The four of us arrived at the Purple Gate before 7am. There was a neat and orderly line and we proceeded to get to the end at First Street. We waited like good citizens for three hours until we realized that we were going to be shut out unless we did something. We moved to the back of a group of people in front of the gate. There were so many people there that it was like sand going through an hour glass. The shear force of people pushing dragged us through the gate, into security, and through and we found a spot on First Street in front of the Capitol around 11:15am, minutes before the ceremony began.
We had a decent view - I would say we were within a football field's length of the podium and grandstand. It was truly a moving experience and we're very glad that we made it in. I feel bad for the thousands of people who had tickets that did not get to see it, and I feel worse for the thousands trapped in the 3rd Street "Tunnel of Doom."
We were fortunate to get tickets to the Arizona State Society Ball. It was held at the Historical Society of DC, 801 K Street, and it was very close to the official inaugural ball at the DC Convention Center, just a block away. We had no trouble getting through security, which didn't screen us for our ball, and no problem getting into our ball. The food wasn't great, but we anticipated that as several articles prepared us for what to expect. The ball itself was fun - there was dancing, mingling, and even a photo booth. All in all, not a bad experience.