Everything We Know About the 2021 Inauguration, Including How to Watch


The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will take place on Wednesday, January 20 in Washington D.C. (Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also be sworn in that day.) All eyes will be on this event more than ever, especially after January 6’s Capitol riot that led to multiple arrests and five deaths. The Washington Post reported on January 13 that the Secret Service is launching a “massive security operation” to ensure the inauguration happens as safely as possible. Per NBC, extremists are planning even more violent attacks for the day, so the added security measures are vital. 

President Donald Trump announced on January 8 that he is not going to the inauguration, making him the first POTUS since the 1800s to skip his successor’s ceremony. Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly be there, though, in addition to all other living former presidents except Jimmy Carter. “President and Mrs. Carter will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and look forward to a successful administration,” Deanna Congileo, a Carter Center spokesperson, said in a statement to CNN.

Normally, millions of Americans attend the inauguration in person, but because of the coronavirus and safety measures, Biden’s team is urging people to watch the festivities from home. If you plan on doing that, here’s everything you need to know. 

When and where is the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden? 

Wednesday, January 20 at the Capitol building. (The ceremony is still slated to happen there even in light of January 6’s riot.) Biden and Harris are expected to be sworn in around noon ET. Pre-inauguration commentary will start around 9:30 a.m. ET. 

How can you watch the inauguration? 

Major news networks, like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, and MSNBC, will be streaming the inauguration. You can access most of these channels on streaming services like Hulu With Live TV and YouTube TV. The White House’s official website will also have a stream you can watch. 

What happens after the inauguration? 

A virtual parade is scheduled to happen that afternoon. “The parade will celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era,” reads a press release

In lieu of an inaugural ball, there will be a TV special, Celebrating America, happening January 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET across networks and streaming platforms, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC. The special will be hosted by Tom Hanks. 

Who is performing at the inauguration? 

Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake will both perform during the Celebrating America special. “I’m SO honored to announce that I will be joining @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris for their special event, Celebrating America, on January 20th at 8:30pm ET/PT,” Lovato tweeted. “I was left speechless when I was asked to perform! Tune in with various tv networks & live streaming services.” 

“I’m very excited,” Timberlake told the Today show. “So incredibly excited. What an honor.”

Can you attend the inauguration in person?

Public access is  limited. There will be “no public access to the Capitol grounds” on inauguration, according to NPR. The Washington Monument will also halt tours through January 24 due to “credible threats to visitors and park resources,” according to the National Park Service. So, in other words, stay home. 

We’ll update this post with more information about the inauguration as it comes in. 


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