There was one conversation that set the tone for this entire trip. I shared an Uber from the airport to my hotel and the gentleman I rode with was a Democrat. He said he came for the inauguration and he would never miss this event, even if his candidate didn’t win. I was obviously taken back just because of the hostility surrounding this particular election, but he said he was still excited to be here because he respects the Office of the President no matter who it is. He loves inaugurations and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event. He planned on attending everything: the swearing in ceremony, parade, and the inaugural ball. As a I left the car he gave me a big smile and said, “Make America Great Again!”
With that said every American should attend a presidential inauguration, regardless of your political affiliation.
I arrived in D.C. late at night and without a hotel reservation, but I used my HHonors App to find a room instantly. Within 10 minutes I checked in at the Capital Hilton and my room was ready to go. If you’re looking for a new travel rewards credit card I highly recommend the Hilton American Express. I used my points to book this room and it didn’t cost me anything extra!
This was a quick, jam-packed trip filled with inauguration events. Thursday morning I met my boyfriend and his mom at the Rayburn Building to pick up our inauguration tickets. I even got to meet Congressman Posey and take a picture!
Shortly after we had brunch at Ted’s Bulletin and let me tell y’all, it was AMAZING. They have the best dessert case I have ever seen and I tried a signature Ted’s Tart. My boyfriend has a sweet tooth too and really liked the homemade poptart. He liked it so much he basically ate all of mine (Josh if you’re reading this I’m not mad, I’m just hungry.)
After brunch we headed to the Lincoln Memorial to watch the inauguration concert. We sat along the National Mall to watch the performances by 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith, and more. My favorite performance was definitely “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, everyone was singing and it gave me goosebumps!
Friday, January 20 was Inauguration Day! It was a lot of walking and waiting, but we finally made it to our designated zone to watch the swearing in ceremony. There was excitement in the air and the crowd would break into a spontaneous “USA” chant every 10 minutes or so. They introduced all of the past presidents that were in attendance as they took their seats. It was the coolest feeling knowing that I was part of history witnessing President Trump and Vice President Pence take their oaths.
After the swearing in ceremony we had time between the parade so we stopped by the Florida House on Capitol Hill. It’s the only state embassy in D.C. and there is a great view of the U.S. Capitol.
We also found the “Wall of Meat” aka Bikers for Trump on our way to the parade. It was like Christmas day, I was so excited to take pictures with them. That night we ate at Barrel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a Southern inspired bourbon bar. If you like whiskey (and fried chicken) this is the place for you, Barrel has hundreds of varieties available.
The best thing I ate this trip was definitely the shrimp scampi at Ristorante Piccolo in Georgetown. My mouth is watering just talking about it. It’s a very romantic restaurant with a second floor balcony so you can overlook Georgetown.
I couldn’t leave Georgetown without visiting the famous Georgetown Cupcakes. Luckily there was no line and all of the flavors were still available! I ordered red velvet, black and white, vanilla buttercream, and s’mores. It’s pretty pricey for a box, but so worth it. I’m very particular with cupcakes and these had the perfect frosting to cake ratio and dare I say….. moist.
After dinner and cupcakes we stopped at Madam’s Organ Blues Bar to continue the inauguration celebration. This bar was crazy — four stories with a blues band performing on the first floor. I wish I had pictures to show, but it was dark and there were obviously drinks involved so none were taken.
Saturday morning we woke up and it was already time to leave! Exhaustion was setting in from all the walking, but we mustered up the energy to go to bottomless brunch. Once we were feeling a little more alive from 3+ mimosas, we took pictures at the U.S. Supreme Court and Capitol. People flooded the streets for the Women’s March on D.C. There were a lot of crazy costumes and interesting signs. One older woman even had a shirt that said “Nasty Nana!”
If you’ve been to a presidential inauguration please share your experience in the comments. I hope to return to D.C. soon to explore more U.S. history and visit the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Museums.