fb-pixel Skip to main content

Here’s the Inauguration Day schedule of events

From President Trump’s departure, to President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing in, to celebrity performances from Lady Gaga and more, here’s the schedule of inauguration events today.

The National Mall in Washington, D.C., is decorated with US flags on Tuesday, one day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The National Mall in Washington, D.C., is decorated with US flags on Tuesday, one day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump’s tenure will end and a new administration will begin Wednesday afternoon, with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to be sworn into office.

With the COVID-19 pandemic turning most of the usual inauguration events virtual, additional security measures and law enforcement personnel patrolling Washington, D.C., after the Capitol attack, and the traditional meeting of incoming and outgoing presidents scrapped due to Trump’s absence, Wednesday is set to look different from inauguration ceremonies in years past.

Here’s what to expect as the day progresses. BostonGlobe.com will be live-streaming the events.

Early morning: Trump departs the White House

Trump left Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning for his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. A farewell event took place at Joint Base Andrews before he boarded Air Force One for the final time. Trump will be the first president in more than a century to skip his successor’s inauguration.


The outgoing president typically welcomes the incoming president at the White House before they ride to the Capitol together to attend the inauguration ceremony. But with the Trumps’ absences, the Bidens are expected to be greeted by White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, according to CNN.

Midday: Biden and Harris are sworn in — 11:15 a.m. and 12 p.m.

After Harris and Biden arrive at the Capitol at 10:30 a.m., the inauguration ceremony will begin with Father Leo O’Donovan delivering the invocation, Andrea Hall reciting the pledge of allegiance, Lady Gaga singing the national anthem, and Amanda Gorman, the first youth poet laureate in the US, reciting a poem. Jennifer Lopez will perform, and the Reverend Silvester Bearman will deliver a benediction.

Biden and Harris will be sworn in on the West Front of the Capitol at around noon. Biden will be sworn in at noon by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and Harris will be sworn in at 11:15 a.m. by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

After they take their oaths of office, Biden will deliver his first address as president “laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation,” according to the inauguration website.


In attendance at the proceedings will be Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, and members of the Supreme Court, in addition to all living former presidents except for Jimmy Carter: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and their spouses.

In order to reduce the risks of crowds near the Capitol amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural committee has asked people to refrain from traveling to D.C. for the event and instead tune in virtually from home.

In addition to the more than 20,000 National Guard troops who are assigned to protect the event, the National Mall will be closed and only accessible by members of the media and security, in measures announced in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. In previous years, members of the public have gathered on the Mall to watch the proceedings. Airbnb has also announced that it preemptively blocked and cancelled all reservations in the area.

The committee installed 200,000 flags from the National Mall to 13th Street “to represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, D.C,” according to the committee.

The "Field of Flags" is pictured on the National Mall.
The "Field of Flags" is pictured on the National Mall.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Afternoon and evening: Virtual celebrations

After they are sworn in, Harris and Biden, accompanied by their spouses, will participate in a Pass in Review on the East Front of the Capitol with members of the military at 1:40 p.m. Pass in Reviews “are a long-standing military tradition that reflect the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander-in-Chief,” according to the inauguration’s website. Biden will “review the readiness of military troops,” and every branch of the military will be represented.


After the Pass in Review, Biden, Harris, and their spouses will be joined by former presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton and their spouses and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery at 2:25 p.m., “honoring our men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our common values,” according to the inauguration’s website.

Next, Biden and Harris will head to the White House for the first time as president and vice president. A presidential escort will bring them from 15th Street to the White House at 3:15 p.m., accompanied by every branch of the military and performances by the drumlines of the University of Delaware and Howard University, Biden and Harris’ alma maters.

There also won’t be a traditional inauguration parade down Pennsylvania Avenue this year.

Instead, there will be a virtual “Parade Across America,” featuring performances from all 56 states and territories, according to the inauguration website. It will feature performances from Jon Stewart, Earth, Wind & Fire, and feature Olympic athletes and Nathan Apodaca, the skateboarding, Ocean Spray-drinking TikTok star, among others.

A star-studded event with musical performances and remarks from Biden and Harris called “Celebrating America” will take place Wednesday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Among the performers are Tyler Hubbard, Tim McGraw, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, and Justin Timberlake.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.