Inaugural parade tickets for bleacher seats went on sale today for $25 at 1pm through Ticketmaster and sold out within minutes. The 5,000 inaugural parade tickets for bleacher seats sold is only about one-quarter of the number sold during the last Bush inauguration due to concerns that bleachers obscured too much of the parade route. Watching the inaugural parade is free except for the reserved bleacher seating.
While there are no inaugural parade bleacher seats available, there is plenty of inaugural housing for rent still available, the Washington Post reported today. Homeowners inspired to offer rental rooms and apartments at sky high prices by early reports of an inaugural housing shortage generally have been unable to find prospective renters. With the rental market calmed, it may be possible for those impulsively deciding on a last minute pilgrimage to the presidential inauguration to secure housing and to watch the parade, standing along the parade route.
With no one sure what to expect of the crowds, those who did not secure inaugural parade tickets might want to adopt a back-up plan. Various local venues including the American Film Institute in Silver Spring and the Washington Ethical Society in Washington, DC are opening their doors to would-be inaugural parade goers who opt instead to watch the inaugural on the big screen. Many of the Mall watchers will themselves be watching the inauguration on Jumbotron screens. Visitors may want to obtain information on these alternate options in the event that frigid winter weather or massive Metro crowds keep them from the Mall. Metro has already advised inaugural parade goers to walk up to 2 miles, rather than rely on its service.
The bridges over the Potomac will be closed for security reasons- must to the dismay of Virginians, many of whom view it as a snub according to today’s Washington Post — but hearty souls approaching Washington DC from Arlington will find the Memorial Bridge open to foot traffic. Maryland access to Washington DC will not be affected by security measures, but with street closings and parking restrictions, driving to the District of Columbia is likely to be a gridlock-laden experience that most likely will not get drivers anywhere near the inaugural parade.
Official information for visitors concerning the inaugural parade and other inauguration activies can be found here.
Sources: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/01/09/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry4710546.shtml; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/08/AR2009010803900.html?nav%3Dhcmodule⊂=AR; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/08/AR2009010803900.html?nav%3Dhcmodule⊂=AR; http://www.inauguration.dc.gov/index.asp.