Here’s Everything You Need to Know:

The Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica set a course for holiday cheer in 2016
Photo by Ted Soqui

What is the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade?

The boat parade is an indispensable community tradition. Individual boaters and local organizations put loads of creativity and energy into turning their watercrafts into floating holiday spectacles. Some of the more sophisticated entries feature computer-animated LED light displays. Some of the more raucous entries even have singing and dancing crews.

 

How did this tradition begin?

On a sunny December weekend in 1962, a small group of pioneering boaters thought it would be fun to decorate their vessels with Christmas lights and parade around the newly dredged main channel of the not-quite-finished harbor. Community volunteers have kept it going ever sense.

 

When is this year’s parade?

The parade runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, but you’ll want to catch the 5:55 p.m. fireworks display over the marina’s main channel. Arrive early to snag a spot.

Where are some good places to watch?

Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way) is where the announcers set up, but anywhere with a clear view of the main channel should be fine. Fisherman’s Village is always a hotspot, and a lot of locals hang out on the jetty alongside Ballona Creek, near the bike path.

 

How many boats participate?

We won’t know for sure until show time, but recent parades have featured 60 or more.

 

How much does it cost?

Watching the boat parade is free and open to locals, tourists and landlubbers alike.

 

What about parking?

Parking is available for $8 in several county-operated lots and $15 at Fisherman’s Village, but spaces disappear fast. Come early and consider using Lyft, Uber or local rideshare service Catchr (catchr.co).

 

How do I enter my boat?

You can do that online now. For parade rules and entry information, visit mdrboatparade.org.

What’s to do before the parade?

Snow Wonder brings 80 tons of real snow, Christmas carols, family-friendly activities and dancing to Burton Chace Park from noon to 6 p.m., concurrent with the inaugural Marina Lights holiday display.

 

How do I catch a Free Ride shuttle?

Keep your eye out for the extra-long golf carts with the Marina del Rey logo, and just flag one down or text your pickup location to (323) 435-5000.

 

Where’s the after party?

Lots of people party on boats or in yacht clubs before, during and after the parade, but local restaurants are also going to be swinging. Whiskey Red’s is hosting a parade viewing and after party with an extravagant buffet ($60-$75), and expect Killer Shrimp, Café Del Rey, SALT, Cast + Plow, The Warehouse and Tony P’s Dockside Grill to keep the waterside libations flowing.

 

MARINA ENTRANCES

• Washington Boulevard and Pacific Avenue

• Washington and Via Marina

• Washington and Palawan Way

• Lincoln Boulevard and Bali Way

• Lincoln and Mindanao Way

• Lincoln and Fiji Way

• Playa del Rey pedestrian bridge, Pacific and 62nd avenues

 

PARADE PARKING

Is Available in the following county lots

• Lot 1: Fisherman’s Village, 13737 Fiji Way

• Dock 52: 13501 Fiji Way, enter west of Admiralty

• Lot 2: 13465 Fiji Way, enter west of Admiralty

• Lot 4: 13500 Mindanao Way, enter west of Admiralty

• Lot 5: 4645 Admiralty Way, at Bali Way

• Lots 7 & 8: 4350 Admiralty Way, between Bali and Palawan

• Lot 9: 14110 Palawan Way, west of Admiralty

• Lot 10: Mother’s Beach, 4101 Admiralty Way, south of Via Marina.

• Lot 11: 14101 Panay Way, at Via Marina

• Lot 12: 14151 Marquesas Way, at Via Marina County Lot 13: 4601 Via Marina, near Main Channel

 

FOUR GREAT Public VIEWING AREAS

• Marina Peninsula, north jetty along main channel

• South jetty along Main Channel, access from Playa del Rey pedestrian bridge

• Fisherman’s Village, on Fiji Way

• Burton Chace Park, Mindanao Way

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