How to Celebrate Inauguration Day

President Obama Inauguration Day
Written by Alexia Dellner

President Obama will soon be sworn in as President of the United States (again). The official Inauguration Day is 20 January but since that date falls on a Sunday this year, the public swearing-in ceremony will be held on Monday, 21 January instead.

Four years ago, nearly 2 million people flocked to the National Mall in Washington DC to see Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. This year the celebrations are going to be a little more subdued, but there are still plenty of exciting events happening around the country and ways for you to get involved.

Washington DC

Washington DC is THE place to be on Inauguration Day, with events like the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, the Inaugural Address, the Inaugural Parade and numerous balls and galas happening.

Washington DC Obama Inauguration

The atmosphere may be a little more low key this time around, but the good news is that there is still accommodation in the area (as opposed to four years ago, when many rooms were sold out months in advance).

Unless you’ve managed to bag a ticket to the swearing in ceremony, the most popular place to catch the show is from the National Mall (no ticket required). The giant TV screens and celebratory atmosphere make it a great spot to watch history in the making.

If you’d rather not stand out in the cold but would still like to get in on the Presidential action, then head to the Newseum. A new election-year exhibit called “Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press,” explores how media coverage of presidential campaigns has evolved since 1896. On display through Jan. 27, 2013 (Note:  closed on Monday, January 21st). Tickets from $12.95.

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Chicago

President Obama calls this windy city home so why not honour the man himself by visiting a couple of his favourite city haunts.

Chicago by night

First stop – MacArthur’s Restaurant on Chicago’s West Side. MacArthur’s is a soul food favourite of many local politicians including POTUS himself.  In his second book “The Audacity of Hope,” President Obama describes MacArthur’s as “one of my favourite restaurants in Chicago.” If it’s on the menu that day, order Obama’s favourite – turkey legs and dressing.

The basketball courts in Jackson Park are where Obama used to shoot hoops when he lived nearby in a vintage condo at 5450 S. East View Ave. Apparently this is also where Michelle Robinson’s brother, Craig, played a four hour game with Obama to test his character. Looks like he passed…

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New York

This year Inauguration Day coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated annually on every third Monday of January, around the time of Dr. King’s birthday (January 15th).

Martin Luther King Jr Day in New York City

To celebrate these two inspirational men in the Big Apple, check out the Martin Luther King Day Parade. Join the parade at Laurelton Blvd and Park and march to the Martin Luther King Centre at 615 Riverside up 5th Avenue from 61st – 86th Street in Manhattan.

The parade takes place on Monday 21 January at 10:30am and is free.

There are plenty of other MLK gigs, concerts, talks and tours happening in New York City. Check out more Martin Luther King Day: Events in New York City ideas here.

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Boston

Inauguration Day isn’t just a time to celebrate the incoming President. It’s also a time to celebrate the country itself. And what’s more American than sipping on a nice cold brewski named after one of the Founding Fathers of the United States?

Boston native Samuel Adams wasn’t just a revolutionary thinker, he was also a beer brewer with a family brewing tradition.

Samuel Adams Beer

Get into the Presidential spirit with the Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Jamaica Plain. Learn about the history of the brewery and of the man himself. Taste the malts and smell the hops that make the beer and sample a few of the beers themselves.

No reservation required for the approximately 1 hour tour. $2.00 suggested donation to benefit local charities.

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San Francisco

When Barack Obama was elected into the White House in 2008, he made history by becoming the first African American President of the United States.

To learn more about the culture, history and art of people of African descent within the United States then check out to the Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD) in downtown San Francisco.

Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco

The museum opened in 2005 and offers a variety of events, lectures, readings and exhibitions of art and historical objects.

Tickets to the museum usually start from $5, but on 21 January MoAD is offering free admission to the museum and its programs throughout the day.

Free events of the day include African drumming ensemble, chalk art, films on Dr. Martin Luther King, and scavenger hunts.

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Thanks to byus71, Prince Roy, wilhelmja, ugod, Erik Cleves Kristensen and rosemarie_mckeon for the images off Flickr. Please note that all images were used under the Creative Commons license at the time of posting.

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