No need to wake up at dawn or stake out a seat along the parade route. Around 11 pm on New Years Eve in Pasadena the floats begin lining up on Orange Grove Ave, starting south of Colorado Boulevard on down to Columbia Street. It’s a surreal site; huge floodlights light up the street for a half mile and you can get within feet of the floats. Crowds of people turn out all night long to get a good look at the floats before anyone else. You’ll definitely want to bring your bike or take Metro - driving in the area becomes extremely difficult due to all the road closures beginning around 8 pm. A few Metro Gold Line stops will get you within a mile or so of the floats: Del Mar Station, Filmore, and South Pasadena Stations. Here's a great map showing street closures and the parade route.
We got to thinking about the early days of the Rose Parade and what that must have been like. Turns out that the football part came about 20 years later. What’d they do for entertainment after the parade before football? It’s a pretty interesting list:
Bicycle Races (of course), Tug of War, Jousting, Pole Climbing, Egg and Spoon Races, Ostrich Races, Chariot Races, and Polo Matches (via Donkeys) were among some of the offerings in the early years.