2013 Presidential Inauguration Survival Guide

Getting in, getting out, getting fed and get

While the crowds may not be as intense as in 2009, when an estimated 1.8 million people came to DC 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.


Check out Patch’s inauguration travel guide.

  • Metro – Some Metro stations will be closed, and some bus routes will be detoured. See our guide to taking Metro this weekend. Then, read What’s Up with the Metro: Inauguration Edition and watch this video from Metro to be fully informed and prepared.
  • 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. Information on Monday's ART bus schedule is here.
  • 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.
  • Other services – More information about Metro, driving, biking, walking, buses and more are available in Patch’s inauguration travel guide.

What to Bring

Essentially, you should bring 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 the inauguration and related events here.

Weather and Staying Warm

Forecasts indicate that Monday’s weather will be downright cold with a possibility of snow. Temperatures will struggle to reach beyond the mid-30s 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 in Arlington.

More tips on how to stay warm during the inauguration are 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 crowded. 

Here's a quick guide to dining in downtown Washington.

The Rest of the Weekend

Do you have guests in town this weekend? They’ll want to do more than sit on your couch waiting for Monday’s events.

We’ve put together a short list of suggestions for what to do with your guests here in Arlington. You can find it here.

Do you have other suggestions and tips for out-of-towners, or people heading to Washington for the inauguration? Share your tips and advice in the comments below!


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