While many people go to New York for Christmas, they come to L.A. for New Year’s, or more specifically, Pasadena for the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade. We’ve all seen it on TV, Tish and Cord, the strange pageantry of making parade floats out of flowers. The Valley Hunt Club had never heard of sustainability when they planned the first Tournament of Roses by decorating stagecoaches in blooming flowers, mid-winter, to feature Southern California’s balmy climate.
Going to the parade is surprisingly easy as long as you don’t drink too much New Year’s Eve, and don’t mind being further down the route. If you take the Metro Gold Line, get off at Lake or Allen, its only a few blocks walk to the route. There is paid seating available, but a seat in the bleachers will run you $65-$200; the only reason to buy a seat is the easy bathroom access. There are famous scenes of people camping out along Colorado Blvd the night before, but that is only for the early part of the parade route, near the TV cameras. You can arrive an hour before, further down Colorado Blvd, and still find a good spot to view the floats.
Here’s a real insider tip to the Rose Parade, if you want a semi-private sneak peek. Over in Irwindale, on Irwindale Ave, just south of the 210 freeway are 2 giant warehouses where the majority of the floats are made; Phoenix Decorating and Fiesta Parade Floats. Sometime between 5PM and 7PM New Years Eve about 30 floats convoy down Arroyo Highway to Huntington Drive in Arcadia over to the Rose Bowl where they’ll line up for the official parade. Neighborhoods along the route get their own private parade New Years Eve!
If you’re in Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl, or parade, come to Downtown L.A. and take one of the best bike tours in Los Angeles for more insider tips.