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The 10 things you really need to know before heading out for Inauguration Day

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What with cold weather, crowds, traffic and other rather intense logistical considerations, lots of planning should precede your Inauguration Day trip. Here’s our list of the most important practical inauguration survival tips. (For example: Leave the balloons at home.)

Do your research before traveling. Many roads and bridges will be closed around the District, and so will a few Metro stations. Here are the details.

If you drive, be prepared for a parking headache. Metered spots throughout the District will be tagged with “Emergency No Parking” signs. Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service, allows people to book spots in some lots and garages.

Dress for cold feet and heads. We have it on good authority that a trapper hat is the best for keeping warm. High temperatures will be in the low- to mid-30s. Follow the Capital Weather Gang for the latest forecast.

Stay safe. Don’t flaunt your smartphone on the Metro. Keep big cash at home. It’s all common sense.

Don’t bring the kitchen sink. Some things are prohibited around the inauguration areas — and be prepared, this is confounding: Water bottles are okay, but not Thermos-type containers. Small signs are fine, but balloons of any size are forbidden. Umbrellas, folding chairs and suitcases — nope. Make sure you review the lists of prohibited items, which all differ depending on whether you’re on Metro, the parade route, near the White House reviewing stand, at inaugural balls, on the Capitol grounds and so on.

Pack some snacks in your pocket. Some establishments will be closed, but some of D.C.’s food trucks will be working the streets near the parade route and other locations in the District.

Make sure the kids don’t get bored. People are discouraged from bringing very young children to the inauguration. But KidsPost has ways to help turn the day into a learning experience. If you’re heading downtown, stop by The Washington Post building so your kids can write letters to President Obama. And perhaps warm up a bit.

Plan your partying. Metro will be open until 2 a.m. Unofficial inaugural ball tickets are still available. More than 150 restaurants and bars have permission to stay open for 24 hours and serve drinks until 4 a.m. Here’s what to wear: for guys and for the ladies.

Locate the bathrooms. Our inauguration pocket guide locates not only the restrooms, but shows you were to find food trucks, parade entrance routes, museums and much more. Print it, download it, save it on your smartphone.

Find your friends. Share your photos from your location on Instagram or Twitter with #imthere.

Read more from The Washington Post:

Inauguration Day walking guide

Travel tips for out of towners attending inauguration events

Metro planning bus service changes for Inauguration Day

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