Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT How Will You Watch The Inauguration?
How Will You Watch The Inauguration? PDF Print E-mail

You know all the festivities will be at noon on January 20 in cold, clammy, probably snowy Washington. So, maybe the best way to watch all the proceedings, from the swearing in of President Obama, the big parade and all the social events, is on your TV set. You can have your senior moments from the warm comfort of your living room. Or maybe with drink in hand watching on the huge screen at the neighborhood bar.

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If you insist on being in Washington to witness this historic event in person, and want to find an economic place to stay overnight, chances are from slim to none. Reports are that there will be from one to two million visitors in the city on January 19, 20 and 21. If you do succeed in booking a hotel, motel or bed'n'breakfast, expect to pay from $400 on up ... way, way up ... for a basic room. Some of the greediest of the money-grabbiest hotels, motels and bed’n’breakfasts require a three- or four-night minimum stay. The key word is GOTCHA!

If you want to try your luck for more modest lodgings, check online with Craig's List or other internet source for private citizens who'll be happy to bunk you in a room in their house for $300 a night or more. News sources say some private citizens in DC and surrounding towns are asking $1,000 or more per night.

However, lucky you, if you have a relative or friend who lives in the DC area, maybe you can crash on a sofa, porch or floor for free. If you want to explore all kinds of sleeping room possibilities, including faraway places in Virginia and Maryland, and are willing to shell out big bucks to private homes, go to obamadcbound.com, and be prepared to be shocked out of your bank account.

Additionally, restaurants will be jammed full, and their already upped prices will go sky-high. And speaking of the sky, air reservations are probably long gone by now, so check with bus lines or plan to go by car. If it will be a road trip, jam as many people as possible into the car, SUV or van, because few free parking spaces will be available, and greedy car lots and garages are also playing the GOTCHA game.

All that said, where can you watch the inauguration live and in person? If you want to be part of the close-up VIP crowd in the seats, unless you're a real VIP, forget about it. If you want tickets for standing in front during the ceremony, you need to get them from Senators, Congressmen, the inaugural committee or some other bigwig with political influence. Rumors are that scalpers already have tickets to VIP seating and other major events, and are getting many bucks for each. Some are counterfeit, so buyer beware.

There'll be 240,000 free tickets distributed for the large areas in front of the swearing-in ceremony. No more than five per family will be allowed, and tickets need to be picked up in person during the week of January 12. For info, go to: inaugural.senate.gov. Also, you may want to seek info about President-elect Obama’s announcement that free tickets will be available to many groups.

If you're really bundled up and patient, you can get in the viewing lines along Pennsylvania Avenue to watch the parade, which starts right after the inauguration. The inaugural committee will sell tickets for seats in bleachers at spots along the parade route, which may still be available online. If you’re a senior with physical limitations, the advice is to try to find seats rather than stand in the winter weather.

The best free spots could be the steps or high grounds of buildings along the route, where you're not as close to the parade, but more comfy. If you're traveling to DC by car, buy or bring along or buy sandwiches and hot drinks for the hours you'll be watching the parade. It may be silly to come to DC to watch the parade on TV, but there will be huge stadium-sized screens set up at various locations, such as the Mall, to see the procedings.

Of course, you want to be in Washington in person so you can tell your children and grandchildren you witnessed this historic event. Just make sure you’re not telling them while you’re sacked out in a hospital bed suffering from pneumonia, frostbite and utter exhaustion.


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