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Family Vacations in California

Family Vacations in California: Tournament of Roses Parade

This man surprised the crowd at the Tournament of Roses parade by flying through the air with a jet pack.

The residents of Pasadena celebrated the first Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 1890. Horse-drawn carriages adorned with flowers paraded through the city streets. This event began the annual New Year's tradition that draws about one million people to Pasadena to watch the parade. Millions more watch the televised event from their homes.

The lavishly decorated floats are a labor of love, and some builders spend all year on their elaborate creations. The parade, consisting of floats, a Rose Queen, spirited marching bands, equestrian units, and celebrity Grand Marshals, travels a 5.5-mile route through town.


Before the parade, families can watch float makers decorate their projects with thousands of blossoms, see award-winning marching bands, get up close to the horses that will prance in the parade, and sample barbeque delights. After the parade, the floats are on display for several days.

Tournament of Roses Parade Information

Address: Ellis St. and Orange Grove, Pasadena, CA

Telephone: 626/449-4100, 877-793-9911

Hours of Operation: New Years Day, 8 a.m.

Admission: Free

Learn about the history of the railroad at the California State Railroad Museum, detailed on the next page.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Los Angeles City Guide: Explore the City of Angels -- Los Angeles is brimming with restaurants, shops, attractions, and the occasional celebrity hotspot.
  • California State Guide: From north to south, California encompasses mountains, deserts, beaches, and vineyards. Learn about it all in our guide to California.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.