Travel blog

How to Prepare for Your First Rose Parade

Posted by YMT Vacations on May 6, 2020 8:30:00 AM


The Rose Parade is the “granddaddy of them all,” a beloved institution known as America’s New Year Celebration. It is as closely tied to the New Year holiday as fireworks or optimistic resolutions. For many first-time visitors to this Pasadena, California event, there are a host of questions about the ins and outs of seeing it in person. If you’re considering a trip to Southern California for next year’s event, here are our tips for how to prepare for your first Rose Parade.

1.  Take a Guided Tour

While you can choose to see the parade on your own, many parade veterans would advise against it. The convenience and rich experience of going with a guided tour group are invaluable. To secure a decent spot along the parade route, spectators camp out several days before the event. You’ll have to spend the night outside with temperatures often dipping well below 40 °F. There are also challenges when you purchase grandstand seating. You need to arrive before dawn to park, navigate through a small area packed with people, and walk a mile or more to your seats. A tour operator like YMT Vacations eliminates these hassles by offering both the best grandstand seats for the Rose Parade and transportation to and from the parade.

2.  The Beginning Isn’t Always Best

If you attend the Rose Parade on your own, you’ll need to determine the best place to sit. Many visitors are interested in seats at “TV Corner” at the beginning of the route so they can be the first to see the parade. However, these seats also require you to arrive very early and deal with large crowds. Opting for seats in the grandstands at the mid-way point lets you arrive later. In addition, the performers will have warmed up and perfected their routines by the time they reach these seats.

3.  Consider Your Side of the Street 


Where should you sit at the Rose Parade? Sitting on the south side of Colorado Boulevard allows you to avoid having the sun in your eyes during the parade. This is an important consideration for a 2-hour event, and one of the most important Rose Parade viewing tips.

4.  Questions? Look for a White Coat 

The “White Suiters” are the team of nearly 1,000 volunteers donning white suits and red neckties. They run the event on behalf of the Tournament of Roses Association, which has been in charge of planning and executing the parade since 1895. White Suiter responsibilities range from selecting parade participants, to decorating floats, to directing visitors on New Year’s Day. These volunteers are experts, and will be happy to help you with questions, need directions, or simply want a bit of information. They are visible along the parade route on New Year’s Day. White Suiters are very knowledgeable and proud of their city’s legendary parade.

5.  Look beyond the Rose Parade

While the Rose Parade is the main event, there are other local traditions that are almost as spectacular. You have many great options:

  • See the floats in progress at the building pavilions before the parade
  • View the floats up close after the event at the Post Parade Showcase of Floats
  • Cheer for your favorite college football team at the Rose Bowl
  • Attend Bandfest Presented by REMO, a sneak peek of the live Rose Paradebands
  • And more!

Los Angeles is at its best during this festive New Year season, and there are countless special events to enjoy.

See the Rose Parade in Person with YMT Vacations!

YMT has been leading guided tours of the Rose Parade for over 50 years. We are the largest and most experienced Rose Parade tour operator. Our decades of experience and connections ensure our guests the best value and experience at the Rose Parade. Our tours include exclusive behind-the-scenes access to events such as an exclusive dinner and Tournament of Roses Committee presentation, the chance to witness floats being built before the parade, a festive New Year’s Eve Reception, and incredible grandstand seating to watch the parade. Quite simply, YMT offers the best way to see the Rose Parade, whether it's your first or tenth parade. We offer a variety of tour packages centered around the Rose Parade. For information, or to make your reservation, call your travel agent or YMT Vacations at 888-978-7406.

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Topics: Americas, Rose Parade