2018 Rose Parade: Street closures, where to watch, how to get there

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Hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the streets of Pasadena on Monday to watch the whimsical floats, marching bands, and equestrian units of the famous Rose Parade.

The 128th Rose Parade starts at 8 a.m., when the temperature should be around 59 degrees with just a 14 percent chance of rain.

That lovely weather is the reason for the parade. The Valley Hunt Club wanted to show off Southern California’s climate when it founded the parade in 1890:

“In New York, people are buried in snow,” member Charles Holder proclaimed at a club meeting, according to the Tournament of Roses. “Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise.”

This year’s parade theme is “Making a Difference,” and many of the floats will be decorated with nods to the philanthropic efforts of sponsors.

Below, is everything else you need to know about the event.

street closures map
A map of the parade route and surrounding street closures.
City of Pasadena

Take Metro

If you’re not staying in Pasadena with the option to walk, you should absolutely take public transit, as driving and parking can be a total nightmare.

Take the Gold Line light rail, which links Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. The train will run all night on New Year’s Eve, with arrivals every 20 minutes until 5 a.m., at which time they’ll start arriving every 9 minutes until 9 p.m.

Stations with access to the route include:

  • Del Mar Station (walk two blocks north to the parade route)
  • Memorial Park Station (walk two blocks south to the parade route)
  • Lake Station (walk four blocks south to parade route)
  • Allen Station (walk four blocks south to parade route)

Drive (shudder)

If you must drive, get ready to spend a lot of time looking for a place to park, and—if arriving early—be aware that overnight parking restrictions in Pasadena have been lifted until January 2.

Parking is not allowed on the parade route itself, but street parking nearby may be available and there are plenty of first-come, first-served parking lots near the route.

The official parade website says you may reserve parking through these companies: Sharp Seating Company, (626) 795-4171; City of Pasadena, (626) 744-6470; LAZ Parking, (626-578-1705); Easy Parking Service, (626) 286-7576; and AP Parking (858) 692-0868.

1. In the grandstands

For the very best views of the parade, as well as a slightly more comfortable viewing experience, the bleacher seating set up along the parade route can’t be beat—unless you’re lucky enough to have access to a rooftop or upper-level window facing Colorado Boulevard.

Tickets for grandstand seats can be purchased from Sharp Seating Company, which has been constructing viewing platforms for the parade for more than 75 years.

They’re not cheap, though; available tickets start at $70, but few other options exist if you’d like to avoid shoving through crowds on the street for an up-close view of the action.

2. On the sidewalk

Diehard Rose Parade viewers typically camp out overnight to ensure the best views possible from the ground level. This year, the city of Pasadena is allowing parade-watchers to stake out positions on the sidewalk starting at noon on December 31. At 11 p.m., the real territory grab will start, when spectators are permitted to move out to the “honor line” beyond the curb.

If you’re not interested in spending the night along the route, it’s still possible to find a decent vantage point closer to the parade’s start time. Typically, sidewalks are less crowded closer to the parade’s end point at the intersection of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Villa Street.

3. At home

We don’t actually recommend doing this—the parade is definitely better in person—but it’s certainly one way to avoid the crowds. This year, ABC, NBC, KTLA, and others will all be broadcasting the festivities.

The Rose Parade brings with it a plethora of street closures, limiting access to much of Pasadena, but there are a few big closures in particular to look out for.

The closures will begin at 10 p.m. on December 31, at which point most of the parade route and the side streets around it will be closed off to drivers. Several large intersections along Colorado Boulevard will remain open until 6 a.m. Monday to allow north-south traffic to pass through on New Year’s Eve.

Street closures around Colorado Boulevard.
Via Tournament of Roses

The entire route will be closed off January 1 at 6 a.m. That includes a stretch of Orange Grove Boulevard below Colorado Boulevard, Colorado between Orange Grove and Sierra Madre Boulevard, and Sierra Madre up to Paloma Street.

The Colorado Street Bridge will be closed to traffic starting 8 p.m. December 31, and it will reopen at 2 p.m. the next day.

Rose Bowl traffic closuresRose Bowl traffic closures
The area around the Rose Bowl will be shut off to outside traffic early January 1.
City of Pasadena

Unless you live near the Rose Bowl or have tickets to Monday’s game, the area near the stadium will be largely off limits. The northwest corner of the city, bounded by the 210 freeway on the east and the 134 to the south, will be closed to non-local traffic between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on January 1.

Several street closures will be in effect for the end of the parade route and float viewing areas.

Street closures Rose ParadeStreet closures Rose Parade
Street closures at the end of the parade route.
City of Pasadena

The areas shaded orange above will be closed to non-local traffic starting at 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The closure will last until 5 a.m. on January 3.

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