Rose Parade Float Decorating

  • 01 of 03

    How to Watch Rose Parade Float Decorating

    Decorating Floats for the Rose Parade
    ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Over a few days just before the annual Pasadena Rose Parade, thousands of workers put those elaborate floral creations together by hand. Some groups do their work in secret, but others let you in to get a fascinating peek behind the scenes. 

    In fact, if you want to see the Rose Parade but don't like crowds, seeing the floats being decorated is part of how you can see the Rose Bowl Parade the easy way

    Float decorating viewing is available for four days before the parade. Hours vary, but viewing ends by 1:00 p.m. the day before the parade.

    Most of the floats you will see being made are done by smaller organizations, and you're not likely to see the big show-stoppers. 

    Viewing locations for the float decorating are at the Rosemont and Brookside Pavilions near Rose Bowl Stadium and in downtown Pasadena at the Rose Palace (835 S. Raymond Avenue). If they let you keep your tickets when you go in, you could visit more than one of them, or see the same ones on more than one day.

    Visitors enter the decorating area in small groups. You can stay as long as you like, but you'll likely be done in half an hour or less.

    How to Get Float Decorating Tickets

    Tickets cost less than an evening movie. Children five years old and under get in free. You can buy tickets at any viewing location, order them online in advance.

    If you park in the lots near the pavilions, it will cost a few dollars - or see the public transportation options below.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Tips for Viewing the Rose Parade Float Decorating

    113th Annual Rose Parade Preparations
    David McNew / Getty Images

    Lines to watch the float decorating get long - fast. If you arrive at opening time, you might wait about 30 minutes, but later the wait can grow to 90 minutes or more. To keep from spending too much time in line for a few minutes of viewing, arrive about 30 minutes before opening time.

    By the day before the parade, the decorating will be done. You can see completed floats ready for the parade then, but if you want to watch the decorators in action, go a day or two earlier.

    Some of the viewing locations only allow you on a catwalk above the floats. You may have to climb and descend a flight of stairs to see them. If you have mobility concerns, the Brookside Pavilion is more accessible.

    How to Get to the Viewing Locations

    You can drive to the locations and traffic is manageable even on the day before the parade.

    If you live in — or are staying in — another part of town, you can take the Metro Rail Gold Line to the Fillmore Station, which is about a block from the Rose Palace on Raymond Avenue. Use their trip planner to figure out how.

    You can also take public transportation to the Rose Bowl Stadium, catching a bus from the Fillmore Station.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    How to Participate in the Float Decorating

    Decorating a Rose Parade Float
    John Lambert Pearson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    You can volunteer to help decorate the floats. Volunteer decorators are organized directly through the float builders. All the details are here.

    Some organizations accept walk-ins, but others make you register in advance. You'll have to meet age restrictions. Float decorating is a messy job, so be prepared for that.