Washington DC

How to Safely Celebrate the Biden-Harris Inauguration in DC

Crack an Amtrak Joe Pilsner or Madame Veep IPA.

Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock
Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock
Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock

The 2021 presidential inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take place on Wednesday, January 20, starting at 12 pm eastern time, following Biden’s train journey from his home in Wilmington, Delaware to the nation’s capitol-a trip the President-Elect took daily for 36 years while he was a U.S. senator. 

Biden will then take his oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, the same building that just last week was attacked by a mob of Trump supporters, leaving five dead. Thus, in the interest of public safety, the Biden Inaugural Committee has not only scaled back the day’s events, but actively urged Americans to watch the inauguration festivities from home rather than risk journeying to Washington. 

For those already inside the city, public access to the Capitol grounds will not be available during the ceremony, and The National Parks Service has said that they would close the Washington Monument to tours through January 24 due to “credible threats to visitors and park resources.” Keep in mind that roads, parking areas, and bathrooms near the National Mall might also be closed, and that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the public emergency she declared last Wednesday for an extra 15 days to ensure the safety of all Washingtonians.

“Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds on January 6,” Bowser said during a news conference on Monday.

It helps a bit that House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who chairs the inaugural committee, said last week that a whopping 80 percent of the festivities that would normally take place in Washington surrounding an inauguration would actually be taking place virtually this year, giving Americans the perfect opportunity to stay safe while they witness history in the making.

NumenaStudios/Shutterstock
NumenaStudios/Shutterstock
NumenaStudios/Shutterstock

How to watch and schedule of events

To watch the inauguration events simply flick on any major news network such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, Telemundo, Univision, CNN, and MSNBC. Pre-inauguration festivities are expected to begin at 9:30 am eastern time, while Biden and Harris are scheduled to be sworn in at noon. 

For those without cable or a television, you can also tune in via the above networks’ YouTube channels, or on the official White House website. Livestreaming from your television sans cable is also possible if you own a device like the Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, or Xbox One. Following Biden’s speech, a wreath laying ceremony and “Pass in Review,” a virtual parade will replace what traditionally would have been thousands of Americans gathering on the National Mall for in-person festivities. 

Inaugural planners have said that the parade will be a celebration of America’s heroes, highlighting Americans from all walks of life in every region of the country. It’s a fitting celebration to match Biden’s chosen theme of “America United,” which his inaugural committee has said “reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.”

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Celebrate from home with inauguration specials

Just because you can’t attend the presidential inauguration in-person this year doesn’t make the occasion any less a cause for celebration. Instead, don your best red, white, and blue loungewear and nestle up on the couch with housemates and local inauguration specials, such as Atlas Brew Works presidential new beers. 

The solar-powered craft brewery has just rolled out their brand new Amtrak Joe Pilsner and Madam Veep’s IPA ahead of the festivities, a limited edition cheers to the president-elect and vice president. The two celebratory beers are made in collaboration with OccasionAles.com. Orders are available for pickup at Atlas Half Street Brewery & Tap Room starting January 16.

Not a beer person? Whiskey and cocktail bar Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Adams Morgan is also lifting a glass to the occasion with a special Inauguration cocktail kit-for-two. Available to-go, the kit is being called Jack Rose’s A Boozy New Deal and features a four-course cocktail tasting showcasing American-made spirits. Order via Tock now through the 20th.

Those ready to order some food in for the festivities can get lunch easily sorted with Immigrant Food‘s new bowl launching on the 14th called Madame VP’s Heritage Bowl. An ode to the soon-to-be vice president Kamala Harris, the dish pays homage to both Harris’ Jamaican and Indian cultural backgrounds with flavorful coconut-milk curried chicken, chickpeas, potatoes, pineapples, plantains, and a hint of spicy peppers served over turmeric rice and baby spinach.

Sandwich lovers can get their fix from Capitol Hill’s Fight Club, which is also rolling out Inauguration food and drink specials from January 13-20 that will be available for patio service, carry out, and delivery. Brand new sandwich specials are inspired by President- and Vice President-elects’ go-to sandwiches.

The Biden’s Bobbie is loaded with turkey, sausage stuffing, potato mayo and cranberry sauce on a hoagie roll, and the PED of JOE is a chocolate-peanut butter ice cream sandwich that plays on Biden’s love of the frozen confection. Harris, who schooled a fellow senator in the art of making a “mean tuna melt” last year, gets her own Fight Club version of the classic sandwich featuring tuna salad, spicy chips, American cheese, and a hard-boiled egg on country white bread.Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Austa Somvichian-Clausen is a freelance food and travel writer, as well as a staff writer for The Hill where she covers the topics of diversity and equality. Follow her on Instagram.

Washington DC

The Eight Most Exciting Suburbs Outside DC

You could use a little space.

Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock

When people say Washington, DC, it’s hard to tell if they’re talking about The District proper, or the sprawling metro area that is sometimes nicknamed the DMV: The District, Maryland, and Virginia. The fact is that DC is made whole by its vibrant suburbs, whether you’re looking for a shopping center dedicated almost entirely to Vietnamese cuisine, a rock climbing wall in-you guessed it-Rockville, or a wetland preserve that’s wide open for hiking and fresh air.

The DC suburbs practically have it all, and you can reach many of these neighborhoods by bike, public transit, or a set of four wheels. Here are eight great suburban destinations that you may find yourself visiting soon. We won’t judge you if you want to stay.

Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville

Rockville

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Many people will inevitably cruise Rockville Pike, aka 355, for all of its big-box delights, since this retail corridor has always been a sprawly place to shop for decades. But more recently, Rockville has become something entirely different. It’s walkable and bikeable, thanks to the Pike & Rose development. And it remains a destination for some of the best Chinese soup dumplings in the DMV at A&J Restaurant and Bob’s Shanghai 66. Rockville is also, fittingly, home to the best rock climbing wall attracting serious spelunkers and climbing newbies alike. And it remains a place for family-run restaurants, many of which are run by immigrants. For a small taste of the magic of this Montgomery County suburb, visit Bombay Bistro for Chef K.N.Vinod and Surfy Rahman’s take on Indian fare from the country’s southern region. Like many of the best eateries in Rockville, this restaurant is tucked away in a shopping strip. When you find it, you’ll be rewarded with mouth-watering dosas, biryani, and vindaloo.

Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette

Bethesda

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
Anyone who grew up near Bethesda has probably spent their early teenage years loitering at the Bethesda’s Regal Cinema or by The Barnes & Noble water fountain. Now, both of those legendary spots of yesteryear have been transformed into a suburban-style city with sidewalk cafes, trendy shopping, and an upgraded Capital Crescent Trail-a longtime favorite with joggers and bikers. Bethesda is also home to a world of flavors: Fresh Baguette for Parisian-style pastries, Pesca Deli for Portuguese, Taqueria El Jalapeño for tasty tacos, and Passage to India just to name a few. To reach all of these places, you can hop aboard the Bethesda Circulator, a free shuttle service that picks you up at the Bethesda Metro station and takes you in a loop around town.

Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks

Wheaton

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
There is absolutely no beating Wheaton when a food craving hits, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This Maryland suburb, just north of DC on Metro’s red line, has one of the best diners in the region, Nick’s Diner, owned and operated by Nick Markopoulos and his Greek family. For lunch, Wheaton is home to a handful of pupuserias that are indicative of this neighborhood’s Salvadoran community. Pupuseria La Familiar, Los Chorros, and Irene’s Pupusas are three great options. Finally, for dinner, Peruvian chicken at El Pollo Rico or Bolivian fare, and specifically the beef silpancho, at Kantuta’s are hearty and tasty offerings. Finish your day of dining on a high note with a cannoli or rainbow cookie from Filippo’s Deli. After a day of eating, you’ll need to walk off all those carbs. Go for a leisurely stroll around the pond at Wheaton Regional Park’s Brookside Gardens. The park is a five-minute drive north of Wheaton’s retail corridor, and it’s free and open to the public year-round.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.

Hyattsville

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
A brewery tour is a safe bet when visiting Hyattsville, Maryland-a community with a small-town vibe, located in Prince George’s County, just across The District line. A primary reason why beer nerds flock here is Franklins, a brewpub that last year opened a tiki-themed bar in its parking lot to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, plus Franklins makes its own root beer if you prefer some nonalcoholic suds. That’s in addition to a historic hardware shop that’s been converted into a bottle shop, with a wide collection of craft beer and local wine. Nearby on Route 1, find a local brewery that specializes in outdoor drinking. Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. opened two years ago and is named in homage to the 82 Streetcar line which ran by the brewery’s site from 1888 to 1957. This converted auto garage now serves hop-forward beers and has bike rack parking and picnic tables, perfect for a Sunday Funday. For more craft beers from around the country paired with wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Paradiso is a top-notch eater across the street, and cap off your crawl by swinging by Maryland Meadworks, which serves a range of meads from sweet to semi-sweet to dry.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Upper Marlboro

Distance from DC: 45 minutes
Fulfill your childhood wonder and delight at the greatest playground in the DMV. Watkins Regional Park is great for kids (or the kid at heart) looking to romp around themed playgrounds. The first is a horse-racing-themed playground, part of Maryland’s legacy as a horse racing capital. Meanwhile, the second option is the stuff of fairy tales-a Wizard of Oz-inspired playground, complete with a yellow brick road, a ruby slippers slide, and an Emerald City climbing wall. Grownups and kids alike will also enjoy the hiking options at nearby Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, an expansive preserve that’s part of the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River. There are more than 1,700 acres of unique freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks, meadows, pines and sand barrens, plus fields and park areas for an afternoon picnic. If you’d rather fuel up than bring-your-own food, Upper Marlboro’s Main Street Coffee & Treats is where the community gathers for coffee, pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and vegan cupcakes at all hours of the day.

Photo Courtesy of Ada's on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River

Old Town Alexandria

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
With waterfront views, historic homes along cobblestone streets, and a trolley that goes up and down King Street for free, it’s hard not to imagine why Old Town Alexandria wouldn’t be on our suburban list. You might come for the charm, but there’s a lot more to this city than just Instagram-worthy streetscapes. The Torpedo Factory is a burgeoning artist enclave for purchasing one-of-a-kind sculptures and artwork. Those who prefer a pleasure cruise down the Potomac can take the Potomac River Water Taxi to or from the city. And outdoor eating by the water offers plenty of space and social distance. The food and outdoor surroundings at Ada’s on the River and King & Rye, two of Alexandria’s latest eatery additions, are great places to book a weekend brunch.

Eden Center
Eden Center
Eden Center

Falls Church

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Most people know Falls Church as the home of Eden Center-a shopping center with dozens of Vietnamese businesses and restaurants. This might be the biggest draw for Falls Church food lovers. However, there are several more reasons to make this Northern Virginia suburb a part of your food bucket list. Start at Takumi, a popular Japanese sushi spot, serving quality grade sashimi, sake, and sushi tastings. Got a craving for cavatelli? Then book it to Thomspon Italian. Chef Gabe Thompson and Pastry Chef Katherine Thompson are a husband and wife team who make this spot feel more like home. While the dining room remains closed, Thompson is offering several of its top dishes, including housemade pasta and gelatos, for pickup.

Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap

Tysons Corner

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
When you visit Tysons Corner, you’re probably here to do one thing-shop until you drop. Tysons is home to two malls, sometimes nicknamed Tysons I (Tysons Corner Center) and Tysons II (Tysons Galleria). The former is pretty typical while the latter leans more upscale. Not surprisingly, Tysons II also has good taste in food. Find the Urbanspace Food Hall, home to Donburi DC and Andy’s Pizza, plus an upscale pastry shop called Lady M. Aside from the shopping and dining, another good reason to visit Tysons this summer might be for a concert. The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts recently announced its outdoor summer concert lineup, which could start as soon as the end of May. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

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Tim Ebner is a contributor for Thrillist. 

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