Inauguration Information

Inauguration Capacity Numbers

The platform for the swearing-in ceremony is currently being built and it traditionally holds more than 1,600 people including the President and Vice President, members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and the outgoing President and Vice President. The bleachers that sit above the platform holds an additional 1,000 people.

Total capacity for the entire inauguration has never been an exact science, but here are the estimates from every inauguration going back to when the event was moved to the west side of the Capitol.

Donald Trump, 2017: 300,000 – 600,000

Barack Obama, 2013: 1 million

Barack Obama, 2009: 1.8 million (generally considered a record for people on the National Mall)

George W. Bush, 2005: 400,000

George W. Bush, 2001: 300,000

Bill Clinton, 1997: 250,000

Bill Clinton, 1993: 800,000

George H.W. Bush, 1989: 300,000

Ronald Reagan, 1985: 140,000 tickets sold, but record cold moved the swearing-in ceremony indoors

Ronald Reagan, 1981: 10,000

Data Source:  Politico

Reasons to Attend the 2021 Presidential Inauguration

If you always wanted to cross the Presidential Inauguration off your buck list, this could be the best year to attend. With the COVID-19 pandemic happening, this year could be the cheapest one to attend.

While final details have not been announced, the speculation is this year will have to have social distancing and fewer people will be able to attend. According to STR Inc., hotel room demand was down 83% from the same time last year, which can lead to cheaper rooms and more options.

Airlines should have a similar experience with fewer people traveling. If the crowds are limited and spaced out, this will lead to having more space for viewing and fewer lines to get through security. Also traveling around the city on inauguration day is always tough, so this can lead to an easier commute.

DC Begins Preparation for the Inauguration

The city of Washington has started preparing for the inauguration before the election has even happened. Construction of the stage where the swearing-in ceremony will take place in front of the Capitol began recently as well as getting the streets ready with stands for the parade. While officials are getting ready for a normal event, they know this year will be different from the past:

  • Low-flying helicopters will be flying over DC daily to measure radiation. This practice was used before the 2019 Super Bowl and prior to the Republican National Convention.
  • COVID-19 might lead to a limited crowd as well as having safety measures in place such as required to wear a mask, temperatures taken, or having social distance where possible.
  • The District currently has some coronavirus restrictions in place, including a ban on mass gatherings of more than 50 people and quarantine requirements for travelers from some states, but this should change before the inauguration