Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The Chinese New Year in the Bay Area

There's so many epic celebrations throughout the Bay Area for the Chinese New Year on Friday, February 16. To avoid being overwhelmed, here are my personal and well-tested recommendations to usher in the Year of the Dog.

The Famous Parade

On Saturday, February 24, experience the sights and sounds of Chinatown during the community’s most exciting time of the year, the Chinese New Year Parade. Steeped in legends and stories, the parade has been an annual tradition for San Francisco since the days of the Gold Rush.

The Chinese New Year Parade which starts at 5:15pm at at Second and Market Streets, proceeds west on Market, and then west to Geary Street to Union Square. It turns north on Powell Street, east on Post Street and north on Kearny Street to Columbus Avenue where the parade will disperse. Here is a map of the full route.

Know Before You Go To The Parade:

  • Chinatown is extremely crowded and driving can be very frustrating. If public transportation is not an option, I recommend parking at the public lot for the Hilton. Safe, convenient and prices are reasonable relative to other options in close proximity and leads you away from the crowd.
  • Dress in layers and bring water.
  • For sensitive ears, The Chinese New Year Celebration is really crowded and noisy. Expect a lot of loud drumming and fireworks.

Don’t miss one of San Francisco’s most treasured celebration, the Chinese New Year Parade. Enjoy the vibrant history that Chinatown offers and don't miss celebrating the Year of the Dog.

Other Ways To Celebrate The Year Of The Dog In Chinatown

While most of the people attend just the parade, there are four other cool events scheduled to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown, San Francisco. 

The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, February 24-25, 10am-4pm, Celebrate the Year of the Dog with a full day of family activities including live music & performances, exhibits, and more! San Francisco.

Chinatown Community Street Fair, February 24-25, 10am-4:30pm, San Francisco.

Chinese Culture Center Spring Festival, February 17, Looking for a fun way to usher in the Year of the Dog? Come participate in CCC’s Spring Festival, an extravaganza of free performances – dance, martial arts, and family friendly activities.

Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt 4-8pm, San Francisco.

Explore Every Nook and Cranny In Chinatown

There are a lot of cool places to explore in Chinatown. Some on my must-do list include a visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory on Ross Alley just off Grant. Don't miss some of the intriguing herb shops. My favorite is The Great China Herb Company at 857 Washington. Along Grant Avenue is Chinatown Kite Shop which sells a huge variety of kites. At 125 Waverly Place/Washington, look for a little yellow sign reading "Tin How Temple." Climb three flights of stairs to find the oldest Taoist/Buddhist temple in the United States, founded in 1852. Bonus; a sweeping view of Chinatown from the balcony.

Plan A Chinese Lunch

I could easily rattle of a ton of great places to eat but my top favorites are New Asia Restaurant (772 Pacific) and the R&G Lounge (631 Kearny.)  Reservations are highly recommended.

Then we top off our day with a yummy Moon Cake at the Eastern Bakery (720 Grant.)

Enjoy Other Chinese New Year Celebrations Around The Bay Area

Saturday, January 20, 2018, 2-3:30pm, Straw Craft for Chinese New Year, Chinatown/Him Mark Lai, San Francisco.

Saturday, January 20, 2018, 2:30-4pm, Red Envelope Craft, Portola Library, San Francisco.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 4-5pm, Tray of Togetherness Tasting, Anza Library, San Francisco.

Thursday, January 25, 2018, 7-8:30pm, Chinese New Year Red Envelope Craft, Sunset Library, San Francisco.

Friday, January 26, 2018, 3:45-4:45pm, Singing for Chinese New Year, Ingleside Library, San Francisco.

Saturday, January 27, 2018, 1-2:30pm, Chinese New Year Red Envelope Crafting, Anza Library, San Francisco.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 1-2:30pm, Paper Plum Blossoms, Visitacion Valley Library, San Francisco.

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 4-5:30pm, DIY Chinese Good Luck Ornament, Anza Library, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 10, 2018, 10:30am-12pm, Red Envelope Craft, Ortega Library, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 10, 2018, 10:30am-12pm, Write A “Good Fortune” Chinatown/Him Mark Lai, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 10, 2018, 2-4pm, Celebrate Chinese New Year with The Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company, Presidio on Sacramento Street, San Francisco.

Monday, February 12, 2018, 4-5:30pm, Chinese New Year Red Envelope Craft, Western Addition Library, San Francisco.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 6:30-8pm, Asian Brush Painting Sumi-e, West Portal Library, San Francisco.

Friday-Sunday, February 16-18, 1-3pm, Chinese New Year Celebration, celebrate Chinese New Year with traditional music, dance, crafts, Tai Chi demonstration, traditional dances – and culminating in a lion dance, Aquarium of the Bay.

Saturday, February 17, 2018, 11am-12pm, Chinese Lion Dancer Team Performance on Lawn, The Lion Dance is thought to cleanse darkness and bring good luck, prosperity and happiness, San Anselmo Library.

Saturday, February 17, 2018, 12-4pm, Lunar New Year Celebration, traditional candy, lion dancers, martial arts and more, 4th Street, Berkeley.

Saturday & Sunday, February 17-18, 2018, 11am-4pm, Creative Family Fun: Fantastic Fans, 11am-4pm, Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco.

Saturday & Sunday, February 17-18, 2018, 12-4pm, Lunar New Year Celebration, 12-4pm, try your hand at traditional crafts, and enjoy displays and performances, Children's Discovery Museum, San Jose.

Sunday, February 18, 2018, 10:30am–4pm, Lunar New Year Celebration: Year of the Rooster, 10:30am-4pm, Roll in the Year of the Dog with talented dancers and musicians at the Asian Art Museum’s annual Lunar New Year Celebration. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

Monday, February 19, 2018, 9am-4pm, Chinese New Year, 9am-4pm, lion dancers, observe professional calligraphers, sample delicious Chinese food and more all made possible through our partnership with Marin Chinese Cultural Association. Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito.

Saturday, February 24, 2018, 3pm, Chinese New Year Concert and Imperial Dinner, San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall.

Saturday & Sunday, February 24-25, 2018, 10:30am-12pm, Chinese New Year Red Envelope Craft, Glen Park Library, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 24, 2018,  Lunar New Year Celebrations, 11am-3pm, celebrate the Year of the Rooster with traditional Chinese lion and folk dancing, and much more, San Francisco Zoo.

Sunday, March 4, 2018, 7am, Chinatown YMCA Run5K RUN / WALK or 10K RUN