Inauguration Day 2017 Survival Guide: Know where to walk, find restrooms, and more

Inauguration Day is approaching, and the event is expected to bring 1 million people to the nation's capital. January 20 will be a long day, and with so many people coming-- how will you survive being in the city? Fear not: we've got you covered. 

This survival guide will help you find the nearest bathrooms, know what streets to avoid, what you should leave at home and more. So read on, and get ready to enjoy this historic event.


Unless you've been living under a rock, you know there are MANY streets closed in DC as a result of the inaugural events (and they'll stay that way all weekend). You will see that many Metro stations are going to be closed for security reasons. And even if you aren't in a car, you'll encounter a number of roads that are also closed to pedestrians. So many, in fact, that it's probably easier to name the streets that ARE open for those traveling by foot.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a map of the specific streets that will be open to pedestrians. You'll see that map below, but you may want to click here and print it out just in case your cell reception gets quirky or Siri can't re-route you to an open street.  


Plan to give yourself enough time to get to your point B. Some destinations may require as much as a 3-mile hike-- especially if you're heading to a non-ticketed area on the National Mall, and your stop is at Union Station. If that's the case, wear comfy shoes!



Good news: we won't be experiencing bone-chilling temperatures like many previous inaugurations. Bad news: it's going to rain instead.  

Temperatures will be in the high 40s, but rain showers and mild wind will be consistent throughout the day. 

Due to tomorrow's rainy forecast, there has been a revision to the "No Umbrella" policy for Friday's inaugural events. "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.

Be sure to dress accordingly; perhaps a rain jacket with a hoodie and rain boots might keep you dry. You don't want to be that person walking around drenched because you didn't get the memo.


Double check your purse and pockets. You have to be careful with what you carry if you're going to the inauguration. Rule of thumb: if it's something you can't bring on an airplane, then chances are you can't have it at the Inauguration, a nearby bar, or at any related event.

These are a few items deemed prohibited from Friday's Inaugural events (and yes, you should leave your selfie sticks at home):

  • Airhorns
  • Aerosols
  • Alcohol
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18" by 13" by 7")
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Coolers
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Knives / Blades
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace / Pepper spray
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Signs exceeding the size restrictions (20" x 3" x 1/4")
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy guns
  • REVISED Umbrellas Policy -"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.
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Whistles

You also can't bring any other items determined to be potential safety hazards. Check here for the complete list of no-no items...



These are words that will be said by just about anyone standing in a crowd for over three hours. 

While you may not be able to find indoor plumbing on the National Mall, there will be thousands of port-a-potties. They will also be placed in front of nearby Metro Stations.

But if you're on the hunt for a restroom with a sink, the Smithsonian Museums offer public indoor restrooms. 

Keep in mind, many businesses do not offer public restrooms, and in many cases, you do have to make a purchase to use the restroom.   



  • Don't forget an I.D., Especially if you have tickets for any inaugural event. Don't be that person. 
  • Bring snacks! The concession stands can get a bit pricey and what if they don't have the snack you want?
  • Charge your phone, camera, and any electronic device. It would be sad if you ran out of juice and couldn't post to Instagram or Twitter. (Pro tip: use the hashtag #fox5POTUS to send us your pics and videos!)
  • Pack your patience. There will be tons of people in the city sharing this experience with you. Be courteous of everyone around you. 
  • Smart Trip card.  If you are taking Metro, make sure you put cash on your Smart Trip card. The last thing you want is to be stuck at the Metro waiting in line for a new one instead of getting on a train.
  • Have fun!  After all, this historical day is going down in the books and you're part of it. 



Want to take in the festivities, but don't want to leave the house? Watch FOX 5 DC all day (shameless plug)! We'll bring you live coverage from 4 am - 8 pm Friday-- and of course, you can watch it on air and online. 

Many companies in the DC area are allowing employees to work from home, or take the day off on Friday. If you have no interest in attending any of the inaugural events and don't have to go to work, save yourself a headache. Take advantage of staying at home! The city will be popping at the seams, and do you really want to be a part of the hustle and bustle on your day off?

The crowds may also make any outdoor activities impossible to do. Consider Friday your chance to finally binge watch that Netflix show you've been eyeing or getting work done around the house. Or better yet, watch it on FOX 5 (second shameless plug).

Some lawmakers that won't be attending inauguration are doing other things too. This is how some of them are spending their day. 

If you do decide to venture out, be sure to look at this list of road closures that also include Virginia and Maryland. 



Guide to Inauguration Day 2017: Road Closures, Metro Schedule, Parking Info and Parade Route