Ready to wake up the neighborhood ringing in the Year of the Dog? Mark your calendars for February 16 to March 2 to welcome the Lunar New Year with a slew of parades, parties and cultural performances in its honor. You’ll have Far East fun with the family at the following events, which make Argyle Street, Chicago Botanic Garden, the Mag Mile and beyond sizzle brighter than a firecracker.

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival at Navy Pier CNY3 Photo Credit_Chinese Fine Arts Society (1)photo: Chinese Fine Arts Society / Choose Chicago

Get the Party Started Early!
If you can’t wait to start the celebration, check out what the City of Chicago has planned through their kid-favorite Juicebox series, which provides engaging music in a kid-friendly setting geared toward the stroller set. Leading up to the Chinese New Year, families can experience Yin He Dance, which is dedicated to exploring, preserving and celebrating Chinese culture through dance. These two performances will show how dance has transcended linguistic and cultural boundaries of the various regions of China with beautiful props like ribbons, fans and handkerchiefs.

Feb. 2; 11-11:45 a.m.
Chicago Cultural Center
Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
The Loop
Feb. 3; 11-11:45 a.m.
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.

Argyle Street Chinese New Yearphoto: Chinese Lunar New Year Parade

Argyle Street Chinese Lunar New Year
The city’s northside celebration takes place on Argyle Street in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, home to both Chinese and Vietnamese communities. While smaller than the Chinatown parade, Argyle Street still throws quite a party. Fireworks, lion dancers, floats and dragons ring in the New Year. Public transportation is your best bet for this party. Just hop on the Red Line El and hop off at Argyle. Don’t forget to grab a pastry to enjoy during the parade (we love the ones at Ba Le).

Feb. 24; 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Parade goes from Argyle to Sheridan, Sheridan to Ainslie, Ainslie to Broadway, then back to Argyle

Explore the Art Institute’s Xu Longsen Installation: Light of Heaven
Born in Shanghai, Xu Longsen is regarded as one of the most creative artists of his generation in China. Created specifically for the Art Institute’s galleries, Light of Heaven consists of a set of pillars painted with layers of ink wash along with a number of landscape paintings, all inspired by the mythological Mount Kunlun, home to many Chinese gods and goddesses.

Feb. 1-Jun. 24
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
The Loop
Free with museum admission


Chinese New Year Lunar Parade Photo Credit_©Adam Alexander Photographyphoto: Chinese Lunar New Year Parade / Adam Alexander Photography via Choose Chicago

Chinese Lunar New Year Parade
The Chinatown arch is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Chicago, and this is a chance to catch it — and the neighborhood’s unwavering energy — in all its glory. Fireworks kick off the parade, which winds through the heart of the ‘hood with floats, bands, lion dancers and a 90-foot-long Mystical Dragon. Because of limited parking, street closures for the parade and the crowd, we recommend taking public transportation (exit at 22nd Street on the Red Line El).

Feb. 25, 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Starts at 24th Street & Wentworth Avenue and heads north to Cermak Road

A Chinese New Year Celebration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Celebrate the Year of the Dog with a splendid musical celebration of the Chinese New Year. Chongqing Chuanju Opera Theatre showcases the dazzling costumes and acrobatic choreography of traditional Chinese opera, performing selections including The Taming of the Gambler and Jin Shan Temple. Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra spotlights traditional Chinese instruments in colorful orchestral arrangements of Chinese folk melodies and favorites from China’s Zhejiang Province.


Feb. 17, 3 p.m.
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
The Loop
Cost: $20-$75

How are you going to celebrate? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Anli Chen