holiday boat parade

Tips for Watching the MDR Holiday Boat Parade

The hap-happiest season of all truly begins with this beloved tradition in MDR. We put together tips for watching the 60th annual MDR Holiday Boat Parade. You’ll see beautifully decorated boats in the Marina channel, adorned in holiday lights, inflatables, other festive decorations.  Whether it’s your first time or 50th time watching the Holiday Boat Parade, we hope you have a holly, jolly good time! Read on for the tips below.

General Information

The parade kicks off at 5:55 p.m. with a brief fireworks show followed by boats at 6 p.m. Most viewers go to Burton Chace Park or Fisherman’s Village to watch the parade. Music and live announcements will play during the parade at both locations. Burton Chace Park is a popular viewing spot because the annual Marina Lights display brings a festive atmosphere to the 10-acre park. On the night of the Holiday Boat Parade from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can also enjoy food trucks, carolers, face painting and a fun photo booth at the park. Click button to download the flyer.

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Arrive Early

We recommend arriving early at one of the popular viewing spots: Burton Chace Park or Fisherman’s Village. You’ll get better parking spots and claim a better area along the water to watch the parade.

Recommended Viewing Spots

Click to view this handy map showing viewing spots around the Marina.

If you’re bringing families and little ones (and leashed furry friends!), then Burton Chace Park is your best bet. There, Marina Lights will be on display plus you'll enjoy carolers, food trucks and face painting between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (see above).

If you’re simply showing up to view the parade, try the other recommended locations on the map.

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Where to Eat

We’ve got plenty of food and drink options in L.A.’s Marina during the Holiday Boat Parade. Enjoy food truck fare at Burton Chace Park for a sunset picnic dinner. Order take-out from nearby restaurants such as HiHo Cheeseburger , KazuNori Sushi, Mendocino Farms , Fresh Brothers and more. As you make your way to the park, you can also pick up picnic goodies from Trader Joe’s on the corner of Admiralty Way and Mindanao. Or for a hot cup of joe (or tea!), check out Alfred Coffee (opening on Thursday, Dec. 8) at the Boardwalk Shops next to HiHo Cheeseburger. For some of the best waterfront restaurants with a view of the boat parade, try Sapori Italian, Whiskey Red's or El Torito located at Fisherman’s Village.

Click button to download the Marina del Rey restaurant map.

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Bundle Up

Dress like Santa and the elves! It gets chilly by the sea after sunset. Wear extra layers, scarves and hats. Bring blankets to stay warm especially if you’re sitting on the grass or on folding chairs.

Parking Tips

Most of the parking lots in Marina del Rey are metered and can be paid with credit card or exact cash ($1 or $5 bills only).

The closest parking lots to Burton Chace Park are Lot #77 and Lot #4 along Mindanao Way. The Burton Chace Park lot within the park fills up quickly (about 50 spots and 4 accessible spaces). For those with mobility issues, you’re welcome to drop off guests within the Burton Chace Park lot and then park your vehicle at Lot #77 or Lot #4. The paved paths are flat and wheelchair and stroller accessible. Make sure to display the parking permit (receipt side-up) on your dashboard. The parking lot at Fisherman’s Village offers plenty of spots, too. Try to park as close to the water for anyone with limited mobility.

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Alternative Transportation

The Marina is only about 1.5 square miles and traffic delays naturally happen during major events. Consider helping cut down traffic by taking a carpool or ride share, biking or hopping on the electric shuttle, Circuit.