If you're dying to see those gorgeous Rose Parade floats up close, don't go to the parade itself. There's a much better way to get a good look at them and take their photos than standing on the street, trying to hold your camera over everyone else's head.
Instead of going to the Rose Parade itself, go to the Post Parade viewing, where you can see those ingenious creations up close. Here's how it works:
After the Rose Parade ends, all of those amazing floral masterpieces park along Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards in Pasadena. To see them, you have to pay a small admission fee, but you can get really close and stay as long as you like. If you're curious, volunteers will be there to answer questions.
Admission to the float viewing is less expensive than a night at the movies and children age 5 and under get in free. You can buy tickets ahead of time online (which will save you time) or just pick them up at the gate.
When to Go to the Rose Parade Float Viewing
Float viewing starts mid-day after the parade ends and continues for the next two days.
The first afternoon is very crowded. If you would prefer not to be packed in with all those other gawkers, get there when they open on the two days after the parade.
You can also avoid crowds by being nice to someone else. Take a senior citizen or a disabled person with you and you can get in two hours before the general public.
What You Need to Know About Rose Parade Float Viewing: Practical Tips
- Ticket lines get long on site. Buy your tickets ahead of time online and you won't have to stand around waiting before you get in.
- You can't bring pets into the viewing area. Of course, assistance animals are permitted.
- You can bike to the gate, but can't take your bicycle inside. You can't go in on roller skates, Segways or skateboards, either.
- All strollers, backpacks, purses, bags and the like will be searched as you enter.
- Food and drink options are limited, but you can bring small quantities of food and non-alcoholic drinks with you - but no big coolers.
- Baby strollers can be hard to manage at this event because of crowds and uneven terrain. Wagons are not allowed.
- If you view all the floats, you'll walk about 2.5 miles and it will take at least two hours. I don't know about you, but I'll be wearing comfortable shoes when I go.
- If you want to also see the floats being put together, here's how to see the pre-parade float decorating.
- If you want to know about options for watching the parade in person or enjoying one of the other Rose Parade events, check the complete guide to the Rose Parade.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to the viewing area is to take a Park and Ride Shuttle from any of three Pasadena locations. You can park at any of them and ride to the viewing area. The ride costs a few dollars per person (kids 5 and under are free), but when you arrive, you get priority entrance.
If you have a car full of people, try one of the paid lots near Pasadena High School.
On January 1 and 2, you can also take the Metro Gold Line to the Sierra Madre station, where you can get a shuttle to the viewing area.
If you need more information, you can find it on the Rose Parade website.