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2009 Inauguration Weekend

Ottawa, Ontario
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2009 Inauguration Weekend

Hi Folks,

I'm heading down to Washington from Jan 17 - 21st. I'm staying up in Fort Meade, and have already bought my MARC train (Camden Line) passes for Jan 20th from Savage station to Union Station. I hope to take in the "zoo" downtown for a couple hours on inauguration day and then high-tail it outta there by 2 pm. I have a few questions for any local experts.

1) How much difficulty will there be in leaving the downtown area by foot? When would be the best time to leave downtown and where can I go? My return train isn't until 7:40 pm, but with the portapotty/restaurant situation, I can't imagine surviving downtown until then.

2) I'm planning on taking the same train downtown on Sunday morning, and maybe even Monday morning. Will it be crowded? Can I get everywhere by foot? Can we get close enough to the event area to get pictures of the stage (since we won't be able to bring a DSLR on Inauguration Day)? The more we can do on Sunday/Monday, the less we'll need to do on Tuesday.

3) Are there any restaurants in Annapolis or Annapolis Junction that you can recommend for Sunday/Monday night? Not too pricey, but good seafood/crab.

Any help will be appreciated. Our 11 year old is insistent on being there for the inauguration, but I'm hoping to get most of what he wants out of sightseeing the days before and after.

Silver Spring...
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1. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Have you read any of the threads about the inauguration? Or any articles in the Washington Post?

Washington DC...
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2. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Is MARC running on Sunday the 18th? I would be surprised, since it is a commuter train system.

There are several restrooms inside Union Station and many places to eat in there too. Not to mention some places to sit. That is where I would head when you get tired.

Ottawa, Ontario
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3. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Just to be clear. I have read the Inauguration threads. I have the WP's Inauguration Watch bookmarked, and check it daily. This is largely why, of the 3 hotels I booked prior to the election, I have kept the one in Fort Meade, adjacent to the Camden Line train, and purchased a reserved ticket that takes us down to Union Station.

I realize that from there, it will be a zoo. We don't have high, unrealistic expectations, we simply want to be there. This is also why we're trying to take in downtown prior to Tuesday, so that we can escape if need be.

Any insight that is helpful will be appreciated. I realize there are a large contingent of people whose only insight is "stay away". However, some of these people may miss the impact of this event on some of us who want to witness with our own eyes that this is actually happening.

Thanks.

Arlington, VA
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4. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Sounds like you have a pretty good plan. My two cents... and a few comments.

You wrote....

I'm heading down to Washington from Jan 17 - 21st. I'm staying up in Fort Meade, and have already bought my MARC train (Camden Line) passes for Jan 20th from Savage station to Union Station. I hope to take in the "zoo" downtown for a couple hours on inauguration day and then high-tail it outta there by 2 pm. I have a few questions for any local experts.

My response

One tip. Find and use the bathroom in Union Station before leaving. There is one by the Amtrak part of the building.

Question. What are going to want to see for the inauguration... either the swearing in or the parade. Most folks say you can only do one. If you are going to the swearing in, do you have tickets?

After the parade and swearing in, I think many will try to head home and going to the zoo on Inauguration day is a recipe for disaster. While the zoo is in DC it is not really near the downtown inauguration or tourist areas. You would have to take metro or a scarce taxi in horrible traffic.

Go to the zoo the day before. Not on Inauguration Day.

Use the Metro site to check out our Metro (subway) system.

http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm

Metro has announced that people using metro to leave DC (and frankly to head to the zoo and other places that you need metro) to be prepared to wait several hours in line before boarding a train.

1) How much difficulty will there be in leaving the downtown area by foot? When would be the best time to leave downtown and where can I go? My return train isn't until 7:40 pm, but with the portapotty/restaurant situation, I can't imagine surviving downtown until then.

Oh boy. Hard to say. This is an unprecidented event that is very hard to predict. Union Station is a pretty good place to hang out. Lots of shops, restaurants, food court, and a bathroom. I would leave plenty of time. Thankfully you have a good place to hang out if you are early for your train. I think if you miss it you are out of luck.

2) I'm planning on taking the same train downtown on Sunday morning, and maybe even Monday morning. Will it be crowded? Can I get everywhere by foot? Can we get close enough to the event area to get pictures of the stage (since we won't be able to bring a DSLR on Inauguration Day)? The more we can do on Sunday/Monday, the less we'll need to do on Tuesday.

Have you checked the MARC schedule. I am not that familiar with MARC, but it is more a commuter train and may not be runnning on Sunday or Monday (this is a US federal holiday). If it is not running suggest you drive to a nearby Metro stop and park and then come into the city.

Uhhh, DSLR?? What is that. I suspect most areas before the inauguration will be closed do to security reason so secret service can setup a "clean field" before allowing others in on Tuesday.

3) Are there any restaurants in Annapolis or Annapolis Junction that you can recommend for Sunday/Monday night? Not too pricey, but good seafood/crab.

Highly recommend that you post this in the Annapolis or Annapolis Junction forum. This area is not something I am familar with.

Any help will be appreciated. Our 11 year old is insistent on being there for the inauguration, but I'm hoping to get most of what he wants out of sightseeing the days before and after.

One tip.... Have a back up plan and more importantly a plan for if you get separated. My feeling is if you have a plan if you get separated, then you won't need it. Include plans for if one of you gets off at Metro stop and the other does not. Give your 11 year old info on where you are staying, emergency contact numbers, and write them down. Have a plan before getting off trains. I am not trying to scare you, just trying to have you plan for a safe trip. Even with adult friends as we go into a crowded baseball game, big crowds, or amusement parks we plan a meeting spot in case something happens.

I hope this helps. I think if you plan, be patient, have a back up plan, and be patient you will have a good time. Just manage your expectations as how long things will take and what you can see.

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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5. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

I don't think Union Station is going to be a good option for anything on January 20th. In addition to the tens of thousands coming off of trains, there will be tens of thousands of others coming in on Metro there as well as tens of thousands from the nearby ceremony who will all see it as a place to get warm and grab a bite. I can't imagine the mob scene it will be.

Annapolis and Annapolis Junction are two separate places, worlds apart as well as miles apart lol. Annapolis Junction doesn't have much in the area, it's close to NSA (shh, don't ask!) and Fort Meade as well as to a couple of Maryland's finest penal institutions.

Annapolis is about a 25 minute drive from there and has plenty of places to eat, check the Annapolis forum for recommendations. You won't starve in Annapolis Junction, and could ask your hotel for directions to either Timbuktu or Gunnings for crab cakes, or find all kinds of fast food options out on Route 1.

Ottawa, Ontario
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6. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Thanks a ton for the heads ups! I checked the MARC train site, and while they're running on the Monday, they aren't running on Sunday. I'm leary about driving into Washington any day that week, so may head to Annapolis on Sunday.

Thanks also for the Annapolis site recommendation as well. I'll try posting there.

By the way, sorry for using colloquialisms. I was referring to the huge crowds downtown as the "zoo", and a DSLR is a digital SLR camera which is larger than a point and shoot - especially with extra lenses - and the WP says anything larger than 8" x 6" x 4" won't be allowed in the secured area.

Ottawa, Ontario
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7. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Quick comment.

I was asked in a PM about the regulations on what you can take to the inauguration (and that a DSLR camera kit may be too large).

Here's a link to the WP overview for the inauguration. Again, 8"x6"x4" is the largest size bag allowed.

…washingtonpost.com/inauguration-watch/2008/…

The link actually states that cameras are allowed, but not camera bags.

HFC
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8. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

Channel 4 (WRC-TV) and Channel 7 (WJLA-TV) have sub sections of their websites that cover questions about the 2009 Inaugural.

However, everyone I have talked to that is already living in the greater Washington, DC area is headed OUT OF TOWN until January 21, 2009, or will HUNKER DOWN inside their own homes and not come out for about five days or so.

9. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

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10. Re: 2009 Inauguration Weekend

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