Inaugupocalypse: Staying Warm on the Mall

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

Bringing you the first-hand report of how to keep warm while at Inaugural festivities is friend-of-WLDC Lisa King, local adventurer and accomplished funmonger.

Now that I’m home and warm again after the We Are One concert on the National Mall yesterday, I have a few tips to share with anyone braving other events this week – particularly if you’re planning on watching the Parade or joining the crowd on the Mall to watch the swearing in. 

While it was definitely warmer yesterday than the day before, it was by no means balmy. Here’s what I wore (layers are inside to out):


  • Silk socks
  • Wool socks
  • Cotton socks
  • Hiking boots


  • Heavyweight silk long underwear
  • Danskins
  • Light sweat pants
  • Jeans (luckily they’re a little big on me right now) 


  • Heavyweight silk long underwear
  • Silk tank top
  • Cotton t-shirt
  • Cotton weave shirt
  • Sweatshirt
  • Coat with a hood


  • Silk glove liners
  • (Hand warmer – added after a few hours)
  • Denali gloves


  • Scarf
  • Silk hood
  • Denali hat

I brought 2 extra sweatshirts (one hooded and one fleece) plus a blanket. I ended up wearing one of the sweatshirts and sitting on the other. I finally ended up using the blanket to stand on as a barrier – it’s amazing how much heat diffuses through the ground. (And we had chairs – the concert allowed chairs but the other events won’t.) And we ended up using our hand warmers. They’re inexpensive and last 8 hours so definitely a worthwhile investment. 

So if you’re planning to go to any of the other Inaugural events, here’s what wisdom I can share: 

If you want to see anything, go early. We arrived at 8:30 a.m. and found ourselves a good spot where we could see. 

Bring long lasting, hearty snacks. We started with hot oatmeal from Cosi and also had Kelly’s amazing Chex Mix plus Trader Joe’s Cranberry Oatmeal cookies

Put something between you and the ground. Even if you’re sitting on the bleachers, sit on a newspaper and put your feet on some newspaper. You’ll stay a lot warmer. 

Know what you can bring. Don’t bother bringing a chair if it’s not allowed, but bring that extra blanket if it is.

Don’t rely on cell service or even timely text messages. Even at 8:30 this morning text messages were delayed up to half an hour and by the concert it was almost impossible to get a signal on the Mall. Have contingency plans in place and know when and where to meet up if you get separated.

Know that Metro will be crowded immediately after any event ends. Check out a restaurant and enjoy yourself instead. We went to Ten Penh and enjoyed their Inauguration Special dinner (4 courses for $44) and then walked up to Metro Center. (And of course be sure you have enough to cover your round trip fare on your card before you set out or even better, buy an all day farecard so you don’t have to worry about it. Lines at the farecard machines were still long 2 hours after the concert ended.) 

Bring extra batteries. The cold seemed to have a negative effect on battery life for many people (or maybe it was just how much they were trying to focus their cameras), but if you’re trying to capture memories, the last thing you want is to miss a shot because of a low battery. 

Have fun – going is worth it. Everyone is having a good time and the whole peaceful transfer of power is part of the fun of living in DC, right?

Sports Fix will return Tuesday to be your Inaugural counter-programming.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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One thought on “Inaugupocalypse: Staying Warm on the Mall

  1. NWS says: “Forecast for swearing-in tomorrow at noon is mostly cloudy and 26-30, with wind chill at 17-19 degrees.”