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. To avoid being overwhelmed, here are my personal and well-tested recommendations to usher in the Year of the Pig.

The Famous Parade

On Saturday, February 23, 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 Pig.

Other Ways To Celebrate The Year Of The Pig 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. 

Flower Market Fair, Saturday, February 2-3, the place to come to purchase fresh flowers, fruits, candies and brand new supplies for the home to begin the new lunar year. 

The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a full day of family activities including live music & performances, exhibits, and more! San Francisco.

Chinatown Community Street Fair, February 23-24, 10am-4:30pm, Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of San Francisco’s exhilarating Chinatown during one of the community’s most exciting times of the year. You will find over 120 booths and concessions making this a shopper’s paradise.

Chinese Culture Center Spring Festival, Looking for a fun way to usher in the Year of the Pig? 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.

Chinatown YMCA Run, Sunday, March 3, scenic route starts at Sacramento and Grant, winds its way through Chinatown, North Beach, the Embarcadero, Downtown and finishes on Kearny between California and Sacramento.

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. Expect many restaurants to host private events so best to plan ahead.

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

Lion Dancers at the San Francisco Public Libraries. Multiple dates and locations listed.

Red Envelope Artwork, Saturday, January 12, 2:00 - 4:00, Ingleside Library, San Francisco.

Melody of China Music Ensemble, Sunday, January 20, 1:30 - 2:30, Visitacion Valley Library, San Francisco.

Craft Night: Red Envelopes, Wednesday, January 23, 7:00 - 8:30, Parkside Library, San Francisco.

Make a Chinese Paper Lantern! Friday, January 25, 4:00 - 5:00, Merced Library, San Francisco.

Chinese New Year Peach Blossom Painting, Saturday, January 26, 2019
3:30 - 4:30, Parkside Library, San Francisco.

Creating Inspirational Fortune Artworks, Wednesday, January 30, 3:30 - 5:00, Anza Library, San Francisco.

Sing-along for Chinese New Year, Thursday, January 31, 3:30 - 4:30, Ingleside Library, San Francisco.

Lunar New Year Weekend, February 1-3, Fairyland welcomes the Year of the Pig with special decorations, activities, and performances! On Saturday and Sunday, the Puppet Company presents “Mae Lin and the Magic Brush” at 1:30 and 2:30, and Hung Sing Martial Arts performs a colorful and dramatic lion dance at 3:30, Children’s Fairyland, Oakland.

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Larkspur Library! February 2, 1pm, Larkspur Library.

Chinese Lion Dancer Team Performance on Lawn, 2:15pm, Welcome the Lunar New Year with the famous Lion Dancers of the Marin Chinese Cultural Association. Chinese Lion Dance is an important part of the rich cultural heritage of the Chinese people all over the world. The Lion Dance is thought to cleanse darkness and bring good luck, prosperity and happiness. Town Hall Plaza, San Anselmo.

Lunar New Year Celebration, Saturday & Sunday, February 2-3, 12-4pm, try your hand at traditional crafts, and enjoy displays and performances, Children's Discovery Museum, San Jose.

Red Panda Acrobats, February 7, 4-5pm, Join us for a thrilling acrobatic performance in celebration of Chinese New Year! The show will feature exceptional acrobatic skills, traditional Chinese music, and colorful costumes. Presented by Red Panda Acrobats, ages 5 & up welcome. Belvedere Tiburon Library.

Chinese New Year Celebration and Banquet 2019, February 9, 5pm, everything from jai and prawns to suckling pig and red bean soup. Great performances including the Red Panda Acrobats, a martial arts demonstration, traditional guzheng, and, of course, our amazing Lion Dancers. Bring the whole family to share the excitement and tradition of the Lunar New Year, San Rafael. #MCCACNY

Choy Sun Doe Day, February 9, 10am-4pm, Bring the fam and join us on Saturday February 9th at Chinatown on Grant and Jackson for a special NEW EVENT-CHOY SUN DOE DAY! Chinatown.

Lunar New Year 2019, February 9-10, To commemorate the Year of the Pig, the San Francisco Zoo is thrilled to host Lunar New Year celebrations! Soak up the ambiance of the occasion and marvel at traditional Chinese lion and folk dance performances at 11:00 and 1:00 daily in The Depot.

Lunar New Year Celebration and Other Asian Traditions: Year of the Pig, February 10, 12-4:30pm, a fortune-filled family-friendly event to welcome in the Year of the Pig. Celebrate with spectacular cultural performances, demonstrations, traditional and contemporary music and dance, delicious Asian-inspired food trucks, and much more. Explore connections between the diverse Asian cultures represented in California, including Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Japanese, and more, Oakland Museum of California.

Chinese New Year Concert and Imperial Dinner, Saturday, February 16, 5pm & 7pm, San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall.

Lunar New Year Celebration: Year of the Pig, Sunday, February 17, 10:30am–4pm, 10:30am-4pm, Roll in the Year of the Pig with talented dancers and musicians at the Asian Art Museum’s annual Lunar New Year Celebration. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

Chinese New Year, Monday, February 18, 9am-4pm, 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.

Events will be added. Please check back often.