More than a million people poured into Washington in 2009 for the first inauguration of Barack Obama. This time around, a fraction of that number will flood the Mall and the balls, and that means more fun for the rest of us. Whether you’re riding the Metro to the festivities, or you’ve flown in from a far-off city, these are the events you should be at, and they often cost $20 or less. For all inaugural events, including balls, visit the Going Out Guide.
In time for inauguration, the National Portrait Gallery has unveiled two new jacquard tapestry portraits of the president, created by renowned artist Chuck Close. After a more than hour-long photo shoot with the president last summer, Close used the resulting Polaroids as the basis for his weavings, each nearly eight feet tall and more than six feet across. Daily at Eighth and F streets NW. 202-633-1000. www.npg.si.edu. Free. 2012 image by Chuck Close. Photograph by Donald Farnsworth/National Portrait Gallery