Instead, the 12-year-old student from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., went on a less-than-memorable trip.
Chen was with a group of elite students called the Congressional Youth Leadership Council. They were to sit in a reserved area to watch Obama take the oath of office, and their families were asked to pay $2,400 for the tickets.
The way Chen tells it, she and her family did not get what they paid for.
"We walked around DC for four hours and my fingers and toes were freezing," she said.
Chen and her family aren't the only ones hoping to get their money back. Fifteen thousand kids were on the misguided tour. The mass outrage is clearly spelled out on a blog that's gone up in recent days -- http://jrpyicparentcomplaints.webs.com/.
The young girl said the group missed out on events over the five-day trip, missed meals, only got a few hours of sleep and even were left unsupervised at times.
A company spokeswoman told the Record of Bergen County that there were logistical challenges during the inauguration and they are communicating with families to make sure their concerns are addressed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.