Washington, D.C. hotels are filling up in anticipation of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20. If you're one of the thousands planning to be there in person for the parade and swearing-in ceremony, here's the lowdown on transportation and security.

More than three square miles of downtown Washington are scheduled to be closed to traffic from the afternoon of January 19 through the morning of January 21. View a map of street closures. In addition, most bridges into Washington will be restricted to buses and authorized vehicles only. Virginia Interstate 395 northbound and I-66 eastbound (east of I-495) also will be closed. See a full list of closures.

Washington's subway, Metrorail, will operate continuous rush hour service from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. January 20, with regular service continuing until 2 a.m. Travelers will pay peak fares during this time. Two stations, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter and Smithsonian, will be closed on January 20 until about 6:30 p.m. Two other stations, Judiciary Square and Mt. Vernon Sq/7th St. Convention Center, will close on the evening of the 20th and will reopen at 5 a.m. January 21. Metro officials expect long lines and crowded trains throughout the day. Get more information about taking Metrorail and Metrobus to the inauguration.

All ticket holders are required to pass through security screening, including handbag inspection. The following is a partial list of prohibited items:

  • Backpacks/large bags/duffel bags
  • Strollers
  • Coolers/thermoses
  • Suitcases
  • Umbrellas
  • Signs/posters


  • All attendees must have tickets.
  • Gates open at 8 a.m.
  • Food and beverages will not be available within the ceremony area.
  • The typical temperature in Washington on inauguration day is 37 degrees.

Inauguration resources:

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