Exploring San Diego


Holiday Bowl Parade kicks off NYE festivities in San Diego

Posted at 2:02 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 17:02:33-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Before 2019 kicks off, a holiday tradition will take over San Diego's streets.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of downtown San Diego on Dec. 31 at 10 a.m. as America's largest balloon parade takes over America's Finest City.

World-class marching bands, floats, drill teams, and, of course, enormous balloons will glide down North Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero to kick off Holiday Bowl Day festivities.

RELATED: Holiday traditions to experience in San Diego

Plan to head out to the parade? Here's what you'll need to know:


The parade will kick off at 9:50 a.m. near the County Administration Building on Harbor Dr. and head south. Telecast on Fox Sports starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m.

The parade will come to an end at the corner of Harbor Dr. and Pacific Highway, near Seaport Village.

Spectating is free, but Grandstand tickets can be purchased for $22.


Multiple streets will be closed along the parade route for the parade starting at 7:45 a.m., including:

  • Harbor Drive from Grape to Broadway
  • Pacific Highway (one southbound lane) from Grape to Ash
  • Pacific Highway from Harbor to Broadway
  • Harbor Drive from Broadway to Pacific Highway


Parade goers are encouraged to use ride-sharing services or the MTS trolley to get downtown for the parade. Some street parking and lots are available around the area but may fill up quickly.

The closest trolley stop is the America Plaza stop on the Orange Line — exit towards Broadway and turn right down Broadway to the Parade route.

From North County, visit gonctd.com for the schedule for the COASTER train. Exit at the Santa Fe Depot station and walk three blocks West.


The best viewing area is near Maritime Museum San Diego, according to officials, as that is where specialty units and bands will perform for the telecast. But being along the Embarcadero, you'll be hard-pressed to find a scenic viewing location.