.  I’d just take my ID and some cash in my pocket and my camera.  ATMs tend to run out of money when there’s a huge crowd.  Give yourself plenty of time to Metro since there’ll likely be a ton of people who dont’ know where they’re going and to get through the gates.  And for the love of all that is holy, throw your trash away.  Last time it looked like Mardi Gras went down on the Mall. 

I highly, HIGHLY reccomend that they take the train anywhere south of the mall.  I’ve found L’Enfant to be the best, otherwise they get stuck in the crush of people trying to get through the three access points on the north side of the mall through the parade route.  Not fun.  If they can make it back to the Washington Monument, there were not any security barriers set up west of 14th St last time.


I actually had a friend last time who drove down and parked on 23rd St and watched from that end of the mall on the jumbotron. She had not planned to to attend at all and was only going to drive her friend as close as she could get him. Turns out, there were ZERO cars on the road, and she parked by the state department and watched from that end of the mall where there were quite a few people.

Bring dozens of heat warmers for hands, feet, abdomens, shoulders–any kind of heat warmer you can get bring at least 12 of each per person.

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