How to Request Presidential Inauguration Tickets

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US Capitol BuildingIf you’ve been thinking about going to the inaugural ceremony of the 44th President of the United States, wait in line. A week or two ago, scalpers were trying to sell tickets to the inauguration on sites like StubHub and eBay for thousands of dollars. No one told the prospective buyers that tickets hadn’t even been issued yet! In fact, no one has tickets to sell in the first place because they won’t be issued until early January. There are only 240,000 tickets for the West Front of the Capitol, where the inauguration takes place, but most of those seats don’t have much of a view either. 240,000 tickets – not many at all.

How do you get an inauguration ticket? The best thing you can do is submit a request through your state’s Senators and Representatives (each are supposedly getting 200-500 a piece), though that likely will not result in much as they’ve all been inundated with requests. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, one of the Senators I requested tickets from, recently emailed me to say that they received 55,000 requests already and they are estimated to get only 400 tickets (some of which they will likely keep for themselves). All the names will be put into a drawing and winners notified in January.

While people recommend you locate the Senator and Representative representing your district, it probably doesn’t hurt to just ask them all. I don’t think it’d be worth it to ask those outside your home state though.

Expanding the area: The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the committee overseeing the inaugural, is looking into expanding the number of people allowed in the official inaugural zone (that 240k area). We’ll see how that goes.

If all else fails, you can always go to the National Mall and try to catch the inauguration on a huge Jumbotron. You won’t need tickets to go to the National Mall but you will have to fight with huge crowds just to get there. Most will be traveling by mass transit, probably the Metro train system, so good luck. If you aren’t a fan of crowds (just to see it on a Jumbotron, no less), you can always just flip on the TV.

However you ultimately choose to view the inaugural, it’ll be historic all the same.

(Photo: martinstelbrink)

{ 10 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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10 Responses to “How to Request Presidential Inauguration Tickets”

  1. Frugal Dad says:

    Why doesn’t the government sell each of these tickets for $100 and pay back some of the $700 billion (plus) they took from tax payers to bailout failing industries?

  2. Patrick says:

    These tickets are crazy expensive. I heard that they were even going for thousands of dollars. People even in areas that are 30 or miles away are able to get hundreds of dollars a night just to stay at their houses for the event. I heard that somebody in my area was charging around $800 a night to rent a room out. That is ridiculous. I guess people will find any way to make money off of other people.

  3. JustMe says:

    So Frugual… that means we buy tickets from the government which helps pay back our taxes they took for the bailout??

  4. I’m crossing my fingers — I requested them during the summer, and I think my representative is doing it on a first come first serve basis, so we’ll see…

    • got to be true2 says:

      so did you get the tickets and if so how were you notified? I requested mine a two days after election. im still waiting and time is crunching away.

  5. jim says:

    Ours is going to do a lottery… what’s funny is that some of the seats are terrible, but I’d like to go anyway. 🙂

  6. jane says:

    I remember being a college student in DC for Clintons second term. A few of my classmates started calling all of the congressional offices to see how many tickets they could come up with last minute. They did pretty well but I doubt the same could be said this year. However, I’d check with Representatives from heavily Republican districts. All congressmen get the same number of tickets no matter there party.

  7. If I were you, I’d be getting out of Dodge for it. I’m not a big fan of crowds and it’s going to be HUGE. There are bus rides scheduled from San Francisco… It is a once in a lifetime thing, but much like a football game in -20 degree weather the view from home will be fine with me.

  8. Jon says:


  9. Cindy King says:

    It’s too cold for me to want to stand outside that long. I remember the last Bush inaugural ceremony which was quite impressive. I wonder how the new President will do.
    Stumbled and linked to your post today.

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