Inside, Brown was inside a partially opened casket and dressed in a black suit and yellow and black striped tie. He also wore his black fedora and sunglasses — two accessories he was rarely seen without.
As more than 1,000 mourners streamed through, some stopped to paused as they passed by the casket, set up at the base of center stage to pay their respects to Brown's wife, who was seated nearby.
City officials were permitted to attend the private viewing at 10 a.m., although Mayor Vincent Gray arrived during the public viewing session.
The viewing is free and will be open to the public until 11 p.m.