Inauguration Day 2013

All you need to know for the day: where to eat, rest and what to see

Today, President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for his second term.
Today, President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for his second term. Courtesy of the White House, 2009

Inauguration day, it’s finally here, along with millions of visitors looking to take in some uniquely D.C.-culture. While our special presidents tour from our visitors guide app will keep you exploring in your spare-time, this post is all about the when, where and how of January 21. Plus, a few select events happening around the Smithsonian, you know, in between the whole inauguration thing.


On Inauguration Day, January 21, Smithsonian museums on the National Mall are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A few museums will open early—the Castle opens at 7:30 a.m., Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery, Hirshhorn and African Art open at 8 a.m. Mall entrances on the south side will be closed. Visitors will be asked to use the Independence Ave. entrances.

The American Indian Museum and the Renwick Gallery are closed January 21.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Luce Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Lunder Conservation Center will be closed Sunday, January 20.

Street Closings

Most streets around the National Mall—including Independence and Constitution avenues and Jefferson and Madison drives—will be closed Monday, January 21.


The Archives, Smithsonian and Mt. Vernon Square stations will be closed Sunday, January 20 to Monday, January 21, midnight to 5:30 p.m. All other stations will open Monday, January 21 at 4 a.m.


No Parking on the National Mall after 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 20.


All museums, open to the public during designated hours, have accessible restrooms

Read more.

You know how it goes: Now that you’ve been sworn in, what are you going to do? I’m going to the Smithsonian!
You know how it goes: Now that you’ve been sworn in, what are you going to do? I’m going to the Smithsonian! Courtesy of Wikimedia

Select Events

Live broadcast of the swearing-in ceremony in Flag Hall in American History Museum, beginning at 11:30 a.m. A live broadcast will also begin at 11:30 a.m. at the African Art Museum.

Inaugural theme walk-in tours, Monday, January 21, 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the American Art Museum.

For “Super Sonic Weekend: Sounds and Songs of the American Presidency” (all day Monday), Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is streaming audio recordings related to the American presidency, from a 1757 campaign song used by George Washington in his first race for the Virginia House of Burgesses, to presidential speeches and much more.

Tour America’s Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Select Exhibits

At the National Portrait Gallery: ”Portrait of President Barack Obama” The original artwork, a hand-finished collage by artist Shepard Fairey, from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign is on view January 19 – 22. The work is joined by two larger-than-life tapestry portraits of the president by artist Chuck Close.

At the American Indian Museum: ”A Century Ago: They Came as Sovereign Leaders” This photo exhibition focuses on President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade and the six great chiefs who participated in the parade arriving with their own purposes in mind and representing the needs of their people.

At the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery in the American History Museum: Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963″ In 2013 the country will commemorate two events that changed the course of the nation-the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. Standing as milestone moments in the grand sweep of American history, these achievements were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals – both famous and unknown – who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

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