President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will make history when they stand in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., this week to be sworn in as our next President and Vice President of the United States, respectively. With the pandemic and extra security in place, the historic day won’t look like previous inaugurations, but you can still attend the ceremony virtually. Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch the 59th inauguration online, including start times, who’s scheduled to perform and more.
When is the Presidential Inauguration?
The inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take place on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. According to a description of the schedule on the official Biden Inaugural Committee site, “After they take their oaths of office, President-elect Biden will deliver an inaugural address laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation.”
What Time Does the Inauguration Start?
The President-elect and Vice President-elect will take office at noon ET on January 20, 2021. However, some of the day’s festivities will begin earlier, including the National Anthem at 11:30 a.m. ET, and “Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americas,” which will be hosted by Keke Palmer, starting at 10 a.m. ET.
How Can You Watch the Inauguration on TV?
While officials are discouraging people from gathering in Washington for the inauguration, you can watch it from just about everywhere on-screen. Most of the major networks will air the inauguration this Wednesday, January 20, including ABC, CBS and NBC, so if you have conventional cable, you can catch it on your TV. The ceremony will also be available online.
How to Watch the Inauguration Without Cable
We also found three streaming service packages that will let you stream the inauguration online and watch the event on popular cable news networks like CNN, FOX News and MSNBC. Sign up for these services now and get instant access (no setup or installation time necessary). A bonus: after Wednesday, these streamers also get you must-watch series and live TV like the Super Bowl.
Hulu + Live TV: With Hulu + Live TV you’ll get instant access to watch the inauguration on CNN, CNBC, and the big three networks like NBC, CBS and ABC (check Hulu’s site for exact availability). In addition to live TV, you’ll have plenty to scroll through with Hulu’s large collection of TV shows, movies and Hulu originals. Right now you can also sign up for Hulu’s Live TV bundle that lets you stream Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ and live TV for $71.99 a month. Going with this bundle also means you can stream the upcoming Super Bowl and shows like Marvel’s WandaVision.
fuboTV: We like fuboTV, which gets you FOX News and MSNBC for analysis, plus all the local networks in your area. Use this deal for fuboTV’s Family plan, which offers 117 channels, including the major networks, news and channels like HGTV and the NFL Network, and lets you watch on three screens at one time. This plan features 250 hours of Cloud DVR and costs $64.99 per month right now (a 15 percent discount).
Want to just watch the inauguration on fuboTV? The site is currently offering a seven-day free trial.
Sling TV: Sling TV’s affordable, $30 Sling Blue plan sets you up with channels like CNN and MSNBC for live coverage and political commentary, plus 10 hours of DVR. Like fuboTV, you can watch it on multiple devices, and if you sign up now, you’ll get a three-day free trial to test it out for yourself. You can watch with Sling on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, with Chromecast, on your Xbox One and more.
Sling also lets you check out local stations, but you’ll need an HD antenna, which comes with the Bonus Locals Bundle package. It’s $99 after you pay upfront for three months of the service.
Who Is Singing the National Anthem and Performing at the Inauguration?
Lady Gaga is set to sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 2021 inauguration on Wednesday morning. Tune in to hear the Oscar and Grammy winner, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. This isn’t the first time Lady Gaga has sang the song either. She previously performed the National Anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl.
Jennifer Lopez will also perform during Wednesday’s ceremony, the New York Times reports, though the official performance time has yet to be announced.
The inauguration performances kicked off with “America United: An Inauguration Welcome Event Celebrating America’s Changemakers” over the weekend and included an appearance by Grammy-nominees Black Pumas, who sang the Record of the Year-nominated “Colors” from the band’s 2020 self-titled album. You can watch their performance and revisit the full stream below. On Sunday night, Keegan-Michael Key and Debra Messing hosted the virtual We the People show featuring Carole King, James Taylor and Ben Harper.
Will There Be an Inauguration Party?
Not exactly, but celebs will still celebrate the new administration virtually that night. Following the inaugural ceremony, Tom Hanks will host a special called Celebrating America, which you can stream online. The January 20 event will air at 8:30 p.m. ET and you can expect to see Bruce Springsteen, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, John Legend and Jon Bon Jovi. Foo Fighters, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemens are also slated to take part in Celebrating America according to reports.
You should be able to watch the Tom Hanks-hosted special on networks from CBS to NBC, and on streaming services above like Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV and Sling TV with the free trials listed above.
Until then, you can stream songs from Springsteen, Mary J. Blige and more on the President-elect and Vice President-elect’s inauguration playlist, which was curated by DJ D-Nice, Issa Rae’s record label Raedio and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, here.
Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.