December 4th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
12 years ago

National Mall to be open for Obama inauguration

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The National Mall, above, will be open on Inauguration Day."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that the entire length of the National Mall will be open on Inauguration Day — the first time in history that expanse has been open to the public.

With anywhere from one to four million visitors expected to descend on the nation’s capital to view President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing in, authorities have wrestled with the task of finding enough viewing space. Just 240,000 tickets were expected to be issued for the event.

The National Mall, which has traditionally been a staging ground for the inaugural parade, can hold an estimated one million. The parade staging area has been moved elsewhere.

Space is still limited on Capitol grounds, site of the actual swearing in - Mall spectators will be able to view the proceedings on large TV screens set up by the PIC.

The PIC, which said further details would be released soon, did not say how admission to the Mall would be handled. Those hoping to camp out early to get a prime viewing spot are out of luck — the Secret Service has said they will need the Mall clear early on the morning of the inauguration in order to do a security sweep.

Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Barbara in NC

    What a traffic and security mess. Think I'll stay home and watch it on tv.

    December 4, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Richie

    This is fantabulous! I cannot wait! I hope they are planning to have all the metro trains up and running at max capacity.

    December 4, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Out-of-control consumer


    December 4, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Mia-Stafford


    December 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Milhouse van Houten

    Nice gesture to accommodate the crowds but it will be a security nightmare to say the least......behave people.

    December 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. J.Crobuzon

    Meanwhile, Bush will slink out the back door of the White House and be taken by chopper to his daddy's house.

    December 4, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Empty suit, empty promises

    Why are we not hearing that DC is going to keep the bars open till 05:00 am for THREE days while the chosen one is coronated into his rightful throne?

    Don't they know the Kennedy's are going to be there and they and alcohol don't exactly "get along".

    Seriously, what kind of a message does that send, you peasants have to close down at 02:00 am, but the media annointed one is having a party, so pen up the spickets for three days and let's get lit everyone.

    What kind of message is that sending?

    Think about it.

    December 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. R.L.H.

    What if it Snows? It happened before.

    December 4, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Dutch/VA

    The Mall can not hold all the people that will be there on 1/20/09. People are going to be packed in like sardines. Pretty similar to an Obama rally.

    December 4, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    If you are claustrophobic, don't go there!

    December 4, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Shane

    Comment for Empty suit, empty promises: Get a life.

    December 4, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Once a rock star, always a rock star. Let's hope Al Queda isn't geared up to take advantage of the biggest target we could ever give them.

    December 4, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Brad

    "empty suit"... The election is over, man. Your guy lost. However, your constant whining isn't going to change the fact that Obama will take office and lead the country in a new direction. I had to accept Gore's loss. It's time for you to move on and hope for the best.

    December 4, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Let's Unite

    Empty suit-

    ....huh? If bar owners want to stay open until 5 a.m. then so be it, if they want to close I'm sure they can do that too. Increasing business and business hours is actually good for the economy believe it or not. I for one will be happy to buy myself and others some beers well into the morning to celebrate this fantastic occasion.

    Yes these are troubling times, but what kind of message does it send if Obama orders everyone to sit at home and not celebrate because he believes can't afford it? No worthy economist will suggest that.

    I'm excited to support our new President and I am excited to celebrate his inauguration.

    I will see you all in D.C. The first round is on me.

    December 4, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Peter (CA)


    The message is "our long national nightmare is over".

    Get real-this is about what it is always about: commerce.

    The economy is tanked and this is a way for Washington to try to make some money off of the deal.

    December 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. rodlang

    Go ahead and take a swim in the Reflecting Pool....they supposedly cleaned it a few years ago.

    December 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Virginia

    WOO-HOO!! I can hardly wait–oh, but no, I won't even be watching on TV. I will be WORKING that day. Can hardly stand the thoughts of it anyway.

    December 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. jerry murnighan

    i wonder if the tourist are going to get sprayed before they can go in. we sure donot what to smell like a tourist , right harry. where is the coverage of this ? oh, i forgot he is a dem leader""""

    December 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Rosie Callender

    I hope that we will get the change to see the first bi-racial president get out of the car and shake a few hands, but I am sure, because of safety that would not be a good ideal.

    December 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Sheena - Kingston

    to empty suit empty promises:

    Get a life!!

    December 4, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. obama-mama

    Wow, what an honor....

    December 4, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Dave, Central Illinois

    In these economic times, this is obcene.

    December 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Rosie Callender

    I am not sure about to much partying it could turn into a mess. On the other hand I think due to what we have gone through for the last eight years we deserve to celebrate.

    December 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Kathy in NC

    The "empty suit, empty promise" blogger get over the fact the election did not go the way you wanted. 66 million people decided they believed Obama is the one for this time in our country. Whether or not you supported him he is going to be our President on January 20th. All of the people who are involved in the inaguaration preparation or planning understand the historic nature, and want to accomodate the millions who will be on hand. It will certainly stimulate the economy in DC and surrounding areas. I believe people can be celebratory without being wasted. I think it will be a scene much like what we saw at Grant Park. There will be those who will indulge but they will be in the minority.

    December 4, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Question

    Will Obama's empty suit be there with him?

    December 4, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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