Presidential Inauguration 2017: Events in Washington, DC

A Complete Guide to Participating in the 2017 Inauguration

Inaugural Swearing-in
••• Photo © Getty Images

The Presidential Inauguration was held on Friday, January 20, 2017.  A week of festivities included Pre-Inaugural Concerts, the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and Inaugural Balls and Galas honoring the new President of the United States. Every four years, the public can participate in many of the inaugural events. See Photos of all of the Inaugural Events

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    Inauguration Concerts at the Lincoln Memorial

    ••• Lincoln Memorial. Photo © Image Source/Getty Images

    January 19, 2017,  4-6 p.m.

    Pre-inaugural events kicked off with a wreath-laying ceremony at  (3:30 pm) Arlington National Cemetery followed by two concerts entitled "Voices of the People" and "Make America Great Again" at the Lincoln Memorial.

    Voices of the People featured the DC Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, King’s Academy Honor Choir, the Republican Hindu Coalition, Montgomery Area High School Marching Band, Marlana Van Hoose, Maury NJROTC Color Guard, Pride of Madawaska, Webelos Troop 177, Northern Middle School Honors Choir, American Tap Company, South Park and District Pipe Band, Everett High School Viking Marching Band, TwirlTasTix Baton Twirling, and Celtic United Pipes and Drums.

    Make America Great Again included remarks by Donald J. Trump and performances by Toby Keith, Jon Voight, The Piano Guys, Lee Greenwood, RaviDrums, 3 Doors Down, and The Frontmen of Country. The concert will also feature military bands and conclude with a fireworks...MORE display.

    Tickets and Public Participation: Tickets were not required for attendance at the concerts by the general public. Parking is very limited in this area of Washington, DC.  The following Metro stations are walkable: Farragut North, Metro Center, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza and Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter. For complete details about getting to the events, see Inauguration Transportation Guide

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    Inaugural Swearing-in Ceremony and the Inaugural Address

    Inaugural Swearing-in
    ••• Photo © Getty Images

    January 20, 2017 – Around Noon

    The President of the United States was sworn in and officially took the office on Inauguration Day. After a morning worship service, the oath of office is administered on the steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The Vice President takes the oath of office at the same ceremony as the President. Following the swearing-in ceremony, the President will give his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation. Confirmed performers include the Radio City Rockettes, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and singer Jackie Evancho of "America's Got Talent.

    Tickets and Public Participation: Members of Congress are given tickets for seats on the Capitol Grounds and distribute them at their own discretion. The public gathers to watch the ceremony on Jumbotrons (large screens) on the National Mall. No tickets are required to participate in the festivities on the Mall. This is a major event and attracts large crowds. Participants...MORE must arrive early and go through security screening. See a map and directions to the Inaugural Swearing-in Ceremony.

    See photos of the Inauguration preparations and events.

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    Presidential Inauguration Parade

    Inaugural Parade
    ••• Inaugural Parade. Photo © Getty Images

    January 20, 2017 – Following the Swearing-in Ceremony, around 2 p.m.

    The Presidential Inaugural Parade is coordinated by the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC) which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States. Since 1789, the U.S. armed forces have participated in this important American tradition honoring our commander in chief. During the 10-day inaugural period from January 15 to January 24, 2017, armed forces personnel will provide ceremonial support with musical units, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons.  Read more about the Inaugural Parade.

    Public Participation: The majority of the parade route was open to the public. No tickets are required. Viewing spots on the parade route are available on a first come, first serve basis. To participate in the parade, contact the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.

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    Inauguration Balls

    Inaugural Ball
    ••• Obamas Dancing at the Inaugural Ball. ©

    The Presidential Inauguration included just two official balls, plus one to honor the U.S. armed forces and first responders. Read about the 2017 Inaugural Balls.

    Tickets and Public Participation: The official inaugural balls are usually by invitation only. Many unofficial balls are sponsored by local and national organizations and are open to the public. Advance tickets are required for most events and the pricing varies. 

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    Tips for Getting to Washington DC

    ••• Photo © Getty Images

    By Air: Three airports serve Washington DC, National, Dulles and BWI. For advice about flying into to the nation's capital, see Washington DC Airports (Which One is Best?)

    By Train: Amtrak to Washington DC

    By Local Public Transportation: See a guide to Public Transportation in Washington DC. 

    For complete details about getting to the events, see Inauguration Transportation Guide

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    Protests and Rallies


    A number of groups organized protests, rallies and even anti-inaugural balls to empower and unite those opposed to the policies of the incoming President. The largest event planned was the Womens March on Washington scheduled for January 21, 2017. See the schedule of events. 

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    Sightseeing in Washington DC

    ••• Photo © Getty Images

    If you are visiting from out of town it is a good idea to do some advance planning and to learn about the “must” see attractions in the nation’s capital. For some expert advice, see Top 10 Things to Do (and 5 Hidden Gems) in Washington DC.  Museums in Washington DC will offer special exhibits that highlight the election and the history of presidential inaugurations. For details, see a guide to Washington DC Museums - Winter 2017 Exhibits. Be sure to take some time to visit the Washington, DC's memorials. Book a sightseeing tour in advance to learn about the history of the city and its national landmarks. See a guide to the Best Washington DC Sightseeing Tours.  Take some time to get off the National Mall, get away from the crowds and explore some of Washington, DC's neighborhoods.                                                       

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For a wide range of up-to-date information, visit the Washington, DC Home Page, where you'll find current features and an in depth guide to everything you want to know about the DC/Capital region.