The Chinese Lunar New Year is one of our very favorite holidays to celebrate with kids. Picture fabulous food, an animal theme, amazing entertainment and parades, crafts suited to all ages, plus some very cool traditions. For the ultimate list of where to celebrate the Year of the Pig, scroll below.
photo: Pacific Asia Museum via Facebook
Pacific Asian Museum
This year’s free Lunar New Year Festival includes a Lion Dance, a martial arts presentation from the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu Association, classical musicians from the Pasadena Symphony and a special delegation from the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music performing a variety of traditional and contemporary music and dance pieces. Don’t miss the art activities, food trucks and the petting zoo that will be fun for the whole family!
Good to Know: Because it takes place in various areas of the museum, it’s easy to get to a quieter space in the galleries if the kids are getting riled up, or have them focus on a craft for a bit. Kids get the chance to see other kids perform, and there’s always the Koi pond—a road-tested favorite of all pint-sized visitors.
Date: Sun., Feb. 3
Hours: 10 a.m.
46 N. Robles Ave.
photo: Golden Dragon Parade
Touted as the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in the country, Los Angeles’ Chinatown kicks off the Year of the Pig in a big way with cultural performances, kid’s activities, a live music stage, a singing competition and plenty of hands-on (and ingestible) fun for all ages.
The festivities get underway with a parade that’s been around since the 1800’s – Golden Dragon Parade (which starts at Hill & Ord Streets at 1 p.m. on Sat.). There will be hundreds of spectacular floats, decked out cars, dancers, and bands parading through the heart of Chinatown. The Lunar New Year Festival starts after the parade with cultural performances by some of the nation’s best Chinese acts and continues all weekend with live music, storytelling, face-painting, art demonstrations, and hands-on workshops, magic acts, and singing competitions.
Good to Know: Come hungry and nosh on dim sum and other traditional treats at one of the fantastic Chinese restaurants in the area (our favorite for kids is the dim sum palace Ocean Seafood) or snack on street food served up at tasty trucks. Tip for tired and thirsty parents: There will also be a craft beer garden featuring local breweries.
When: Feb. 9
Hours: Sat. noon– 8 p.m.
951 N. Broadway
photo: Missy Heckscher
Disneyland California Adventure Park
As if there isn’t already enough to do at Disneyland, celebrating the Year of the Pig at California Adventure means getting treated to a slew of special offerings including special Asian-inspired food booths, live musical performances and a musical parade starring Mulan and her faithful dragon, Mushu. Crafty kids will love the complimentary craft booths including Chinese calligraphy, paper lantern making, and free face painting. There’s also a Lucky Wishing Wall where all those hopes for the New Year can be written onto special paper and hung up for all to see. Be sure to find a spot near Paradise Park for “Mulan’s Lunar New year Procession,” which features mesmerizing dances, energizing drum beats and a huge dragon puppet that’ll have your kids totally wowed (plus a host of Disney favorites to keep them engaged).
Hungry? Eat like it’s the Year of the Pig at the temporary food booths set up along the parade route. All feature genuinely tasty (albeit Disney-fied) Asian cuisine that even kids will enjoy, like a Mickey-shaped Chinese hot dog bun and crispy shrimp fried rice with bacon, garlic, and edamame. A “Sip and Savor Pass” is also available, which gives you six food items for $39 (a slight bargain) if you want to really dig in.
Good to Know: The Lunar New Year Celebration takes place along the California Adventure parade route between Paradise Garden Park (across from the Little Mermaid Ride) and Paradise Pier.
Dates: Now-Feb. 17
Cost: Entertainment is included with the price of admission; food, drinks, and merchandise are priced individually
1313 Disneyland Dr.
photo: Missy Heckscher
The Chinese Lunar New Year takes place within Universal Plaza, located at the heart of the theme park, and is included in the price of admission to Universal Studios Hollywood. The centerpiece of the Lunar New Year festivities will feature DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda Jade Palace Performance Stage and the exciting Dragon Warrior Training Show based on the beloved Kung Fu Panda franchise. Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop is back by popular demand to serve up delicious culturally-themed food and Mr. Ping himself will be on hand to interact with guests and take photos.·
Global pop icon Hello Kitty will step out in style, wearing her signature red bow and specially-designed Lunar New Year attire while a Mandarin-speaking Transformer’s MEGATRON will greet guests at the entry of the festivities, engaging guests in Mandarin and in real time conversation reflective of his person.·Look out for a curtain of iconic red Chinese lanterns, and be sure to add your family’s wishes to the stunning plum blossom Wishing Trees.
Good to Know: Tell your kids to raise their hands high at the Dragon Warrior Training Show when the lucky “young warriors” are chosen to join the show. Besides beaming with pride at watching your kids learning kung fu alongside Po the panda, the pictures you’ll take of your littles doing “monkey punches” and “Mantis stances” on stage are worth every cent of admission.
Dates: Sat. Feb. 2—Sun. Feb. 17
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Included in the price of admission
100 Universal City Plaza
photo: The Grove via Facebook
The Original Farmer’s Market
To celebrate the most important day of the year on the Chinese calendar, and the beginning of the Year of the Pig, T hosting a Lunar New Year celebration. The afternoon will kick off with how to make dumplings with limited samplings from the Farmers Markets’ Chinese restaurant vendors; a magic show by magician Joseph Tran, a Kung Fu demonstration with traditional acrobatics such as foot juggling and hand balancing, plenty of arts and crafts including Chinese calligraphy, and the unveiling of a special Year of the Pig statute (handmade by the Farmers Market Facilities craftsmen).
Date: Sun., Feb. 17 at The Grove
Hours: noon—5 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
6333 W 3rd St.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights aboard the majestic Queen Mary where the Year of the Pig will be honored with traditional Chinese culture, cuisine, and entertainment featuring Wushu Shaolin lion and dragon dancing, Wushu Warriors Shaolin acrobatics, a guzheng ensemble, Chinese ribbon dance, traditional fan dance, acrobatics, and more.
This limited seating event will be a feast of the senses surrounded by stunning decor, a buffet-style dinner featuring classic Chinese cuisine, followed by live entertainment.
Date: Tues., Feb. 5
Hours: 6—10 p.m.
Cost: $99 ages 12 & up, $49 kids 4-11; VIP packages are available.
126 Queens Hwy.
photo: Love Beverly Hills via Facebook
The 2019 Chinese New Year will be celebrated in three parts at The Saban: a variety show, a “Jing-Jin-Ji” photo exhibition and a cultural heritage crafts display and demonstration. The variety show will feature performance groups from Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei with Chinese acrobatics, martial arts, folk dance, Peking opera and more. The cultural heritage crafts display and demonstration will include Peking Opera costumes, ceremonial tea service, traditional folk music and more.
Date: Sat., Jan. 26
Hours: 3 p.m.
Cost: $10 each
8440 Wilshire Blvd
Westfield Century City Mall
The family-owned and operated American Chinese restaurant, Panda Express, is spreading good fortune with an interactive display called, House of Good Fortune: A Lunar New Year Experience in the Westfield Atrium Space within the Westfield Century City Mall. Guests are invited to explore and connect with the customs of the holiday as they bring to life Lunar New Year stories and symbols of happiness, prosperity, and togetherness via interactive art installations. Explore five immersive, multi-sensory rooms to discover the rich traditions of one of the world’s most vibrant celebrations. Each room provides a one-of-a-kind experience like flying red envelopes, an everchanging hall of noodles, a festival of lanterns and more.
Dates: Feb. 1-5
Hours: Noon-8 p.m.
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
photo: Sebastian Dooris via flickr
Pretend City Children’s Museum
Celebrate this most special date with the little kid set at Pretend City’s Lunar New Year. They will honor centuries-old Chinese traditions through fun, bright, activities and cultural learning plus a special calligraphy lesson taught by the Irvine Chinese School at 3:00 p.m.
Date: Tues., Feb. 5
Hours: 11 a.m.—3 p.m.
Cost: Included in the price of admission
To celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Pig, Citadel Outlets will be decked out in celebratory décor such as a 17-foot pagoda centerpiece, a pig topiary and festive red and gold lanterns plus giving out 10,000 red envelopes stuffed with gift cards and shopping coupons from Jan. 21 to Feb. 18.
Make sure to come back on Feb. 3 to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history surrounding the holiday and enjoy a fun, live festivities like traditional dances, brush painting and calligraphy.
Date: Sun., Feb. 3
Hours: Noon-3 p.m.
100 Citadel Dr.
photo: Beryl_snw via flickr
Santa Monica Place
Commemorate the Year of the Pig with Santa Monica Place’s annual Lunar New Year celebration. Hosted by comedian Paul “PK” Kim, celebrations will include authentic cultural performances and activities such as the traditional Chinese lion dance, Korean fan dance, stilt walkers, traditional dough artist, balloon twister, classical folk music from a Chinese musical duo, New Year’s Wishing Trees and family-friendly arts and crafts for all to enjoy. Don’t forget to stick around to see popular K-pop dance group, First Bite at 3:45 p.m.
Date: Sat., Feb. 16
Hours: 2—6 p.m.
395 Santa Monica Pl.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Join the Port of Los Angeles at the aquarium for the fourth annual Lunar New Year Festival on the LA Waterfront. This community event will feature a petting zoo, traditional dancers, Taiko drummers, lion dancers, face painting, arts and crafts, and a fireworks finale.
Date: Sat., Feb. 2
Hours: 3 p.m.—7 p.m.
3720 Stephen M. White Dr.
Feature image: Patrick Kwan via flickr
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—Meghan Rose, Andie Huber & Missy Heckscher