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Presidential Inauguration 2013: Do You Need Tickets?

If you didn't get a ticket from your local congressional office, there are areas of downtown DC where you can watch the 2013 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama without a ticket. Or, you can buy a ticket from a reputable online source.

The time has passed for members of the public to request tickets to the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, but you can still watch the inauguration from the downtown Mall.

President Obama's swearing-in will take place at noon Monday, Jan. 21 on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (He'll be sworn in privately the day before, due to a constitutional requirement that he be sworn in by Jan. 20.)

Each Senator and Representative received a limited quantity of free tickets that they may distribute to the public at their discretion. Most congressional offices accepted ticket requests right after the 2012 election and are in the process of choosing who receives those tickets and informing those people.

You Can Buy Tickets... 

“With that said, the reality is that demand for tickets typically exceeds supply, and not everyone is able to obtain tickets this way,” according to presidential-inaugutation.com, an unofficial information site. “After congressional offices distribute their tickets in January 2013, some of these will inevitably be sold or given away and acquired by companies that specialize in ticket reselling. At that time, you may purchase tickets through legitimate resellers….”

Already, tickets are popping up on those resale websites at astronomical prices.

On GreatSeats.com, tickets to the inauguration range from $1,895 to $12,500. On Craigslist, some tickets are available for as little as $175 for standing-room-only spots, though other people are charging much higher rates.

Starting in 2005, government officials designed anti-counterfeit features into authentic presidential inauguration tickets, making it harder to pass off fake ones as real. However, you may want to stick with a website that offers a satisfaction guarantee. Even though it is a crime to sell counterfeit tickets, you don’t want to get downtown and be turned away at the gate.

Viewing from the Mall: No Ticket Required

If you didn’t get a ticket from your senator's or representative's office, and you don’t want to pay, you can still be part of the crowd.

Big screens and speakers will be set up across the Mall in downtown D.C., and you don’t need a ticket to sit and watch the inauguration with thousands of your friends there.

The non-ticketed portion of the National Mall viewing area begins at Fourth Street NW and continues toward the Washington Monument.

Similarly, only certain areas of the Presidential Inauguration Parade route are ticketed, so you can watch the parade from the streets without a ticket. A map of the parade route is available here.

In 2009, President Obama's inauguration attracted 1.8 million to the National Mall, according to an estimate from the Washington Post.

For more on the inauguration, click here.

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