Looking for Advice on the Rose Parade

Updated on November 09, 2009
M.M. asks from Lake Forest, CA
9 answers

My husband will be in the Rose Parade this year so me & my daughters who are 5 & 3 want to go. I've always wanted to go & do the whole sleeping on the sidewalk thing but now that I'm older it doesn't seem as appealing anymore :). Tickets for the grandstands are expensive but how early do you have to go to get a decent seat on the sidewalk? Is it possible for some of us to save a spot & my MIL bring the girls parade morning? Are my girls to young & get tired of it anyways so they should just stay home? I wouldn't mind paying $60 for a seat for myself but I don't want to buy 3 especially if they're not into it. Suggestions would also be helpful on how to pass the time, what to bring comfort wise, is there potties? Thanks so much.

potties-can you tell I'm a mom of little ones!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.:
The last time I went to the parade,I was so miserably cold,I didn't enjoy myself. It took me over an hour to get into one of their porta pots,and I nearly wet myself! I couldn't picture myself toting two kids and A porta potty through A parade crowd,and I'd bet your 5 year old would rather be humiliated,by peeing her paints than to sit on A porta potty in the middle of a crowd.Your daughters will have years to go to Rose parades.Go and enjoy this special year,your hubby is in it,and leave the girls to be entertained in the comfort of home. Have A great time. J. M

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answers from Los Angeles on

M., We have been to the Rose Parade numerous times and done a variety of things from sleeping on the sidewalk (not something I would recommend with little ones - it gets a little wild) to renting grandstand seats (not necessary) to renting an RV space on the route and watching from our RV (a lot of fun but expensive). The best way we have found, especially with the kids, is just to arrive about 8:30 or 9:00 and go to the end of the parade route after it has turned on to Sierra Madre. These are wide streets that are closed for the day and there is lots of room to sit and watch the parade as it goes by. The parade arrives about 10 or 10:15 or so because you are at the end of the 2 1/2 hour route. The advantages are you don't have to arrive so early, you get a great view, the crowds are much smaller at the end of the route and you have room to move around, if necessary, with the kids. The disadvantage is that some of the floats are not looking their best by that time and the bands are usually no longer playing because you are way past the judging area and TV areas but we have always had a great experience. There are some porta-potties but they are limited and the lines are usually long.



answers from San Diego on

To get a seat up front on the sidewalk, you need to be there early the night before to stake out your spot. Many people take their folding chairs, coolers, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and lots of warm clothes. Some bring their motor homes in and rent a space from one of the local businesses. It is a party atmosphere with lots of loud music and drinking pretty much all night long. I wouldn't recommend having small children spend the night and keeping them on the sidewalk during the parade is going to be a full time job. The parade is very long and slow. Leave the kids at home with the mother-in-law and take them to Disneyland another time.



answers from Los Angeles on

We only rarely go to the actual parade because of the crowds, and we won't be taking our daughter (2.5 years now) for a while. I just don't think she would be able to handle the length of time watching the parade. But...we always go the the float decorating tents on Dec. 29 or 30 and watch them decorate everything upclose. We can take our time, and leave when she's tired. Plus, it's much cheaper than buying grandstand tickets. Then, we talk about the floats that we saw as we watch them on TV on New Year's Day.


answers from Las Vegas on

looking to see what you found out....



answers from Los Angeles on

I haven't been since I was a little kid, but we used to go through getting seats with the Elks Club. My dad was a member. I you know anyone that is a member (doesn't have to be the one in Pasadena), I'd ask them. They have their clubhouse right where all the TV cameras are, and they used to provide breakfast. You could get there, eat breakfast, use the bathroom, and then go find your seats in their grandstand seating. Defintely worth looking into.
Also, I know certain cities (like Torrance) have buses that go. I'm sure they must have decent seating and bathroom use somewhere if they have an organized trip like that.
And lastly, we did the RV thing a couple times with my relatives that had an RV. Now THAT was fun! Stay overnight, nice and warm in the RV, have your own bathroom, and you can sit on top of the RV to watch the parade.



answers from Los Angeles on

I used to go to the parade and sleep on the sidewalk. You definetly don't want to do that with your girls. Alot of drunkeness and of course grossness that goes with it. It is very cold at night. You can save spaces for your inlaws if you arrive early. We used to get there between noon and 3:00 and put our blankets and chairs out. At a certain time and I forget when, you can go out into the street and reverve your spot. Until then your have to stay on the grass between the road and sidewalk. It's alot of fun, but it's cold.
PS the portapotties are gross after midnight
K. E



answers from Los Angeles on

I say take the $60 and pay someone (like a high school/college aged nephew or niece) to spend the night and save you a spot on the street. Then you show up just before the parade starts. You may want to take someone who can save your spot if you have to take the girls potty though. It will be more comfortable for you and the little girls to have a bigger space and you have only invested $60 in a memorable time. I went when I was very little for years with a family of 7. I still remember the sights and sounds. If it doesn't work then watch it on tv next year!


answers from San Diego on

The last time we went we arrived at 8am and sat a little further down the route. I'd say maybe a few blocks away from the judges stand, about an hour or so into the route. We had no problems finding a good spot on the sidewalk to watch the parade. We went with a pretty large group too....hubby and myself, our then 1 year old son, my parents, and my sister.

I would also recommend bringing your own travel potty for the kids since the portapotties can be gross and not all the restaurants will let you use the bathroom unless you buy something from them. Plus with your own potty right there, you don't have to leave your spot.

Here is the one we have that both my kids use when we are on the go and there isn't a clean bathroom around.


This one even fits underneath our jog stroller, is easy to carry, and everything you need for it (wipes, bags, etc.) fit nicely into the compartments. We've used ours at the beach, park, on long road trips (San Diego to S. Dakota over 3 days). And yes, my kids have peed right out in public. For the more modest child (like my friends 7 year old), we just hold up a towel around her while she goes. My kids don't care and will just go when they need to. I just usually stand or kneel right in front of them to keep all the "weirdos" eyes away from my kids private parts.

Have fun at the parade! And if you get a chance, go and see the floats up close after the parade! We took my son when he was a year old the day after the parade...it was awesome!

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