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Old 12-10-2015, 05:34 PM
 
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San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

I thought this looked like a good event to take a date to and was surprised to find that there wasn't already a thread about it for this year.

Those of you who have been - did you feel it was worth going to, and about how long does it take? How was the traffic, car and people-wise? And to be clear, it's free right? The official website doesn't mention anything about an entry fee but [this](41st Parade of Lights) one from a previous year does.

Which viewing spots are recommended to avoid crowds and traffic/parking issues? I was thinking a great place would be Centennial Park in Coronado but also that it would be very crowded.

[Here](https://www.reddit.com/r/sandiego/co...the_san_diego/) is an older thread about some of the different spots to view it from.
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Old 12-10-2015, 05:38 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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It's free and it's always a zoo. There are a few places you can see it (kinda) but best bet is to get there early and stay late. Snag a fire ring over by the launch ramp and stay toasty while the boats go by. I may put the boat in it again this year. I usually just put it on the trailer and stay the night to avoid the mess.
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Old 12-10-2015, 05:46 PM
 
171 posts, read 155,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1AngryTaxPayer View Post
It's free and it's always a zoo. There are a few places you can see it (kinda) but best bet is to get there early and stay late. Snag a fire ring over by the launch ramp and stay toasty while the boats go by. I may put the boat in it again this year. I usually just put it on the trailer and stay the night to avoid the mess.
Thanks - where is the launch ramp and do you have to reserve a fire ring? Or is there already a fire going?
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Old 12-10-2015, 08:11 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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Originally Posted by GoldenKiwi View Post
Thanks - where is the launch ramp and do you have to reserve a fire ring? Or is there already a fire going?
To reserve one you have to get your behind their early am and camp on it. Google shelter island marina or launch.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKiwi View Post
I thought this looked like a good event to take a date to and was surprised to find that there wasn't already a thread about it for this year.
Because most of us won't waste our time fighting annoying crowds for a mediocre show of string lights draped around bow and mast.

Quote:
Those of you who have been - did you feel it was worth going to
Not really. You'll have to fight a ton of people, and if you're not there way early, you'll be lucky to see anything at all. Because it's "free," there will be hordes of annoying people and their unsupervised kids all over the place. You'll have maybe 75 boats with string lights from Home Depot. If you are expecting the Christmas equivalent of the Parade of Roses, or even a Las Vegas strip hotel done up right for Christmas, prepare for serious disappointment. If it were me, I'd be going out to a nice dinner instead.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:24 PM
 
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We enjoy the parade and I think it would be a fun date night. I agree that it is not the most amazing thing you'll ever see, but it is kind of fun in its own way especially if you've never seen it before.

We usually watch on Harbor Island, and the crowds and traffic aren't horrible there -- much less than July 4th for the fireworks. We get there about an hour before sunset and just hang out and watch the sunset until the parade starts. Dress warmly and bring something warm to drink (mulled wine in a thermos, perhaps). A picnic dinner would be nice too. Also, bring some lawn chairs if you have them as it's easier to see the parade.

If you want to combine dinner and the parade, C-Level and Island Prime do special parade fixe meals, but you need to make reservations well in advance. Tom Ham's Lighthouse might also be an option (I am not a big Tom Ham's fan though).

Check the weather though -- if it's going to be raining or cold and windy, I'd have a back up plan.
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Old 12-11-2015, 07:59 PM
 
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We recently moved to Point Loma so figure we'll drive down to Shelter Island and try for a parking spot - not sure how far ahead of time we'll need to go (we're going on the 20th, not this Sunday). Online pictures look impressive - more than just strings of lights for sure. We also want to try for the Mission Bay parade tomorrow - again, not sure how early we should arrive to be able to park.

Our big issue is how early we should come for any parking space - we're from Chicago so don't think the crowds will be too overwhelming! Just as long as we can get there and find room for our chairs.

(I believe the entry fee is for the participating boats, not the viewers.)
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
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You gotta do it once, so it may as well be this year
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:56 AM
 
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Reporting on the Mission Bay Boat Parade - easy to get to and see, but what a haphazard parade! We drove to Paradise Point Resort about 5 pm and had no trouble parking near the Barefoot Bar. Also the lot on the east side of Vacation Island was fairly empty. We had a drink at the bar and watched a number of boats head south to assemble. At about 6 pm we walked up past the restaurant and sat on the beach - there were a couple of family groups at fire pits but otherwise not many people around. We could watch the boats going north and then coming back south very close to us

So why do I call it haphazard - sometimes the boats sailed in formation, sometimes they passed each other, sometimes they turned around and went the other way, sometimes they came back and joined the parade a second time...very reminiscent of San Diego drivers! There was one beautiful tall ship with with lots of lights like Christmas trees that may or may not have been part of the parade - it never was in formation and wandered about at will. The Bahia Belle also meandered through the line of boats at one point.

We left after the boats went by and crossed to the east side but it looked like a number of boats never crossed from the west side of the bay to the east. Instead I think they went back to their marinas. The boats that did cross over were quite a bit further from shore in the east bay. There were a lot of empty spaces in the parking lot and also the people over there were quite a bit...livelier...than the ones at Paradise Point.

It will be interesting to compare this to the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights next week!

This is the boat that may or may not have been part of the parade tonight:




And these were definitely part of the parade; sorry for the blur but they were moving fast!



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Old 12-13-2015, 01:40 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA>Tijuana, BC>San Antonio, TX
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^^The way Catwarmer describes it is exactly how it is, haphazard, but fun.


I've been a few times and viewed with the family in Embarcadero Park South, no crowds at all. Where does it get crowded? I am guessing around Sea Port Village?
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