Inauguration Day 2017 Survival Guide: Street closures, Metro service, parade route and more

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to stream into D.C. for Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Security will be tight and many roads will be closed to cars and pedestrians, so you’ll have to do your homework if you want to avoid headaches heading to the Mall or just getting around D.C. on Jan. 20.

From road closures to the weather forecast, here’s your Inauguration Day 2017 survival guide.


With the forecast calling for rain, the no-umbrella policy for the inaugural events has been revised.

According to Mike Litterst with the  National Park Service:  “‘Totes’ style umbrellas that collapse will be allowed on the parade route as well as the National Mall for the inauguration. Long, non-collapsible umbrellas will not be allowed on the route or the Mall.” The Secret Service said umbrellas can be no longer than 18 inches in length, when collapsed and that they can’t have a pointed tip.

Inside the ticketed areas, a no-umbrella policy remains in effect.

Temperatures will be in the upper 40s under cloudy skies with some rain showers and a light wind, according to Storm Team4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts’ weather outlook for the inauguration. The morning will start dry, but rain chances will increase starting at about 10 a.m.

Since the weather can change throughout the day, planners recommend dressing in several layers of loose-fitting warm clothing and consider wearing weatherproof footwear depending on the forecast.

Follow the latest weather updates for Inauguration Day on WTOP’s Weather page.

Road closures

Driving around the District will prove challenging — and not just on Inauguration Day, itself.

There are a significant number of road closures and parking restrictions cutting off main traffic arteries through D.C. Some of the restrictions begin two days before the inauguration itself and  extend past Inauguration Day.

The map below shows the areas of downtown D.C. impacted be street closures and vehicle restrictions for the inauguration.

For a day-by-day guide to inauguration-related street closures and vehicle restrictions, click here.

For the full list of street closures, click here.

In addition, to the closures associated with the inaugural ceremony and parade, there will be street closures for other events that weekend, including:

  • Surrounding the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19 for a pre-inauguration concert.
  • Surrounding Union Station on Jan. 19.
  • Surrounding the Washington Convention Center for two inaugural balls on Jan. 20.
  • Surrounding the National Cathedral on Jan. 21 for the traditional post-inaugural prayer service.

Virginia closures

High-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstate 395 will be closed to all traffic starting at 3 a.m. on Jan. 20 and will reopen after the inaugural parade. During the closure, drivers traveling northbound on the I-95 express lanes will be directed back onto the regular lanes near Edsall Road.

The entry ramp to the southbound 95 Express Lanes from the regular lanes near Edsall Road will remain closed until HOV lanes reopen that evening. Drivers attempting to access the southbound express lanes can do so via the regular lanes after the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.

The main lanes on I-395 and on Interstate 66 will remain open to traffic.

Northbound express lanes on Interstate 95 will begin closing for mid-day reversal at 10 a.m. on Jan. 20, which is one hour earlier than usual. The lanes are expected to fully reopen to traffic in the southbound direction by about noon.

Drivers should expect heavier than normal traffic heading into D.C. during the morning hours for the inauguration.

Traffic impact in Maryland

There are no anticipated road closures or restrictions in Maryland. However drivers should expect heavy traffic and are encouraged to use mass transit. Maryland authorities may temporarily close ramps from primary interstate roads onto secondary roads to manage congestion.

In addition, get up-to-the-minute traffic updates from WTOP. You can also follow WTOP’s traffic blog for more information on real-time road conditions.

To report traffic issues to the WTOP Traffic Center, you can call #1035 (for Verizon and AT&T customers) or 866-304-9867.

You can also tweet issues at @WTOPTraffic.

What to know about Metro service

Organizers are encouraging inauguration watchers to use Metro and other forms of public transportation to get to the National Mall and Capitol grounds.

Metro is opening at 4 a.m., an hour earlier than normal, and running rush-hour service (with peak fares) until 9 p.m. The system will close at midnight.

Five stations near the National Mall will be closed for security reasons:

  • Archives
  • Mt. Vernon Square
  • Federal Triangle
  • Smithsonian
  • Pentagon

The map below shows the Metro system map and shows the stations that will be closed on Inauguration Day.

Metro released this map showing the stations in downtown D.C. that wil be closed on Inauguration Day. (WMATA)
Metro released this map showing the stations in downtown D.C. that will be closed on Inauguration Day. (WMATA) Click to full size.

There are Metro stations close to the National Mall on each of Metro’s six lines. Use the Metro website to plan out your best route to the inauguration.

Also, be sure to note that several downtown Metro station entrances will be designated as “entry only” or “exit only” to manage crowds, Metro said.

If you are unfamiliar with Metro or haven’t taken it in a while, WTOP has put together a guide on how to ride the subway.

Metrobus will run on a Saturday schedule with some additional trips on certain routes. About 50 bus routes will be detoured because of inauguration-related street closures.

Metro is encouraging riders to purchase SmarTrip cards online ahead of time to avoid lines at station kiosks. Metro is offering special inauguration-themed SmarTrip cards that can be purchased online until Jan. 13.

Each of the commemorative cards costs $10 and provides unlimited Metro access the day on Inauguration Day. (Afterward, it functions like a regular SmarTrip card). Metro will hand out special card sleeves featuring Donald Trump’s image and his slogan “Make America Great Again!” at Metro stations on Jan. 20.

Metro says to expect delays, crowded trains and buses and delays.

Other transportation options

  • The D.C. Streetcar along the H Street corridor to Union Station will operate extended hours, from 4 a.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday.
  • Capital BikeShare. There will be two bike corrals, one at 17th Street and K Street NW, and the other at 4th Street and E Street SW. There will also be free valet parking for personal bikes at 16th Street and I Street NW. Regular Bikeshare stations on the Mall will be closed Jan. 19 and 20. BikeShare is also offering corral service for the Women’s March on Jan. 21 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.
  • D.C. Circulator buses will suspend service on four routes, including Navy Yard, National Mall, Rosslyn-Dupont, and Georgetown-Union Station. The other two routes, Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square will operate from 7 am to 3:30 pm; and Potomac Avenue Metro-Skyland via Barracks Row will operate from 6 am to 7 pm. For more information on Metro service during the inauguration, check out Metro’s inauguration guide. You can sign up to receive text alerts about Metro service by texting POTUS to the number 90360.
  • For $40 per person, you can buy a roundtrip ticket for a water taxi operated by the Potomac Riverboat Company. Service runs from Alexandria’s waterfront in Old Town to Southwest Waterfront area of D.C. starting at 6:30 a.m. See more details on the company’s website.
  • Ride sharing. D.C. has set up three ride sharing pickup and drop-off locations:
    • The Kennedy Center
    • Third Street between M Street Southeast and Tingey Street Southeast (near the Navy Yard)
    • RFK Stadium
  • Taxi stands. To get a taxi, you will need to go to one of four taxi stand locations:
    • Kennedy Center
    • Ninth Street Northwest and K Street Northwest (near the Convention Center)
    • Maryland Avenue Southwest Circle (near L’Enfant Plaza)
    • East Capitol Street Northeast between 17th Street Northeast and 19th Street Northeast (near Eastern Senior High School)

The map below shows locations of transportation options in D.C.

Locations of various transportation options during Inauguration. (Courtesy

Metro said it will open two hours early — at 5 a.m. — and run an “enhanced Saturday schedule” for the Women’s March on Washington,  the day after the inauguration.

Metro says trains will leave stations at the end of each line every 12 minutes. That will result in trains every four to six minutes at every downtown station. The uncertainty over the size of the crowd for the Women’s March on Washington and other protests planned Saturday could lead to significant disruptions.

The women’s march has permit for up to 200,000 people to rally near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 21.

Federal workers

Check out what federal workers need to know about the inauguration on WTOP’s sister station, Federal News Radio.


The Virginia Railway Express will be operating on a reduced-service “S Schedule” Jan. 20. Only trains with an “S” above the train number will operate. Specific train times can be located on the VRE website.

MARC train service will also be reduced. Trains will operate on the Penn and Brunswick lines, with several changes from regular weekday service. There will be no service on the Camden Line.

See the full MARC schedule for Inauguration Day on the MARC website.

Inauguration ceremony

Many people will flock to the National Mall to watch the ceremony, but a lucky 250,000 people who scored one of the color-coded tickets, will get a closer view from the Capitol grounds.

The ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. with the official swearing-in set for noon Friday.

There are six different security screening gates corresponding with attendees’ color-coded tickets and they open at 6 a.m. on Inauguration Day. The screening areas are situated near Metro stations. Organizers are telling ticket holders to be prepared for long lines and crowds, and to dress for the weather.

A map released by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies indicating entrypoints for ticketholders to access the Capitol grounds. (Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies)
A map released by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies indicating entry points for ticket holders to access the Capitol grounds. (Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies) Click to view full size

Watching the ceremony from the National Mall does not require a ticket, however bags will still be checked by security personnel.

There are several designated security checkpoints for people to enter the National Mall area. They are:

  • 7th and Independence Ave SW
  • 12th and Independence Ave SW
  • Near 15th and Independence Ave SW
  • 17th and Independence Ave SW
  • 17th and Constitution Ave NW
  • 12th and Constitution Ave NW
  • 7th and Constitution Ave NW

Prohibited items

The following items are prohibited on the Capitol grounds on the National Mall and along the parade route:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18 by 13 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 by 3  feet by 1/4 inch)
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy guns
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
  • Umbrellas are prohibited on the Capitol Grounds, but are allowed on the Mall and along the parade route, provided they are 18 inches or smaller and don’t have a pointed tip.

What to know about the parade

A map released by the Secret Service detailing the inaugural parade route and pedestrian walking routes. (U.S. Secret Service)
A map released by the Secret Service detailing the inaugural parade route and pedestrian walking routes. (U.S. Secret Service) Click to view full size

The parade begins after the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol along Constitution Avenue, before it joins Pennsylvania Avenue. This map, released by the U.S. Secret Service, shows the parade route and several pedestrian routes for walking to the areas.

There are a dozen specific entry points to the parade route, including three along Constitution Avenue, and four along E Street NW.

The map also includes several pedestrian-friendly walking routes to get to the inaugural festivities downtown. Walking may be your best bet, inaugural planners say.

DC-area airports

Passengers at Reagan National and Dulles International should expect larger-than-normal crowds and congestion beginning Thursday before the inauguration and lasting through the weekend, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said. Other than that, authorities don’t expect any operational issues.

As always, you should monitor your flight status directly with your airline.

In honor of the inauguration, Reagan National is offering all-day parking on Jan. 20 for $10. Reservations, which can be secured online, are required to take advantage of the offer. Use the promo code “INAUG.”

Inaugural balls

There will be three official inaugural balls that then-President Donald Trump will attend: a military Commander-in-Chief Ball and two official inaugural balls at the Washington Convention Center.

The two balls at the convention center require tickets. Information about how to obtain tickets has not yet been made available.

There are also a number of unofficial balls around D.C. on Inauguration Day.

There are a number of street closures and vehicle restrictions in effect around the convention center most of the day Friday.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up