To celebrate the new year this year Oliver and I went to bed early and woke up at 5:30 in the morning. All in the name of seeing the rose bowl parade in real life! We took Metro there because we're so cool and urban. Definitely the way to do it though.
We bought tickets for the grand stands, but walked by a lot of the people that camped out. I didn't realize that you could bring barbecues and fire pits. There were groups of friends enjoying coffee and homemade breakfast around the campfire. If you have the camping equipment I think it could actually be a really fun group event.
The parade was fun. Beautiful floats and very good marching bands. My favorite float had to be the Disney float. Because A. Star Wars, and B. it was massive.
All the marching bands were great, but Oliver and I both decided that Albany State University was our favorite. The band was great and the dancers had the most charisma and unique choreography we saw.
Things I learned:
1. There are not many food vendors. Maybe closer to the beginning of the parade, but halfway down there were no food vendors. We were hoping to get a breakfast burrito and a coffee, but we did not.
2. If you are not at the beginning of the parade route you have time. We were told to be in our seats by 7:30 am for a 8:00 am start time. The parade didn't get to where we were sitting until 9:00 am. We definitely could have waited in the super long line for a nice burrito.
3. If you go farther down the parade route you do not need grand stand seats. If you are willing to stand through the 2 hour parade I would suggest just showing up and trying to find a spot.
4. You can see the floats up close after the parade. If you want to forgo messing with the parade I would suggest this. You don't get to see the people on the float, the marching bands, or the horses, but if you have an aversion to crowds or being cold I would for sure suggest this option.
5. I almost don't want to say this because metro was pretty crowded. Even so, Oliver and I were able to get seats on all four trains we got on. Mostly because we are #commutersavvy. If you are going I would try to take Metro there and avoid the parking/traffic mess before and after the parade.
6. Watching the parade on tv is just as fun. Plus you get more facts about the parade from the hosts which a nerd like me enjoys.
We had a good time and are glad we went! Happy New Year everyone! We wish you a wonderful 2016!