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Hail to the Chief

Planning to bring a group to Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2017, to witness the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States? We spoke with Morgan Maravich, of the National Tour Association, for tips on helping you witness history in the making while managing the crowds, accommodations and traffic.

Take in the Action

If you're hoping to witness the swearing-in-ceremony:

  1. The official proceedings commence around noon on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Tickets—which are free, but in high demand—are required to attend the swearing-in-ceremony. You can apply for tickets through your local representative or senator's office.

  2. Giant video screens and audio systems will stream the proceedings to spectators on the National Mall.

  3. If you can't get tickets, don't worry! You can still catch a glimpse of the new commander in chief. Position your group along Pennsylvania Avenue to watch the presidential procession and inaugural parade as it makes its way from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. Viewing from the sidewalk is free and unreserved.

Accommodating Groups

If you're traveling with a group of 10 or more:

  1. Accommodations are at a premium in Washington, D.C., over Inauguration Day. Room rates rise, and many hotels require several nights' minimum stay.

  2. If you need assistance locating rooms, restaurants, transportation or other needs, contact Destination DC for support at, or contact Lindsay Hill, tourism sales manager, directly at [email protected].

  3. With limited parking and road closures to accommodate the crowds and parade, driving isn't recommended. Consider walking, biking or using the Metro instead. Destination DC offers a guide to help you navigate the Washington, DC Metro.

Arriving by Motorcoach?

Sometimes you can't avoid driving. If you're arriving by motorcoach:

  1. Apply for a bus permit through the Department of Motor Vehicles, if not the International Registration Plan.

  2. Stay updated on routing information and road closures at For additional routing, road closures or parking information, call 855.67.BUSES (28737).

  3. Register for traffic alerts on and National Capital Region updates on

  4. Reserve bus parking for Inauguration Day. You can check with the District Department of Transportation.

 Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

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