Your Complete Guide to Inauguration — and Anti-Inauguration — Events

Photo by Angela Ostafichuk /

If your plans for the new year include celebrating the inauguration of America’s 45th president, Donald J. Trump, or even possibly attending a protest event, here’s a guide on how to “do” the inauguration the right way. Use it get the most out of the festivities taking place as we swear in our new president.

Note: If you plan on attending any of the inaugural events, remember to plan for heavy traffic, delays and limited parking.

Wreath-laying ceremony

Michal Bednarek /
Michal Bednarek /

The 2017 inaugural celebration begins Thursday, Jan. 19, with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will lay wreaths to pay homage to American troops.

‘Make America Great Again!’ welcome celebration

S. Borisov /
S. Borisov /

The “Make America Great Again!” welcome celebration and concert follows the wreath-laying ceremony Thursday and takes place at the Lincoln Memorial. Comments by Trump and Pence are scheduled to follow the concert. You don’t need a ticket for general public viewing areas, but there typically are a limited number of tickets for members of the general public who want a better seat.

Swearing-in ceremony

JRAPhotographics /
JRAPhotographics /

You don’t have to get tickets to view Trump and Pence taking the oath of office and being sworn in at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Jan. 20, but you can get a better spot if you have one.

Tickets are usually assigned within a month of Inauguration Day. They’re limited, especially at this late date, but you can contact your senator or representative and see if you get lucky. There is typically no charge for tickets to the swearing-in ceremony.

Inaugural Parade

Jennifer Vinciguerra /
Jennifer Vinciguerra /

The Inaugural Parade is usually about two hours, beginning at 2:30 p.m., just after the swearing-in ceremony. Public entrances to the parade route will open as early as 6:30 a.m.

You don’t need tickets for the Inaugural Parade, during which the new president and vice president and their families make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue followed by parade participants. However, if you have tickets, you’ll have a much better seat.

To get tickets, check with the Presidential Inaugural Committee, or ask to be contacted regarding tickets at the Presidential Inauguration website.

Inaugural Balls

Shebeko /
Shebeko /

There are several Inaugural Balls you can attend Friday evening after the inauguration, but the official ball hosted by the Presidential Inauguration Committee had not posted prices or a means by which to buy the tickets as of this writing.

In the past, certain groups of people, such as veterans, have been given free tickets. You will need to fill out an information form in order to get the latest details and updates concerning the availability of tickets to an official Inauguration Ball.

Unofficial inauguration galas

Yulia Mayorova /
Yulia Mayorova /

If you aren’t able to make it to one of the official Inauguration Balls, there are usually hundreds of unofficial galas that you might want to check out.

One you might consider is the Native Nations Inaugural Ball, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street SW and Independence Avenue SW. The Friday evening ball is intended to kick off an effort to build the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the museum grounds. Tickets are $750 and are being sold on the Smithsonian website. On the weekend after the inauguration, the museum offers a free event, “Out of Many: A Multicultural Celebration of Music and Dance.”

Other unofficial inaugural balls you might want to consider:

  • All American Inaugural Ball: Set for Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW. Tickets range from $150 to $350 and were available at the All American Inaugural Ball website. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin will receive the All American Hero Lifetime Achievement Award. Guests at the ball co-presented by the Republican Party of Virginia also can expect a Heroes Tribute and live musical and comedy entertainment.
  • Deplorables Inaugural Ball: This Jan. 19 event is sponsored by Deplorables Nation, a nonprofit formed by a Miami man to support Trump’s agenda. It will be at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. General admission tickets are $500, VIP tickets are $1,000, and a VIP Table for 10 is $10,000. Tickets were available at the Deplorables Inaugural Ball website.
  • Vettys Inaugural Ball: This nonpartisan event will be Friday evening at the Hay-Adams Hotel, 800 16th St. NW. The ball presented by the Coalition to Salute American Heroes, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Disabled American Veterans with Paralyzed Veterans of America is designed to bring together service members and influential leaders. Tickets range from $350 to $1,250 and were available at the Vettys Inaugural Ball website.
  • Salute to Heroes Veterans Inaugural Ball: Set for Saturday night at the Renaissance Washington, 999 Ninth St. NW, the ball is sponsored by the American Legion and Veterans Inaugural Committee. It serves as a tribute to America’s Medal of Honor recipients as well as a welcome to the new president. Entertainment includes “The Price Is Right” host Drew Carey and Rascal Flatts lead vocalist Gary LeVox. Tickets were $300 on the American Legion website.

Inauguration protest events / /

There are also some events scheduled around the inauguration to protest the election of Donald Trump as president or his policies. These events are hosted with the intention of peaceful protest and a coming together of like minds.

They include:

  • The Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance: This event Thursday evening at the National Museum of African American History, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW, is designed “to celebrate the last four years” and sponsored by Busboys and Poets, an online community of “artists, activists, writers, thinkers and dreamers.” Food, an open bar and live music are planned. All museum exhibits will remain open during the ball. Tickets starting at $200 were available at the Bus Boys and Poets website.
  • The Unity Ball: A dance party for “humans who believe in progress, equality, inclusion and community” to benefit progressive causes will be Saturday at the District Architecture Center, 421 Seventh Street NW, with an open bar and live entertainment. Tickets from $5 to $65 were available at the Scorpio Entertainment website.
  • The Anti-Inauguration: This Friday evening show with speakers including author Naomi Klein will be held (and live-streamed from) the historic Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are free, but the event is listed as sold out on a D.C. events website.
  • The Women’s March on Washington: Organized as a counter-demonstration for the day after Trump’s inauguration, the march is a grassroots effort of dozens of independent coordinators at the state level. Marchers will gather Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the Capitol. Register and learn more here.
  • Local events: If you live in a city of any size, there’s likely an anti-inaugural gathering happening somewhere. Do an online search.

How are you planning to celebrate the inauguration, or anti-inauguration? Sound off below or on our Facebook page!

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