Things to Do

Inauguration Week: Things to Do in Washington, January 19-20

Plus: Take some deep breaths.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hello everyone!

We’ve got meditation, book talks, and inauguration celebrations.

It’s about time.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Exhale: It’s been a tense month…year…era. Take some deep breaths and join the National Museum of Asian Art’s free virtual meditation sessions. DC teachers Aparna Sadananda and Philip Bender will walk you through a guided meditation (and if you like this one, you can join them three times a week for the next couple weeks). Wednesday 1/20 at noon; Free, register here.

You might’ve seen him on TV news: Frank Figliuzzi, who formerly led counterintelligence at the FBI, is releasing The FBI Way: Inside the Bureau’s Code of Excellence. Part memoir, part behind-the-scenes look at the agency, Figliuzzi explores his responsibility as the FBI’s “Keeper of the Code.” Figliuzzi will chat with Andrew Hammond, a curator and historian at the International Spy Museum, in a virtual book talk. Thursday 1/21 at noon; Free, registration required.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an inauguration tomorrow. Here’s a rundown of some official and unofficial events to celebrate:

In memoriam: To honor the 400,000 lives lost to Covid-19, the Presidential Inaugural Committee is hosting a ceremony that will light up the Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial. Other cities across the country are invited to ring church bells and light up their buildings to mark a “national moment of unity and remembrance.” Tuesday, January 19 at 5:30 PM. Find out more here.

A virtual inaugural ball: While Washington parties are called off this year, you can still attend the online “AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers.” Join the event to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and ring in inauguration eve with celebs, politicians, comics, and others. Highlights include Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan; actors John Cho, Kumail Nanjiani, Kal Penn, and Chloe Bennet; and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Ami Bera, Andy Kim, and Raja Krishnamoorthi. Musical artists Japanese Breakfast, Ari Afsar, and Raja Kumar are in the lineup, too. Tuesday 1/19 at 7 PM; Free, watch it here.

More multicultural fun: The Presidential Inaugural Committee’s “We Are One” party will celebrate Black Americans and those within the African diaspora. Hosted by Terrence J, the virtual event will feature music from Tobe Nwigwe, DJ D-Nice, Step Afrika, the local trio String Queens, The O’Jays, and Rapsody. Catch comedian Leslie Jones and appearances from various politicians including Stacey Abrams, Jim Clyburn, Cory Booker, Raphael Warnock, and more. Tuesday 1/19 at 8 PM; Free, watch it here.

Another star-studded line up: At “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise,” a virtual party, you’ll hang out with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Ivy Queen, Becky G, and more. Eva Longoria is hosting, and you’ll hear music from Gilberto Santa Rosa, Gaby Moreno, Emilio Estefan and others. Tuesday 1/19 at 9:30 PM; Free, watch it here.

Madam Vice President: Explore the life of Kamala Harris on the eve of her ascension to the Vice Presidency with reporter Dan Morain, author of the newly released Kamala’s Way: An American Life. In a virtual event with Politics and Prose, he’ll chat with Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty about Harris’s career from California prosecutor to headline-making Senator to presidential candidate—and, now, historic Veep. Details: Tuesday January, 19 at 8 PM; Free ($28-$36 for a ticket with the book included), register here.

For West Wing nerds: Hang with President Bartlet in “Mr. President: An Evening with Martin Sheen,” an online event from Smithsonian Associates. Sheen will talk to U.S. News & World Report White House correspondent Ken Walsh about his fictional presidency, the enduring influence of the West Wing in pop culture, and how the show affected the nation’s view of politicians IRL. Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 PM; $20-$25, buy tickets here.

It’s official: The swearing-in ceremony will be at noon; Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths on the west side of the Capitol building. Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez will be the musical performer. Also on the agenda: a reading from poet Amanda Gorman. Former Georgetown University president Father Leo O’Donovan will give the invocation, while the benediction will come from Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman of Delaware. Andrea Hall, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 3920, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Details: You’ll be able to watch the full day’s events on cable news or you can stream it on YouTube here. (Everything will also be available on the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch.)

Parade: The inaugural parade is going virtual this year. Tony Goldwyn (yet another fictional president in town!) will host the celebration. There will be a bunch of exciting guests and speakers, including Jon Stewart, New Radicals, Earth Wind & Fire, the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, the local Washington Chorus, and more. See popular TikTok stars like lip synching skateboarder Nathan Apodaca and Jason Campbell, a.k.a. the TikTok Doc. There’s a lineup of various performers from across the country, featuring drill teams, steel drummers, and flag twirlers. In a special “Dance Across America” segment, choreographer Kenny Ortega will lead 275 people in 30 states (plus two territories). The festivities will start at 3:15 PM.

The actual party: Tom Hanks will host “Celebrating America,” an evening TV program  that will feature Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as well as performances from Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons, and Justin Timberlake. Other performers include Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, and Foo Fighters. Hear a country duet from Tyler Hubbard and Tim McGraw, a set from the Black Pumas, and see Ozuna and Luis Fonsi in DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic” segment. The 90-minute show will recognize “American heroes who are helping their fellow Americans through this crisis, including frontline workers, healthcare workers, teachers, citizens giving back, and those who are breaking barriers,” according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dolores Huerta, José Andrés, and Kim Ng will be part of the program as well. See the full program starting at 8:30 PM on Wednesday.

For more inauguration information, check out our events roundup here.


This will be DC tomorrow morning.

It’s Donald Trump’s last day as president. As that sinks in, I’m remembering what inauguration day was like four years ago, when the city cleared out in anticipation of a lackluster celebration. That day I was out reporting for Washingtonian, covering a group of cannabis activists who handed out more than 8,000 joints to a long line of folks in Dupont Circle. I have to say that this year’s inauguration will be much more exciting, even without the free weed.

If you’re celebrating wherever you are—living room, porch, on your street—we’d love to see it! Tag us on social media with #WashMagPhoto or email your champagne selfies to for a chance to be featured on our website.

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.