HOW TO ROCK THE ROSE PARADE: FIND A SEAT & GET FREE PARKING

RoseParade

RoseParadePASADENA, CALIFORNIA – The Rose Parade. While Macy’s oversize Snoopys and Smurfs rule the East Coast on Turkey Day, the West Coast prefers to ring in the new year with the sweet smell of roses.

To score a seat along this infamous parade route will cost you either $75 for a bleacher seat ticket or hours of your life spent camping out sometime around New Year’s Eve Day. You’ll sing Auld Lang Syne curbside and won’t see a float for almost another 12 hours while you freeze and go mildly crazy in the cool night temps. Maybe that’s why the parade route looks like a tornado rolled through even though it’s only about 7:30 AM in the above photo.

Our strategy was to park at the end of the parade route at about 7 AM in a free parking ramp for the metro, then walk along the parade route until we were able to weasel our way into an overlooked sidewalk space. We left an hour earlier than we thought everyone else would in order to beat the LA traffic. It worked for us! Long port-a-potty lines and ridiculous people-watching kept us entertained for a couple hours before the parade passed our spot.
The crowd is a little thinner near the end of the parade route, but remember that the 5+ mile route won’t reach you until about 10:30 AM if you choose to sit there. (The parade starts at 8 AM). It’s worth noting that these parade watchers are hardcore. Air mattresses, personal heaters, coolers, and fire pits line the asphalt. Dedicated locals protect their space with cans of silly string and vuvuzelas, ready to attack at any moment.

There are a lot of traditions in this parade, like the Grand Marshall (this year it was Paula Deen), the official security/question-answering patrol in white suits riding white mopeds, and the Rose Court. The queen and princesses go through an incredibly extensive interview process to earn those highly-respected crowns.

The float decorations are 100 percent natural, sculpted only from flowers, seeds, nuts, etc. which is incredible to witness in person. And it’s actually easier than the past requirement: roses only.

The Rose Parade is generally slow-moving and slightly boring on TV. In person it is anything but. The floats are gigantic, the costumes are beautiful, and the marching bands are loud.

While the rose parade has a lot of — you guessed it — roses, there are also a lot of horses. Which means there’s a lot of horse poop. High energy white jumpsuit-clad clown-like poop crews tail most of the horses with a large shovel and a rolling garbage can. And they even pose for photos.

Maybe that Outkast song was right . . .

I know you’d like to thank your shit don’t stank
But lean a little bit closer
See that roses really smell like boo-boo
Yeah, roses really smell like boo-boo

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2 comments… add one

  • What a fun trip. I really enjoy this photo tour!

    • Thanks! I think I’ll post more pics on travelpology’s facebook page because these floats are just too beautiful! It was a really fun parade.

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