Barack and Michelle Obama at the 2009 inauguration.
Every four years, Washington welcomes thousands to celebrate the official inaugural ceremonies. This year, you can commemorate the occasion with a party, toast, or view of the parade.
The most popular events include the various inaugural balls that occur throughout the weekend and on the evening of the public swearing-in ceremony. Public tickets are no longer available for the two official galas, but you can still buy tickets to other local parties.
The Green Inaugural Ball on January 20 (7 p.m. VIP; 8 p.m. General Admission) at the Newseum commemorates the accomplishments of top leaders over the past four years in the energy, green technology, and environmental industries. VIP tickets include entry to the black-tie event on the “green carpet,” an exclusive cocktail reception on the seventh floor with open bar and hors d’oeuvres, and much more. General admission ($400) and VIP tickets ($1,950) are available at nwf.org.
Another hot-ticket happening that same evening is the second Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball (9 p.m.-2 a.m.), a black-tie charity fest introduced by event chairs Russell Simmons and Zac McDaniels that celebrates the role the hip-hop community has played in the past two presidential elections. Benefiting PHILANTHROPIK, a non-profit organization committed to creating and supporting diversity programs in civil, social, and economic enterprises, the ball will be hosted by emcees La La Anthony and Terrence J, with anticipated guests including Simmons, John Legend, Rosario Dawson, and 2 Chainz. Buy tickets on eventfarm.com, ranging from $500 to $1,000 for individual tickets.
If you'd rather skip the black-ties, make your reservations now and dine out all weekend long. We like the Dine like a President promotion from Georgetown Business Improvement. Relive past milestone meals by presidents at culinary hotspots like Martin’s Tavern—where JFK proposed to Jackie O—and Bourbon Steak—where President Barack and Michelle Obama celebrated their 20th anniversary. Or find out why Filomena is Bill Clinton’s favorite pasta in DC. Download the whole guide on georgetowndc.com.
Of course, ticket holders can witness history in the making as President Barack Obama is sworn in for the second time on the steps of the Capitol during the public ceremony on January 21. Non-ticket-holders can observe the event on the National Mall beginning at Fourth Street. Following the ceremonies, you can stand along Pennsylvania Avenue to watch the historic Inaugural Parade. Find visitor information and tips at inaugural.senate.gov. We’ve got three for you: Arrive early (gates to the ceremonies open at 7 a.m., the musical prelude starts at 10 a.m.), dress warmly, and leave your car at home!