Lunar New Year, strongly tied to the annual Chinese New Year celebration, offers countless ways to rejoice all over the Bay Area. Welcome 2018—the Year of the Dog—with traditional lion dances, crafts and fortune cookies as you join in one of these festive celebrations and parades. Traditional arts like origami and calligraphy are demonstrated and kids can make festive paper lanterns to take home.

photo: Paul via Flickr

San Francisco

Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair, Chinatown
The lively fun here will include more than 100 vendors showcasing plants, fruits, flowers, candy and other delights—plus performances that include drummers, dancers and other talented show-stoppers. There’s even a mini-parade on Saturday kicking off at 10:30 a.m. that provides a sneak peek of the huge procession to come later in the month. It’s slated to begin at St. Mary’s Square and follows the original parade route down Grant Avenue—ending at the Flower Market Fair’s main stage where the Official Ribbon Cutting ceremony takes place.

When: February 10, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. and February 11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Grant Ave. from Clay to Broadway;
Pacific Ave. from Kearney to Stockton;
Jackson St. from Kearny to Stockton

Lunar New Year Celebration, Asian Art Museum
Welcome the Year of the Dog with everything from acrobatics and art to drumming and storytelling. The Red Panda Acrobats will be showing off their circus performance arts and tumbling skills and another highlight is sure to be the Lion Dance Drumming, traditionally seen as providing good luck for the new year and a force to drive away evil spirits. Following the performances, author Oliver Chin will read a story about Chinese zodiac animals; you can have your name written in Chinese calligraphy or make art projects.


When: February 18, 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

Lunar New Year Celebration, San Francisco Zoo
Zoom to the zoo for plenty of fun, including daily traditional Chinese lion and folk dance performances at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Visitors can also partake in a Zodiac Scavenger Hunt through the Zoo to uncover neat facts about the animals populating the Chinese calendar. Or, drop by Wolf Canyon to see the wolves howling in celebration over the Year of the Dog!

When: February 24-25
San Francisco Zoo
Great Hwy.
San Francisco, CA

Chinese New Year Concert, San Francisco Symphony
This family-friendly celebration takes inspiration on both age-old and modern traditions to embrace Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog. Arrive at 2 p.m. for the fun-packed Festival Reception showcasing Chinese instruments, lion dancing, “lucky” red envelopes, tea bars, a variety of snacks and much more. Guests can also buy a ticket to a lively and authentic Imperial Dinner to extend the excitement following the concert.

When: February 24, 3 p.m.
San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA

Chinatown Community Street Fair, Chinatown
An eclectic mix of excitement hails revelers in San Francisco’s Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Dog. Peruse a variety of exhibitor stands selling and displaying everything from colorful keepsakes to lantern-making kits and more. There will also be a wealth of electrifying performances to take in, including talented acrobats and costumed dancers.

When: February 24, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; February 25, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Chinatown Community Street Fair
Grant Ave. from Clay to Broadway;
Pacific Ave. from Kearney to Stockton;
Jackson St. from Kearny to Stockton

Chinese New Year’s Day Parade, Chinatown
Considered one of the best of its kind in the U.S., San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade comprises colorful floats, dazzling costumes, performers ranging from stilt walker to lion dancers, and the freshly crowned Miss Chinatown USA. Another highlight is always the famous Golden Dragon, “Gum Lung”, requiring about 180 handlers for its 268-foot length. It’s all enlivened by drummers and the endless popping of firecrackers. Parade starts on Market Street (by Second), up Geary to Powell, then down Post and through Chinatown on Kearney, ending at Columbus (and Jackson).

When: February 24, 5:15–8 p.m.
Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade

photo: Mike Thurston via Flickr

East Bay

Lunar New Year Celebration and Parade, Downtown Albany
The fun here kicks off at the Landmark Theatre on Solano Ave. and guests are advised to come early to get free tickets to the unique Chinese-themed show that includes lion dances and martial arts performances. Immediately following the show, a sidewalk parade begins just outside the theater, with revelers encouraged to partake. Please keep in mind the sidewalk parade portion of the event is weather-permitting so may be cancelled if rainfall is in the forecast.

When: February 11, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Landmark Albany Twin Theatre
1115 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

Lunar New Year Celebration, Oakland Museum of California
Join the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) for its 17th annual Lunar New Year shindig to welcome in the Year of the Dog. All activities are included with museum entry and diversions will include numerous live performances, traditionally Asian arts, crafts, food, demonstrations and more. In fact, visitors can take in everything from imperial court music to yo-yo stunts to martial arts demonstrations. Chinese cooking demonstrations, fortune telling and even a K-Pop dance exhibition from the Korean Performance Group are additional lures. And foodies are sure to savor Asian-influenced fare from the Blue Oak Café and some friendly food trucks courtesy of Off the Grid.

When: February 25, noon–4:30 p.m.
Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St.
Oakland, CA

Lunar New Year Festival, Oakland Asian Cultural Center
The Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC) is partnering with the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce’s Lunar New Year celebration for a complimentary indoor-outdoor jamboree for all ages to hail the Year of the Dog. Live performances, interactive arts and crafts and a variety of vendors are all on the agenda.

When: February 3, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 Ninth Street, Ste. 290
Oakland, CA

Lunar New Year Festival, Fourth Street, Berkeley
Sponsored by Teance Fine Teas and Fourth Street, this festive afternoon will show off martial arts demonstrations, lion dances by the renowned, San Francisco-based Kei Lun performers, treats from several stores, a ‘shop blessing’ parade and kiddy craft tables. This 10th annual edition of the Fourth Street celebration is dedicated to Winnie Yu, founder of Teance, who passed away in 2017 and was the originator of the festival a decade ago.

When: February 17, noon-4 p.m.
Fourth Street and Delaware
Berkeley, CA

photo: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Peninsula/South Bay

Lunar New Year Celebration, Redwood City
Join in for this celebration of the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog! The free fun will range from Lion Dancers to Red Panda Acrobats, plus martial arts, and kid-focused arts and crafts.

When: February 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Redwood City Courthouse Square
2200 Broadway St.
Redwood City, Ca

Lunar New Year Celebration, Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose
This is a chance to partake in some traditionally Asian celebrations of the Lunar New Year! Kid-friendly activities will include dragon dances, brush painting, paper folding and calligraphy demonstrations.

When: February 17, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; February 18, noon–5 p.m.
Children’s Discovery Museum
180 Woz Way
San Jose, Ca

Lunar New Year Crafts and Stories, San Jose Libraries
Celebrate Lunar New Year with a story, crafts and fun as we welcome the Year of the Dog. For ages 3 and up.

When: Throughout February
See website for participating libraries, dates and times.
San Jose, CA

Free Community Day: Lunar New Year, San Jose Museum of Art
This special event aims to put a modern spin on ancient Chinese New Year traditions. Come embrace the Year of the Dog with cultural demonstrations, hands-on art projects and lively entertainment. This contemporary celebration honors Lunar New Year traditions commemorated around the globe and here in San Jose.

When: February 17, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
San Jose Museum of Art
110 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA

photo: San Jose Libraries


Chinese New Year Festival, Bay Area Discovery Museum
The Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) is welcoming the Year of the Dog with a loaded slate of fun activities and entertainment. Included in the agenda are a Kung Fu performance, lion dancers, master calligraphers on view and even lantern making in BADM’s Fab Lab. The event is sponsored by Matthews Asia and organized in partnership with the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.

When: February 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Rd.
Sausalito, CA

Have any plans in 2018 for Year of the Dog celebrating? Let us know in the comments below!

—Zach Chouteau, Kate Loweth & Bonggamom