2013 Presidential Inauguration Schedule

A Guide to Inauguration Day Events in Washington, DC

By Rachel Cooper, About.com Guide

The Presidential Inauguration will be held in Washington DC on Monday, January 21, 2013. A week of festivities will include the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Address, Inaugural Parade and numerous inaugural balls and galas honoring the elected President of the United States. The official theme for the 2013 inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future,” commemorating the United States’ perseverance and unity, marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the placement of the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome in 1863. 


An estimated 1.8 million people attended the 2009 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, a record breaking number for any event in the nation’s capital. Read about the 2009 Inauguration and see photos of the event.

Overview of the 2013 Inauguration Schedule

  • Saturday, January 19 – National Day of Service. Americans across the country will participate in service projects in their communities to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Service Summit will be held on the National Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. See details about the programming. Special events and commemorative activities will also be held around the region. See a guide to Martin Luther King Day Events.Kids’ Inaugural Concert – 6 p.m. Washington Convention Center. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host the concert as part of their ongoing commitment to military families. The event is by invitation only.
  • Sunday, January 20 – The President will participate in a small private swearing-in ceremony. 
  • Monday, January 21 – Inauguration Day. Swearing-in Ceremony, Inaugural Parade, and official Inaugural Balls. (See details below) 
  • Tuesday, January 22 – Inaugural National Prayer Service, 10:30 a.m. Washington National Cathedral. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths will attend the service which will include prayer, readings and musical performances. The event is by invitation only and will be webcast live at www.nationalcathedral.org.










Getting to the Events: The 2013 inaugural events are expected to draw large crowds to Washington, DC. Getting around the region throughout the four-day weekend will be challenging. See Inauguration 2013 Transportation Guide for details.

Inauguration Swearing-in Ceremony

January 21, 2013, 11:30 a.m. – The oath of office will be administered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Following the oath of office, the President will give his inaugural address, setting out his vision for America and goals for the nation. See details about the program. 

TICKETS: Each Senator and Representative receives a limited quantity of free tickets that they may distribute to the public at their discretion. The public should be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. 

Tickets are not required to watch the swearing-in ceremony on large screens that will be set up along the National Mall. For general information about the area, see A Visitors Guide to the National Mall.

Presidential Inauguration Parade

January 21, 2013, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are not required.

Location: Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC. Viewing stands and bleachers will extend from 3rd to 17th Sts.

The presidential inaugural parade 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, 2013, 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.

Inauguration Balls

Many inaugural balls and galas will take place at venues throughout Washington, DC in January 2013. The official balls are planned by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and unofficial balls and parties are planned by the State Societies of Washington, DC and a variety of other organizations. See a guide to Inaugural Balls and Galas.

Inauguration Travel Information and Tips

  • The best way to get to the inaugural events from around the region will be by Metro. However, it will be very crowded and there are likely to be long lines and delays. Arrive early and be patient. You should purchase your Metro fare in advance to save time.Read A Guide to Using Washington Metrorail for more details.
  • All parade and event attendees will be subject to a thorough security screening. Allow for additional time and be aware of prohibited items. Read more about Inauguration Security
  • Dress for the weather! January in Washington, DC can be very cold. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 30s. Be sure to wear layers, a hat, scarf and gloves. DC weather is variable so be prepared for a cold and damp day. Umbrellas will not be allowed due to security concerns.
  • Following the inaugural parade, plan to stay in the city and visit a museum or go to amovie. Let the crowd thin out before taking public transportation out of town. For more information about getting to the events, See Inauguration 2013 Transportation Guide.


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