Celebrating on a Budget? Start Here.

3 01 2009

Cash In your Pocket
Apparently presidential inaugurations are completely recession-proof. Despite our country’s current economic state, prices for most things connected to the 56th Inauguration aren’t dropping one bit. Hotel prices are across the region are sky high and ball tickets are through roof. This is a pricey endeavor, specially if you’re planning to roll with the black tie crowd. But fear not: there are more thanenough free or cheap things to do–Obama related or not–that you can still have a fantastic time.

First off, if you haven’t taken advantage of the not one but two opportunities to win a free trip for two to the inauguration with all the trimmings, start there. If you win the only thing you’ll have to worry about is who to take with you and what to wear!

On Sunday afternoon, a welcome event at the Lincoln Memorial marks the official kickoff of the inauguration festivities. Start your day there, then head over to the FDR Memorial and back around to the WWII Memorial to take in some of the sights with the rest of the crowds. 

On Monday, the day before Obama’s swearing in will be a busy one across town, as people take part in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. If you’re traveling with a group from another city, consider signing up for a service project while you’re in town.

Monday will also feature two free concerts in different parts of town. The Kennedy Center, in partnership with Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!) will present the “Let Freedom Ring” concert featuring Aretha Franklin, Nuttin but Stringz, and the Let Freedom Ring Choir. Starting at 4pm, one ticket per person will be distributed outside the concert hall, and the concert starts at 6pm. I imagine the line will start to form early–to get there, catch the Blue/Orange line train to Foggy Bottom and look for the red Kennedy Center shuttle or take the 15 minute walk.

Also on Monday, a free kids concert hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee is planned at the Verizon Center. Details on performers, time, etc. haven’t been announced yet, but tickets will be required.

Several other low cost performance events are planned for Monday night, including the Big Shoulders Inauguration Ball at the Black Cat on 14th St NW, for $50 per person, featuring artists and activists from Chicago. At the Harman Center for the Arts in Chinatown, $25 gets you tickets to A Celebration of Change: From Emancipation to Presidency, featuring the Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra.

Tuesday is the big day when millions are expected to fill the National Mall and downtown DC streets to view the parade and swearing in ceremony for President-elect Obama and Vice-President elect Biden. If you have tickets for the swearing in, plan to be in your seat as close to 9am as possible, when the gates open. For others planning to watch via Jumbotron on other parts of the Mall, get there early too, and don’t bring anything!

wonderballOn Tuesday night ball gowns and tuxedos will fill the city’s hotels, museums and other fancy spaces, but budget partiers have some options. Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights is hosting the Common Man’s Inaugural Ball, where $69 gets all you can drink from 9pm-4am, a commemorative poster and a t-shirt. On your way there, stop by Red Rocks Pizzeria a block away for some great pizza before the party. For those a little less hipster, Soccer Moms for Obama is hosting a celebration at the Women’s Club of Chevy Chase for $60 per person. Entertainment and hors d’Oeurves are included, but drinks are not. 

This is just a taste of some of the free and low cost things to do during this inauguration weekend. For more ideas, check out the DC’s convention and tourism bureau’s list of 44 free things to do around town, and check back for more budget friendly posts. If you are hosting or going to an event that should be included, share!




2 responses

7 01 2009

Celebrate [Budget]

17 01 2009
Mike Brannon

Actually, we’re as hip as they come. Please update the comments about us on your website.
Mike & Ruth Brannon

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