4 Things to Know for Inauguration Weekend, Jan. 19-22

Photo of Capitol Building during inauguration.

The Presidential Inauguration weekend is Thursday, Jan. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 22. There will be several events with large crowds and a big influx of visitors to our county and region, which will impact our traffic even if you don’t venture into D.C.

Here are four things you should know to get through the weekend. (And remember, this only happens every four years!)


1. (Some) Government and Schools Closed Friday, Jan. 20

A quick summary of what is open and closed on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20:

2. Be Prepared for Heavy Traffic and Road Closures

If you are planning to attend any inauguration-related events in D.C., keep in mind that there will be several road closures and parking will be very limited. Driving on major roads in Northern Virginia will also be impacted (see below).

On Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 20:


  • Metrorail will open at 4 a.m. and close at midnight, with rush-hour service and peak fares until 9 p.m.
  • Five Metro stations – Archives, Mt Vernon Square, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian and Pentagon –  will be closed due to enhanced security measures.
  • Riders planning to use Metro are encouraged to purchase a SmarTrip card in advance to avoid long lines on Inauguration Day (each rider age 5 or older needs a SmarTrip card to enter and exit the system.)
  • Metro recommends that riders plan their trip to the National Mall without transferring between lines. There is a station near the National Mall on each Metro line.

Virginia Road Restrictions:

  • I-395 HOV northbound lanes will close at 3 a.m. on Jan. 20. HOV lanes on I-395 will re-open southbound upon the conclusion of the Inaugural parade. I-395 main lanes and I-66 will be open to all traffic.
  • Memorial Bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic and authorized vehicle traffic only.

Inauguration Day Walking Map:

walking map of the District for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Getting Into and Around D.C.


3. Be Prepared

If you plan to go into D.C. for one of the weekend events, here are some tips to make the experience more enjoyable:

Weather and Walking: If you plan to attend, wear comfortable shoes. There will be lines and a lot of walking and standing. Take extra precautions with young children, older adults or anyone who may have difficulty being outside or walking for long periods of time. Bring an umbrella if you plan to attend events on Friday.

Cell Phone Service: Charge your cell phone and consider bringing an external battery charger. Cell phone coverage will be spotty due to high demand; use text messages to send critical messages. You should also have pre-arranged meeting places and times with friends and family in case you can’t reach them by phone.

Security Screenings: There will be security screenings at public events – expect lines. The U.S. Secret Service prohibits a number of items at  public events during Inauguration Week.


Read More Tips on Being Prepared


4. Be Informed During the Busy Weekend

D.C. government is the official source for local updates on the Inauguration. Be sure to visit http://inauguration.dc.gov for full details.  There are several other ways for you to be informed about traffic, weather and security updates that may affect us in Fairfax County during Inauguration weekend.


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