The calendar’s new year may have passed, but the biggest celebration of the year in many parts of the world is still to come! Celebrating and honoring family, the Chinese New Year offers families a chance to bring in some good luck for the upcoming year (tell your kids to clean the house—it’s lucky!) Find the best ways to join in on the Lunar New Year celebrations in Portland by reading on for more. Welcome the Year of the Dog in a fantastic way!

photo: liana via flickr

See the Lan Su Chinese Gardens
These Ming Dynasty style gardens are one of the premiere attractions of Chinatown and Portland. If you only go once a year, don’t miss out on their biggest celebration! Weekends from February 16th  through March 4th, you’ll find special treats like lion dances, Chinese folk art, calligraphy demonstrations, martial arts practices, and family crafts to join in. And the kids will also get the chance to add to the Wishing Tree! For a really special night, grab tickets ahead of time for the evening Lantern Viewing, where the garden glows bright with light, and a dragon procession ends the evening.

Feb. 16 through Mar. 4
Lan Su Chinese Gardens
239 NW Everett St., Portland

Visit the Chinese New Year Cultural Fair
This giant fair has been around for over seventeen years, celebrating the rich Chinese traditions of the Portland community! Fun for the whole family, the festival this year celebrates the Year of the Dog. Your kids will love to see the martial arts demonstrations, lots of children’s games, folk dances, and a special lion dance from the White Lotus Lion Dance Team, who perform on high poles called Jongs. Past all that, the fair is chance to taste the exciting treats from many vendors–everyone will be sure to find something they love!

Saturday, Feb 10
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Portland

photo: judy via yelp

Visit Portland’s History
Portland’s Chinatown has a rich history — it was once the second-largest Chinatown in the United States! With the new Portland Chinatown Museum set to open later in 2018, you’ll have to save your curiosity for a bit later. Until then, get the family to the Portland Art Museum for it’s 4,000 artifact-strong collection of Asian artwork, like ceramics and objects found in tombs. Children 17 and under are always free.

$19.99/adults, free for children 17 and under
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR

Enjoy the Library’s Lunar New Year
Multnomah County Library is not missing out on the fun of the Lunar New Year! They’ll be having a few celebrations at libraries around the county, most notably at Central. Join them for fun cultural performances, readings, snacks, and crafts for the little ones.

Sun., Feb 18, 2 – 4 p.m.
801 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR


photo: Walter via flicker

Make Your Own Hong Bao
Bright red envelopes (hong bao) are traditionally given out during the Chinese New Year (especially to kids), filled with money. The red color symbolizes good luck, and the money is a wish for a prosperous year. Make your own with these instructions from the Lan Su Chinese Garden, fill them with a few coins, and have your kids give them to neighbors and friends this year!

Instructions here:


What’s your favorite Lunar New Year celebration? Tell us in the comments below!

—Katrina Emery