“This is not a moment. It’s the movement.”
~Hamilton (Lin Manual Miranda)
With the election (mostly) behind us, all eyes are moving to the pomp and circumstance that is the Presidential Inauguration. And yes! There’s still time to plan a trip for your student group to witness it. While most group leaders plan these trips further out, many tour companies are available to help you plan a last minute tour.
Many aspects of an Inauguration tour are very similar to your run of the mill Washington DC tour. However, there are a handful of differences you as the group leader should know about beforehand.
Things To Know
1. Once In A Lifetime Experiences
Inauguration tours are unique. In addition to a trip to Washington DC (which many students only get to experience once so be sure to hit the highlight), your student group will also get to enjoy many Inauguration specific activities. Your group will witness the Swearing-In Ceremony as well as the Oath of Office. The new President will give the Inaugural Address. This is all followed with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Most tour companies will have an evening event planned for their groups. You can expect a formal gala, perhaps in your hotel or aboard a dinner cruise. Many groups will dress up for this event. If your performance group participated in a festival or competition, the awards ceremony is normally on this evening.
As you can imagine with the number of people visiting the city for the Inauguration, everything will be in short supply. Hotels will be full. Restaurants will be at capacity. Museums and sites will be crowded. This is to be expected. The likelihood of your group being in a central hotel location are slim to none. However, experienced tour companies will have held blocks of space at hotels far in advance. The same can be said of many of the most-used student tour restaurants. This is a good thing. It might mean that you won’t have much of an opportunity to customize, so be prepared to take what you can get.
3. Controlled Chaos
Inauguration Day itself is going to be hectic. Large, excited crowds combined with the many security measures put in place to keep said crowd safe will mean that you might feel a little stressed out. Luckily, your tour company will have an experienced Tour Director with your group, and (most likely) numerous other staff in DC to help facilitate a safe experience for your students. Be sure to have a conversation with your company about the safety measures they’ve put into place for this once in a lifetime trip.
Below are a few tour companies who operate educational and performance Inauguration Tours:
Download the Inauguration Meeting Flyer and others here.
Disclaimer! Many sites, venues and activities are closed, have limited hours or other various restrictions due to Covid-19. Be sure to check with your tour company and/or the sites themselves for more detailed information.