While President Obama’s second inauguration will definitely be smaller, shorter, and cheaper than 2009’s 1.8 million-person extravaganza, it’s still going to be a pretty large affair. As in 2009, the festivities will begin with a National Day of Service on Saturday, January 19. On Sunday, Obama will take the oath of office in a private ceremony; on Monday, he’ll repeat it for the public. That will be followed by lunch with Congress and a parade from the Capitol to the White House. Later, the Obamas will appear at the Inaugural Ball and the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, which will both be held in the Washington Convention Center. (The First Couple attended 10 balls last time.) The celebration will end on the following day with an invitation-only interfaith prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral.
Though hotel bookings have not kept pace with 2009, when there was a 90 percent occupancy rate on inauguration eve, D.C. tourism officials say that reservations are increasing now that the holidays are over. Lower costs might also have something to do with it: The New York Post reports that “Hotels have been slashing prices, and ticket prices to the inaugural events are expected to go down.” Either way, around 800,000 people are expected to attend this year’s events — that’s twice as many as George W. Bush’s second swearing-in.