It’s parade time.
Before you head out Monday morning to celebrate the Miami Heat with a parade that ends in front of AmericanAirlines Arena, here’s a guide to help you navigate among the thousands expected to line the parade route.
The Heat’s victory march will wrap through downtown Miami and culminate at AmericanAirlines Arena with an invite-only victory rally. Only season-ticket holders will be granted entry into the arena.
This is not the time to be fashionably late. Many missed the parade last year by arriving late.
The procession will begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of Southwest Eighth Street and Second Avenue, head east on Eighth, then north on Brickell Avenue, across the bridge and north on Biscayne Boulevard to the arena. The parade is expected to run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before heading into the arena.
For those who are not bringing their cars, Miami-Dade Transit has increased Metrorail service during the parade.
The Metrorail will run every five minutes to all stations near the arena.
The closest Metrorail stations are at Government Center, Brickell and Overtown Transit Village. Overtown Transit Village is the closest stop to the arena. Metrorail costs $2 per person per ride.
Express Pay lanes will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Attendants will be collecting exact change. No change will be provided. People with EASY Cards and EASY Tickets can use them. The trains can be tracked at miamidade.gov/transit. Train arrival information is also available at Metrorail stations.
Metromover, free for all riders, will run with additional cars during the parade. To reach the parade route, passengers can exit at Brickell, Eighth Street, Fifth Street, Bayfront Park and College/Bayside stations. Park West and Freedom Tower stations are the closest to the arena.
Some Metrobus routes will be detoured due to road closures in the downtown Miami and Brickell areas for the parade. Those routes include 3, 6, 8, 11, 24, 48, 77, 207, 208, C and S.
For more information on the enhanced Metrorail and Metromover service, or on the Metrobus routes being detoured, call 305-891-3131 from 7 a.m. Monday. Riders can also download the free iPhone app ‘Miami-Dade Transit Tracker’ to help plan.
For those traveling by car, free parking is available at Park and Ride lots. For a complete list of Park and Ride and Metrorail lots, visit miamidade.gov/transit.
Here is a list of nearby city of Miami parking garages. For rates, go to miamiparking.com
Parking is also available at several Metrorail stations. Parking costs $4 for the day and can be paid for at the express pay lanes with Metrorail fare. MDT suggests that people attending the parade park at the following Metrorail stations: South Miami, 5949 Sunset Dr., South Miami; Okeechobee, 2005 W. Okeechobee Rd., Hialeah; or Douglas Road, 111 Ruiz Ave., Coral Gables.
Street closings for the parade begin at 9 a.m., including Southwest Eighth Street near downtown. The streets will remain closed until the end of the parade, which is expected to be around 12:30 p.m.
Officials are urging out-of-towners to use public transportation. Fans coming from the north can take the 595 Express public bus, which departs at 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. from the BB&T Center in Sunrise and travels to Brickell Plaza along the parade route. Tri-Rail, which runs from Fort Lauderdale to 79th Street, is adding a southbound train to its regular schedule. Those who take Tri-Rail should get off at the 79th Street transfer station and take Metrorail and Metromover downtown.
Furthermore, PortMiami will stop inbound and outbound traffic from 11:15 a.m. to noon to allow for the passage of the parade caravan.
Drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes during the parade. Police will be stationed along the route for assistance.
At the parade
People planning to watch the parade should arrive a few hours early to secure a viewing spot. Last year, tens of thousands of people lined up along the parade route to catch a glimpse of their favorite Heat players.
Barricades will be placed along the side of the streets of the parade route. People can bring chairs to watch the parade from, but spots along the barricade fill up early.
No backpacks or babybags of any kind will be allowed at the parade, according to Miami police, a reflection of the Boston Marathon bombings. People with bags will be asked to leave or to secure them in their cars.
Miami Fire Rescue will have six hydration stations located along the parade route where water will be provided to attendees. There will be two paramedics at each station. There will also be 16 paramedics patrolling the parade route, and eight transport teams positioned along the route in case anyone needs first-aid attention.
Miami Fire Rescue advises that people bring their own water, sunblock and anything they might need for their children.
Who will be in the parade?
In addition to the players, coaches, owners and Miami Heat staff, the Heat Experience, including mascot and dancers, will participate in the parade. Local political dignitaries are also expected.
There will be no celebration outside of the arena once the parade ends. Miami Police will clear the area immediately after the parade. Only season ticket holders and people with tickets for the rally will be allowed inside the arena.
The rally inside the AAA is open only to season ticketholders.
For those with tickets, doors to the AAA will open at 9 a.m. Anyone attending must be on AAA property by 10:30 a.m. or they will not be allowed in, the team said. The rally is expected to begin after the players arrive at 12:30 p.m. and will end at 2 p.m. There will be no parking at the arena.
The day’s festivities will be carried on Sun Sports beginning at 10 a.m. and can be seen online at MiamiHerald.com, FoxSportsFlorida.com and on HEAT.com.