Inauguration Day 2013 falls on Sunday, Jan. 20, with the public ceremony for the 57th presidential inauguration taking place the next day. Over the course of the week, there’s a slew of inauguration balls, unique offers from local restaurants and hotels, and other special events across Washington.
Whether you’re a socialite, a staffer on the Hill looking to make an impression, or just want to see what all of the hubbub is about — and have some money to burn along the way — here’s a quick guide to some of the biggest 2013 inauguration events in Washington.
* The official swearing-in event for President Obama is held on Jan. 20, with the ceremonial swearing-in event and inaugural parade taking place on Jan. 21. Tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are free, but can only be distributed by members of Congress. However, viewing the ceremony and/or the parade from the National Mall does not require tickets. Those planning to attend the parade should be forewarned that the 2009 event was one of the most overcrowded days in D.C. public transportation history.
* The official “The Inaugural Ball” put together by the Presidential Inaugural Committee is held on Jan. 21 and spans every hall of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Tickets were gone basically before they were even available. An additional official event known as the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball is held to honor military members and their families, with free tickets for all invited guests, ranging from Medal of Honor recipients to wounded warriors, active duty armed forces members and more.
* Dozens of states are holding their own inaugural balls or galas at hotels and event spaces throughout the District. These are typically black-tie events with pricey tickets, such as Maryland’s inaugural ball at the Gaylord Hotel in the National Harbor with a $1,000 VIP price tag.
* The Kentucky Society of Washington is throwing the Bluegrass Ball, featuring fare from “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” alum Edward Lee. The Bluegrass Ball garnered extra recognition in 2009 with Muhammad Ali’s attendance.
* OurTime.org is throwing “The Generation Now Party” in celebration of young voters and the next generation of leaders in the country. Tickets are available for $150, or $75 for students, with the highlight of the evening coming in the form of a live performance by John Legend.
* The folks behind Artomatic are throwing the 2013 Artist’s Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20 at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Tickets are $50.
* Art Smith’s Art and Soul restaurant is hosting a late-night chef’s ball with a variety of big-name local chefs on Jan. 19 beginning at 10:30 pm. Tickets cost $75, $125 for VIPs, with proceeds going to charity. Another restaurant joining the festivities is Tony and Joe’s in Georgetown, with its Presidential Inaugural Gala, offering food, drink, music and door prizes. Tickets are available for between $150 and $250.
* The National Museum of Crime & Punishment is hosting an overnight inauguration party on Jan. 20, with crime movies playing well into the early morning hours. LivingSocial is handling the tickets, currently available at $140.
* Odyssey Cruises is offering an Inauguration Dinner Cruise on Jan. 21. It is also offering pre-inauguration cruises over the weekend for both brunch and dinner.
* At the Beacon Bar and Grill, special inauguration-themed dishes are available. They aren’t the only ones to seize the opportunity, either. Mussel Bar and Brasserie Beck are offering an “Obama-tini”, Quill at the Jefferson Hotel is offering a “presidential cocktail”, Charlie Palmer Steak has been honoring former presidents with theme entrees, and a wide range of other specials are available across the District.
* Last but certainly not least, high rollers looking for snazzy hotels over inauguration weekend are in luck. Consider the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, where guests can rent the Royal Suite for $20,000 per night. When that just isn’t enough, then check out the Park Hyatt Washington’s 2013 Presidential Inauguration package. Spend four nights in the Presidential Suite for $57,000, and receive an all-inclusive patriotic-themed stay with special food, wine and fashion components. Other, shall we say, more accessible packages are also available.
*This article was first published on Yahoo News on January 9, 2013.