With the Newport Beach Christmas Parade beginning on December 18th, it's time to start planning where the best observation spots are located. If you want to see this fabulous waterfront activity, planning is the key to finding a great viewing position.
Some of the challenges to consider are timing, seating or standing conditions, and traffic. No matter the venue you choose, traffic will be a great challenge. You need to plan on arriving early and leaving late to avoid sitting in your car for prolonged periods of time.
Waterfront restaurants are often one of the best areas to select for parade viewing, but most will have been booked for several months. It may be worth calling and getting on a wait list if the reservations are already full. Remember, even though a restaurant may be a waterfront location, not all tables will offer waterfront views.
- Waterfront dining with a window view. Most restaurants have been booked for months, but try putting your name on a waiting list. Sometimes you can get a table simply by walking in without a reservation. Restaurants on either side of the bay offer great views. Two favorites are the Rusty Pelican on the inland side of the bay and Newport Landing on the ocean side of the Bay.
- Balboa Island Sidewalks. It's crowded and parking is a real challenge, but the views from Balboa Island can be spectacular. The best viewing is from the ocean side of the island... several of the largest boats do not go down the inside channel.
- Street ends between the end of Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Pier. One of the less crowded locations, but traffic can be a problem.
- On one of the commercial boats running trips in the parade. You can actually be a participant on a fully decorated boat. Food and beverages may be provided or will be available for purchase. A fun way to play if you are not personally a boat owner.
- On your own boat, entered in the parade or not. Navigating your boat on Parade nights is quite a challenge, but if you are up to the task, allows you to see the parade and the decorated houses up close and personal. Be sure to avoid drinking and boating. Common sense, but the officials are out in force looking for boating infractions.
The important keys to successful viewing are to arrive early, dress warmly, be patient and enjoy the holiday spirit.
Go boating, and be safe.
See you at the Parade