How To Apply For A Ticket To The Inauguration If You Want To Witness History

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The crowds for President Obama's first inauguration in 2009 were estimated at up to 2 million people. Then in 2013 about 1 million lined the National Mall to see Beyoncé rendition of the national anthem — as well as Obama's second swearing-in, of course. This year, the size of the crowd is anyone's guess, but tickets are the key to getting a good spot. So if you want a ticket to the inauguration, here's how to apply. The process is relatively easy, but there are no guarantees. Send in your request early.

There are 538 people that you can write to help get your tickets. That's every single senator and representative in the United States Congress. They all get tickets that they can share with the general public, but they are of course limited, hence the hurry. Some require that you be a constituent of their district, so look up your senators' contact info here, or your representative's office phone or email here.

If you're lucky, one of your members of Congress can hook you up. If so, the tickets are totally free, and they'll help you get close enough to the Capitol on Jan. 20 that you can actually make out those on stage. If for some reason they don't have any left — or if you're not selected (each member of Congress can choose how to distribute their own tickets) — you have the option of watching from a non-ticketed viewing area farther back on the Mall. Traditionally there are large TV screens scattered about that show the event in detail.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. President Barack Obama is displayed on a jumbotron setup on the National Mall for the Inauguration ceremony on January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. The U.S. capital is preparing for the second inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, which will take place on January 21. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In addition to the inauguration, you might want to consider seeing the inaugural parade. The parade begins after the inaugural luncheon and features the president making his way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. There, he would traditionally stop and let the parade continue on. There are plenty of free areas to watch the parade, and there are some ticketed areas too. There's a form online to inquire about tickets if you're interested.

If an inaugural ball also strikes your fancy, you can fill out that same request form from the Presidential Inaugural Committee. They will work out who will be given tickets and how much those events cost. Check out their website for updated information. In 2012, the ball that was open to the public cost $60, but that could vary in 2017. Other parties around Washington can be even more exclusive, but expect to pay an even higher entry fee.

If going to D.C. to celebrate Donald Trump's inauguration doesn't appeal to you, don't forget that you could attend the Women's March on Washington the next day, Jan. 21, instead. Rather than celebrating the new administration, they'll be reminding it to respect women's rights. Now that makes a trip to D.C. worth it.