Arts & Entertainment

Rose Parade 2016: Your guide to decorating, camping, parking and attending Pasadena's annual event

A Rose Parade spectator takes pictures while waiting the start of the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.
A Rose Parade spectator takes pictures while waiting the start of the 126th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Floats, marching bands and Tournament of Roses royalty will journey down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard starting at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day in the 127th Rose Parade.

Rain or shine, thousands gather to see the annual spectacle in person, which means that an insider guide is essential to finding parking, securing a viewing spot or possibly even camping out overnight. 

Let’s get started.

Before the parade: Decorating and viewing

Want to help put the finishing touches on the floats before their debut? The Rose Parade’s website has a list of float builders that need volunteers from Dec. 27 to Dec. 31. If you just want to watch, the public can buy tickets to see pros and volunteers in action at the Rose Palace, the Rosemont Pavilion and the Brookside Pavilion in Pasadena.

The route

The two-hour, 5.5 mile parade will start at 8 a.m. at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard. It will turn onto Colorado Boulevard, where the majority of the procession will take place, then onto Sierra Madre Boulevard before stopping at Villa Street.

View a larger version of this map: Tournament of Roses

Where to park your car

No-parking zones for the parade are labeled and remain off-limits, but there will be paid lots and spaces available near the parade route. If the thought of finding a parking space really stresses you out, you can reserve a spot for your car, RV or bus through Sharp Seating Company, the City of Pasadena, LAZ Parking or Easy Parking Service.

Where to sit

There are three ways to get a spot to view the Rose Parade on New Year's Day, according to Mike Matthiessen, president of the Tournament of Roses Association:

1. Buy tickets

Grandstand seating is available for purchase through Sharp Seating Company. There are five different areas with prices ranging from $48 to $95. The tickets are sold online and by phone, but Matthiessen recommends calling for tickets at (626) 795-4171. 

2. Camp out overnight

Don't want to fork out $48-plus on a bleacher seat? Get ready to camp out overnight to secure the best spot you can find on a curb. Curbside camping is allowed to begin at noon on Dec. 31, and at 11 p.m. stakeouts can spread farther onto the sidewalk. Go prepared with plenty of warm clothes, blankets and food to last you through the night.

Plus, leave your drones at home. Matthiessen said they are completely prohibited from the parade for safety reasons. For the complete lists of safety suggestions and rules for camping out, visit the Tournament of Roses website

3. Show up the morning of the parade

Now for all of the people who don't want to pay or spend a night on the street, Matthiessen said that it is possible to view the parade when you show up the morning of. Since the whole shebang gets started at 8 a.m., he said it doesn't usually hit the end of the parade route until as late as 10. This means that latecomers can head to the parade route around 9 a.m., and safely grab a spot to watch the parade as it approaches the end of the route.

Secret viewing spots? 

Matthiessen says to try Old Town Pasadena. “A lot of the areas around Old Town, or where there aren’t a lot of parking spaces available, those have slightly thinner crowds, but I’m not going to tell you absolutely they are,” Matthiessen said.

After the parade

If you’re not heading to the game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Stanford Cardinal at Rose Bowl Stadium, tickets are available to take a closer look at the parade's floral masterpieces after the event. Viewing starts at 1 p.m. and the entrance is at the corner of Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards. Last entry is at 4 p.m. There will be viewings on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well. 

This story has been updated.