The Rose Parade in Pasadena, California is held on either January 1st, or if the 1st is a Sunday, then January 2nd each year. January 2018 will be the 129th Rose Parade. Pretty amazing, right?
The parade actually serves two unique purposes. The first, of course, is to welcome in the New Year. And the second is to have one of the best pre-game kickoff celebrations in the world. The parade finishes right at the start of college football’s biggest game, “The Grandaddy of Them All,” The Rose Bowl.
In this post, we’re going to give you everything you need to know to make sure you’ve got the best seats in the house to watch the parade in sunny Southern California.
Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
Now, viewing the parade sounds a bit easier than it really is. The fact of the matter is, millions of people crowd the streets along the 5.5-mile long parade route to get prime seating. There are really only three ways to catch the festivities along the parade route:
Buy tickets in the Grandstand Seating Area, these will run about $50 and up.
You can actually start camping overnight to reserve a great spot from noon the day before the parade – be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes and food!
Stake out a good spot along the parade route the morning of the event.
If you want to get there early and see all the action at the start of the parade, head to Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard.
Since there is usually quite a bit of ceremony around the start of the parade, it usually doesn’t kick off until 9am, so you can show up as late as 10am towards the end of the parade route and still have a chance to see the floats.
Generally, as the parade moves away from the Rose Bowl, the crowds begin to thin out a bit. So if you can head further down the route toward Colorado Boulevard and where the parade makes a turn at North Sierra Madre Boulevard, you’ll be able to grab a few spots.
If you want to avoid the crowds but still see all the floats, you can do that too. For those who’d love to get their hands dirty, check out how you can volunteer to help decorate the floats in late December.
If you just want to see the floats in action, then there are a few ways to do it. First, you can buy a ticket to see the floats as they are being decorated the four days leading up to the event. You can also check out the floats after the parade, where they’ll be lined up for two days after the event for viewing.
It shouldn’t come as a big shock that the streets of Pasadena are effectively shut down around the parade route. The good news is there are public transportation options. Both the LA County Metro and the Metrolink will have special parade day routes running in and around Pasadena to make sure people can see the parade.
There is also special parking set aside for both RVs and limos for any parade-goers who are using those modes of transportation to get to the Rose Parade.