Day before inauguration: Getting around DC as events begin

WASHINGTON — Ceremonies around the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president started in earnest on Thursday, and road closures and security measures are already in place.

The swearing-in ceremony begins Friday at 11:30 a.m., but roads have closed in advance of Thursday’s concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which begins at 4 p.m.

What roads are open? What roads are closed?

The Memorial Bridge is closed. In addition to vehicles, pedestrians cannot get across the span. The Key, Chain and Anacostia bridges are open.

Constitution Avenue and Independence Avenue are closed between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.

Independence Avenue and a portion of the Rock Creek Parkway between the Tidal Basin and the Kennedy Center are closed. Inbound traffic on Interstate 66 from Virginia is diverted onto the Potomac Freeway toward the Whitehurst Freeway.

Also on Thursday morning, driving and parking restrictions are in effect for locations as far away as K Street and Washington Circle, as many as five blocks removed from the web of closures downtown. Only residents or local business traffic will be permitted to flow into this restricted zone. National Guard personnel will assist with verifying traffic entering these areas.

By 2 p.m. on Thursday, Massachusetts Avenue and Columbus Circle are scheduled to be closed in front of Union Station for an inaugural event. H Street NE and First Street NE near the bus depot and parking garages are scheduled to remain open but periodic stoppages of traffic are expected until 11 p.m.

Roads closed

  • Constitution Avenue (23rd Street to 15th Street)
  • 23rd Street NW (Virginia Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW)
  • Henry Bacon Drive NW
  • Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • 22nd Street NW (C Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • 21st Street NW (Virginia Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • 20th Street NW (C Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • 19th Street NW (Virginia Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • 18th Street NW (Virginia Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • Virginia Ave NW (18th Street NW to Constitution Avenue NW)
  • 17th Street NW (New York Ave NW to Independence Avenue SW)
  • Independence Avenue SW (23rd Street NW to 17th Street NW)
  • Daniel French Drive SW
  • Ohio Drive SW (Independence Avenue SW to Inlet Bridge)
  • West Basin Drive SW (Ohio Drive SW to Independence Avenue SW)
  • Rock Creek Parkway (Virginia Avenue SW to Ohio Drive SW)
  • Parkway Drive
  • Arlington Memorial Bridge
  • Theodore Roosevelt Bridge (at 10 a.m., a full closure will occur with all traffic being diverted onto the northbound Potomac River Freeway)

In addition, the Lincoln Memorial, D.C. War Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and World War II Memorial are closed until 6 p.m.

More roads will be closed as Friday’s ceremony draws nearer.

You can get the latest information on traffic in WTOP’s Traffic blog and on WTOP’s traffic page.


The concert, called the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration, includes performances by 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith, Jon Voight, Sam Moore, Lee Greenwood, The Piano Guys, DJ Ravidrums and The Frontmen of Country (Tim Rushlow, formerly of Little Texas; Larry Stewart, of Restless Heart, and Richie McDonald, of Lonestar), military bands and a fireworks show. Trump will appear at the event.

The concert starts at 4 p.m.

Admission is free, but if you have a ticket you can get in from Henry Bacon Drive (off Constitution Avenue Northwest, west of 22nd Street). If you don’t, you can enter at at the North Elm Walk and South Elm Walk, near the east end of the Reflecting Pool at the World War II Memorial.

Ticket or no, you’ll need to go through a security check before you get in, so you’ll have to budget time for that.

The following are prohibited at the concert:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18 inches by 13 inches by 7 inches)
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Coolers
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace/pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Selfie sticks
  • Signs exceeding the size restrictions (20 feet x 3 feet x 1/4 inch)
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy guns
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards


Other events

Events for the day started with a Voices of the People concert at 10:30 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial. The bill for this concert came from applications received by the Presidential Inaugurations Committee, and includes the D.C. Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, King’s Academy Honor Choir, the Republican Hindu Coalition, Montgomery Area High School Marching Band, Marlana Van Hoose, Maury NJROTC Color Guard, Pride of Madawaska, Webelos Troop 177, Northern Middle School Honors Choir, American Tap Company, South Park and District Pipe Band, Everett High School Viking Marching Band, TwirlTasTix Baton Twirling, and Celtic United Pipes and Drums.

At 3 p.m., there will be a “Thanks Obama” gathering at the White House. Thousands are expected to gather as the Obama spends his last full day at the White House.

Trump officially begins the inauguration ceremonies at 3:30 p.m., as he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will lay a wreath to honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Trump, Pence and their families will have a private, candlelight dinner with donors at Union Station at 7 p.m.

And the unofficial balls start Thursday night. They include the Indiana State Ball at the Grand Hyatt Washington, the Peace Ball at Busboys and Poets and the Deploraball parties.

Friday’s events

The swearing-in ceremonies begin Friday at 11:30 a.m., and more road closures will take effect then.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine, Mike Murillo and Jack Pointer contributed to this report.

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