US inauguration 2021 guide: When and where to watch events

Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Thursday, while his predecessor, Donald Trump, is expected to retreat to his Mar-a-Lago resort.

It's been more than two months since the US election, when Biden secured 306 electoral college votes - enough to beat the incumbent President.

Since then, Trump and his associates have repeated unfounded claims of electoral fraud, culminating in a rally on January 6 where the President incited his supporters to march on Capitol Hill as it certified Biden's victory. Five people died in the chaos and Trump was subsequently impeached for his role. 

More than 25,000 National Guard members and lines of barricades currently surround the Capitol where Biden will be inaugurated. Alongside him on Thursday will be Kamala Harris, the former California Senator, who will become the first woman to hold the position of vice-President. 

Here's how events will unfold on Thursday: 

Donald Trump, the outgoing President, is expected to leave the White House for Florida early in the morning and won't meet Biden as is custom. He also won't attend the inauguration, but his vice-President, Mike Pence, will. 

There's a small leaving party planned for Trump, but it's reported few people want to attend after the events of January 6. It's speculated the ceremony could include everything from a military band to a 21-gun salute. 

Whether we hear from Trump on Thursday is currently unclear. He has already given his farewell address, but some off-the-cuff remarks wouldn't be a surprise.

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have already arrived in Washington DC from Delaware. 

The inaugural ceremony will begin at 4:30am in New Zealand, but opening remarks from figures Kiwis will recognise aren't expected until about 5:30am. There will be several speeches and formalities before Biden and Harris are sworn in around 6am. 

  • will be live-updating events from President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration from 4am, while The AM Show will have live coverage and expert opinion from 5:30am.

Among those in attendance will be President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton. Former President Jimmy Carter, 96, and his wife Rosalynn won't attend but have sent their best wishes.

Biden will be sworn in by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts while Harris will be sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayer. 

After the pair have taken their oaths of office, Biden will deliver his first address which will lay "out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation."

The Bidens as well as Harris and her partner Doug Emhoff will then conduct a "Pass in Review" on the East front of the Capitol with members of the military. This is described as a "long-standing military tradition that reflects the peaceful transfer of power to a new Commander-in-Chief."

Following on from this, the new executives will visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They will be accompanied by the Obamas, Bushs, and Clintons. 

At about 9am, Biden will be escorted to the White House by members of every branch of the military.

Events will conclude with a 90-minute primetime special at 2:30pm hosted by actor Tom Hanks. It will feature the likes of Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, and Kerry Washington.