Colorful balloons, floats, marching bands and drill teams will fill the streets along San Diego’s waterfront Thursday for the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade – an annual tradition before the big football game.
The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by National Funding begins at 10 a.m. near the San Diego County Administration Building and Waterfront Park at 1600 Pacific Highway.
With the bay as its backdrop, the lively procession will make its way south along Harbor Drive, ending around 11:30 a.m. at the corner of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway near Seaport Village.
The event typically draws more than 100,000 spectators to downtown’s waterfront. Streetside viewing is free but if you want to ensure you get a good spot you can spring for grandstand seats near the Maritime Museum of San Diego, which cost $22 to $25. Seating is limited, so if you choose this route, buy your tickets in advance. The parade will also be televised on Fox Sports 1.
Since parking near the parade route will be limited, spectators are advised to take the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) trolley. The parade route is accessible from all three trolley lines.
The Sycuan Green Line drops passengers off at three stations near the parade: County Center/Little Italy; Santa Fe Depot; Seaport Village. This line will run every 15 minutes from Santee. Beginning at 8:30 a.m. this line will run every 7.5 minutes from SDCCU Stadium. MTS said extra service will run as soon as the parade ends, too.
The UC San Diego Blue Line will run every 7.5 minutes until 8:30 a.m. from San Ysidro, then every 15 minutes. This line can drop off passengers at the America Plaza Station near the parade route. Meanwhile, the Orange Line will run every 15 minutes, also dropping off riders at the America Plaza Station.
For those who choose to drive, parking may be found at metered spots in downtown San Diego or at paid lots. One prime parking lot is located at the corner of Pacific Highway and Broadway, but it will likely fill up fast.
Keep in mind, there will be some road closures in the area due to the parade starting at 7:45 a.m. This includes:
- Harbor Drive from Grape Street to Broadway
- Pacific Highway (one southbound lane) from Grape to Ash streets
- Pacific Highway from Harbor Drive to Broadway
- Harbor Drive from Broadway to Pacific Highway
After the parade, stick around for a Battle of the Bands at the Broadway Pier, set to begin around 11:45 a.m.
The festivities lead up to the day’s namesake event: the Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley. The football game – pitting Washington State University against Michigan State University – starts at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online; general seating starts at $45.