My family and I went down to DC for Inauguration. We stayed off the Mall - there were literally hundreds of thousands of people and I don't like being in that big a crowd. We saw those types of crowds last time and when Stewart/Colbert did their Rally a couple of years ago. Instead, we got bleacher seats on Pennsylvania Avenue on the parade route (at a substantial fee). We got to listen to the speeches and platform party remarks and we got to enjoy what turned out to be a pretty good day.
It is interesting being there for real American history being made. I wasn't really keen on going down - I was fine watching it on TV. But, I have to say that I did enjoy being there live. We were sitting at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House is at 1600 Pennsylvania, so we were pretty close to the end of the parade route. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the President walking in front of us. He got out of his limo and walked about 5 blocks before our spot and then about 2 blocks after us. We did see him in his limo with the Secret Service all around, but I would have loved to have seen him walking. Can't have everything I guess.
Security was thorough but easy enough to get through. We only had to wait about 10 minutes in line to get in. I think part of it was the fact that we paid good money to be where we were. The snipers and spotters on top of buildings were everywhere. My kids really found that part of the security system fascinating. There were a couple of high rise hotels that were around our bleacher area, so it looked like they were pretty busy watching for suspicious activity. I'm sure the proximity to so many hotel rooms overlooking the parade route was a big reason the President didn't get out near us.
The thing I will say is that being in DC today, one could really see how much love this President has. It was a great, diverse crowd of Americans having a good time and being witnesses to history.