Travel Tips and Tricks for the Obama Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC

Locations in this article:  Baltimore, MD

Obama Biden InaugurationSo you scored one of the 240,000 tickets to the Inauguration, and even managed to find yourself a hotel room in Washington DC?


You’re all set to party, party, party in honor of the new President and a new era in the White House.

Now that’s all well and good, but it’s time to start thinking logistics.

It will be cold and crowded in DC next weekend, and you’ll need to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. You’ll probably also want to do some celebratory fine dining while you’re there.

So here are some logistical tips from our friends at TravelMuse to make sure your visit goes smoothly, as well as some Obama-inspired food and drink suggestions.

Obama crowdsCrowds and Security – If you’re attending the swearing-in ceremony or the parade, get there EARLY. Hundreds of thousands of people will be flooding the Capitol and Pennsylvania Avenue and competing with you for a good view. Also, bear in mind that security will be super-tight and certain items are prohibited. That includes the obvious, like firearms, ammunition and explosives, but also coolers and backpacks. Once your banned item is confiscated, you’re not getting it back.

U.S. Secret Service, 56th Inauguration Page

Weather – It shouldn’t be a big surprise that it will most likely be bone-chilling cold in DC. next week. Layer your clothes, wear insulated boots, and even bring thermal packs for your pockets. You’ll be standing outside for hours, and the frigid air has a way of permeating through even the thickest layers if you don’t dress warmly enough. And don’t forget your umbrella or poncho in case it rains!

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Washington DC Metro trainTransportation – It would probably be insane to consider driving in downtown D.C. on Inauguration Day. Many roads and bridges will be closed, and you’d never find a parking space anyway.

However, public transit companies will be laying on extra services to accommodate the crowds, so you should be able to get around without a car. Still, it’s expected that more than 1 million riders will be swarming into the Metro, and several entrances will be designated as exit-only or entry-only. The Metro will run on a rush-hour schedule all day and stay open an extra two hours. Amtrak is adding extra services into D.C. on January 20, as are the Virginia Railway Express and the MARC commuter train.

Washington DC, Metro:
Virginia Railway Express:

Food and Drink – Dozens of bars and restaurants from Bethesda to Baltimore will be offering menu items and drinks themed after the new President, the First Lady, and the Vice President:

  • Sushi joint Asia Nine has created an array of special sushi rolls, including the Obama Roll, the Biden Roll, and the Bush-inspired Lame Duck Roll (which will be discontinued shortly after the inauguration). The restaurant is only a couple of blocks from the White House.
  • If you want to chill out from the crowds, head to Round Robin at the Willard Intercontinental, where you may be rubbing shoulders with the DC elite. Celebrate with an Obama Shake, made of fruit, cream and vodka—tall and cool, just like its namesake.
  • The Embassy Suites Baltimore will feature some creative drinks specials daily in their newly renovated Lobby Bar, including The First Lady (Malibu Pineapple, Blue Curaçao and club soda), the Pennsylvania Avenue (Di Saronno, Hiram Walker peach schnapps, Bombay gin and sour mix) the Biden Time-Tini (Bombay gin, M&R dry vermouth and a green olive), The Oval Office (Wild Turkey, Southern Comfort and Blue Curaçao), and The White House (Kahlua and cream).

By Karen Elowitt for, with help from our friends at

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