For many, the day started with a long wait in line, but once past the security check and through the gates, those who showed up early for the inauguration passed the time dancing, singing, even playing cards.
And there was plenty of space for everyone.
From Donald Trump's thousands of devotees to the few dissenters.
"I've been waiting for this for 2 years. [I've] supported him since the beginning," said Tom Miller, who was one of many on the mall today wearing the Trump campaign's iconic "Make America Great Again" hats.
Kitty Lewan and her son traveled from Michigan to protest the new president.
"I'm a proud American, but I'm not proud of today," said Lewan.
But as the ceremony approached, it stopped feeling like a rally and more like, well, an inauguration.
High school students from all across the country and of varying political persuasions spoke about witnessing history and being able to tell their own children one day that they were here.
"Whether you like Trump or not, if you have a chance to come, you need to come and be a part of it," said Karen Beebe, a Trump supporter and teacher from Virginia Beach. "I would have come for Obama if I had the chance."
But while it may have been hard for Beebe to find a place to stand for Obama's first inauguration eight years ago, she and everyone else today had more than enough space to enjoy Trump's swearing-in.
"I don’t know if it’s the rain that’s keeping people away or the fear of protest," said Anne Marie Conway, standing towards the very back of the less-than-capacity crowd.
The rain did finally come down just as the newly sworn-in President Trump began his Inaugural address, but no one seemed to mind.