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Tips for Presidential Inauguration Day & Women's March on Washington DC

Tips for Attending Inauguration Day, Women’s March & Other D.C. Events

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Considering a visit to Washington, D.C. for the major January events like the Presidential Inauguration Day or the Women’s March on Washington? I’ve taken my kids into D.C. for these types of events since they were very young with no problem. Believe it or not, it’s not too late to grab a hotel room and see the events in person. Consider these tips to make your trip a little smoother and a lot more fun.

Where to Stay for the Inaugural Weekend Events

You could stay close to the action in D.C. at Capital Hilton or Washington Hilton, but with the use of the Metro system, plenty of rooms are also available just outside the city limits as well. Look at Hilton ArlingtonHilton Alexandria Old Town, as well as Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, which are all conveniently located next to Metro stations so the Inaugural events and the March are easily accessible. Other hotels can be found in many of the towns connected to Washington, D.C. via Metro, including Falls Church, VA, Alexandria, VA, Silver Spring, MD or Laurel, MD, and many of the hotels in these towns offer free shuttles to the nearby Metro stops.

Transportation to and Within Washington, D.C.

Expect road closures on the day of these events. You’ll need to rely on public transportation to get in and out of D.C., but note that some popular Metro stations will be closed. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is the best source of information for getting in and out of the city. They’ve set up a special page for Inauguration Day Metro transportation information. There’s no specific information yet on the Women’s March planned for January 21, but check the website closer to the day of the event for any potential station closings.

Be aware that WMATA will close Metro stations if they are too crowded or are expected to be crowded. A crowded Metro station isn’t a particularly pleasant place to be, so check out the Metro map and consider walking away from the crowds to a less used Metro stop. The farther you walk from the National Mall, the better. Arlington Cemetery, Foggy Bottom or Farragut West are all good alternatives.

Please note that WMATA also operates a city bus line throughout the metro area. While the bus routes are altered for major events, you can find the alternate routes on the WMATA web site, and you’ll also find that bus drivers are very helpful if you ask them a quick question while boarding. Personally, I really recommend the city buses for getting into town. The crowds are smaller, and you can also enjoy the views of the city when you’re above ground.

What to Bring to the Inaugural Weekend Events

Security is tight and your ability to get food, water or shelter will be limited. Plan ahead and bring food and water with you. One year, the snack bar in front of the Lincoln Memorial that is run by the National Park Service was open during an inauguration. We were able to stop and get a very welcome hot chocolate, but I wouldn’t rely on having any ability to purchase food, as security concerns could change availability. A thermos of hot chocolate will be very welcome after a couple of hours in the cold.

Also, you’ll be walking a lot and the weather will be cool, so dress appropriately. Familiarize yourself with the National Mall area; keep in mind it is over two miles from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial. Visitors are often surprised at just how much walking is involved when visiting the area.

Visiting Washington, D.C. during an Inauguration or a major event such as the Women’s March is an amazing experience. These tips should help you navigate the city and enjoy the experience even more.

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Andrea is a single mom in Arlington, Virginia with a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Her children took their first trips when they were just four…

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