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Inauguration 2009 Planning

Christina Talcott

If you live in the DC area, you may already be planning to host friends and family who're planning to come to town for Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20. While we can't help you tell your brother that your apartment's too small to accommodate him and his wife, kids and mother-in-law, we're happy to point out a few resources for making travel plans for the Big Day, whether you want to be in the Nation's Capital or as far away as possible.

Expedia just launched a special section devoted to the inauguration, with DC-area information and search engines for flights, rental cars, hotels and activities like guided tours and museum passes.

Washington's tourism association has info on its site, too, including links to special hotel packages for Inaugural Weekend, like the Ritz-Carlton's $99,000 "Politically Correct" package.

So far, I've gotten word of one giveaway related to the event: Twitter members following @statravelers can win airfare to DC for two from STA Travel. Not sure what else is included in the prize (the release is vague, saying, "One winner and a friend will be flown to Washington, DC, during the 2009 Inaugural Celebrations to visit the sites and take in the traditional Inaugural Parade from the Capitol Building to the White House") but when I get more info, I'll post it here.

Unless you're into camping out on the Mall or along the parade route the night before, a more reliable way to get tickets for the best views of the official swearing-in (which happens at noon on Jan. 20) and parade (which follows the new POTUS's lunch with Congress) is to contact your Senator or Representative.

As for the glitzy inaugural balls, the Presidential Inaugural Committee hasn't been assembled yet, but some state societies hosting balls are already selling tickets.

Maybe if you score your brother tickets to one of the balls, he'd be willing to book himself a hotel room.

I'm keeping my eye out for more deals and how-tos about Jan. 20th's to-dos, but in the meantime, does anyone out there have more Inauguration 2009 info to share?

By Christina Talcott |  November 6, 2008; 10:02 AM ET  | Category:  Christina Talcott , Deals , In the News , Mid-Atlantic Destinations
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I would remind friends and family that Washington, DC in January is an unpredictable place, weather wise.

Sure, it was 60 a few years ago...but it can also be just around freezing (or below) and cloudy/snowy. It's not just about the day - it's about getting to and from DC via the airports, rail and roads from their destinations, or getting in and out of the city on the day.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | November 6, 2008 1:08 PM

Yes. Wear layers and, unless you are going to a nice indoor party, bear in mind that you will probably be relying on portable toilets, so make sure you dress in a way that's practical for that. (The restrooms at coffee shops and fast food joints will be dirty and have crazy lines.) And definitely take Metro.

Posted by: Janine1 | November 6, 2008 2:38 PM

One of my co-workers has had her Texas State Society's Black Tie & Boots Ball tickets for well over a year (that one is over at the new National Harbour). She, like many of the ticket holders for red state balls, will be selling them - so I'd recommend people check Stub Hub and similar sites. (In fact I just scanned Craigh's list and there's at least one pair available already...)

Posted by: kbockl | November 6, 2008 2:45 PM

Do you need tickets to be a spectator along the parade route? I know you need them for the swearing in ceremony but I have seen websites selling tickets to the parade route also. Can anyone clear this up for me. Thanks

Posted by: OP212 | November 6, 2008 6:11 PM

There haven't been in the past, but you never know this year.

I'd keep up here (this is the same link from the article)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | November 6, 2008 6:53 PM

I read that there will be both ticketed and unticketed areas on the parade route. (Back in 2001, when many people protested the inauguration, I can tell you that you could see the parade perfectly well from unticketed areas.) But I expect that the crowds for the unticketed areas will be unprecedented in size and will start to gather early, probably the day before (which is MLK Day).

And OP212, don't buy anything from a website. There are no tickets for sale -- those sites are scams. You have to get tickets (free) from your Representative or Senator -- which unfortunately means that you won't be able to get them if you live around here. Do what I'm doing: invite relatives from faraway, conservative Republican districts to visit you, and request tickets from their Reps!

Posted by: Janine1 | November 10, 2008 2:08 PM

We all know about the events of January 20, but what I want to know is if there will be a multi-day event on the Mall like the one celebrating Clinton's first inaugural, and if so, will it be before or after the inauguration? Our visitors from out of town would like to make travel arrangements and don't know whether to come a few days early or stay a few days late.

Posted by: akamat | November 10, 2008 5:20 PM

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