Chinese New Year begins on Tuesday, February 5th and there are family-friendly Lunar New Year celebrations of Year of the Pig all over the city! Immerse your kids in Asian culture at a variety of local festivals and events from Chinatown to Disney’s California Adventure. From lion dancing, colorful costumes and decorations and delicious Asian food, to Chinese acrobatic performances and a lantern parade, here’s the scoop on where to ring in the Chinese New Year, San Diego style.
What is Year of the Pig?
The Chinese zodiac relates each year to an animal, for a cycle of 12 years. Chinese New Year commences on February 5, 2019, which marks the beginning of Year of the Pig. The Pig symbolizes wealth and good fortune. People born in the Year of the Pig are blessed with a beautiful personality and luck and are said to be energetic and enthusiastic.
Disney California Adventure Park
Leave it to Disney California Adventure Park to transform the Lunar New Year celebration into a gorgeous, full-on extravaganza featuring yummy Asian-inspired food, live musical performances and a thrice-daily parade starring Mulan and her faithful dragon, Mushu. Crafty kids will love the complimentary arts and craft booths, which include paper lantern making, face-painting and Chinese calligraphy as well as a Lucky Wishing Wall where guests can write their hopes for the New Year. 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.
Note: 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.
When: Now through February 17
Where: Disney California Adventure Park
Admission: Lunar New Year celebration is included with regular Disney admission.
More event details here.
San Diego Lunar New Year Festival
Kick-off the festivities at the Lunar New Year Festival happening Feb 1-3. This pan-Asian festival costs $6 for adults and $4 for kids. You can get a $1 discount on tickets purchased online before 5 p.m. Feb. 1 using the promotion code PIG. There’s also a $1 discount for military, senior citizen, disabled and student.This festival at SDCCU Stadium presented by the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation, will feature lion dances throughout the day, carnival rides, lots of Asian food, martial arts, a pageant contest, an Asian cultural village, a doggie costume contest and much more.
Good to know! There’s no admission fee for people born in the year of the Pig. Provide picture ID that shows the year of your/your kiddo’s birth. For a list of acceptable identification for kids, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
49 Friars Rd.
San Diego, CA 92108
San Diego Tet Festival
Celebrate the Year of the Pig at the San Diego Tet Festival. The 3-day celebration features children’s games and activities, food and live entertainment, including A-list singers and performers, lion dancing, the Miss Vietnam of San Diego pageant, Golden Voice singing competition, Step-Up dance competition, an all-pet costume contest and the Cultural Village.
Mira Mesa Community Park
8575 New Salem St.
San Diego, CA 92126
Lunar New Year Celebration in Carlsbad
Carlsbad Premium Outlets wishes you and your family good fortune and happiness during the Year of the Pig. Join the fun of their Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb. 9th to enjoy themed crafts for kids from noon-3 p.m. and a beautiful Lion Dance performance from 1:30-2:30 p.m., all in the Center Court near Tommy Hilfiger and Gap. Plus, from Friday, Feb. 1st to Sun., Feb. 10th, VIP members can pick up lucky red envelopes from the Information Center that are filled with special retailer promotions and coupons. Anyone can sign up to become a VIP member for free at premiumoutlets.com/VIP. Event details.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets
5620 Paseo Del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92008
San Diego Chinese New Year Fair
Celebrate the Year of the Pig at the Chinese New Year Fair on Feb. 16th & 17th from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. both days. This free, family-friendly two-day event showcases exciting performances, Asian art and culture, an array of delicious Chinese and Asian food and much more. The Fair is the largest event in San Diego County to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. There will be food and commercial booths, continuous live performances on stage, a Lantern Parade, Chinese Acrobatic performances, lion and dragon dancers, cultural displays and arts and crafts for kids.
Third Ave. and J St. Downtown
San Diego, CA 92101
photo: Brian Yap via Flickr
Barnard Community Chinese New Year Celebration
This Mandarin Chinese Magnet elementary school hosts their annual community festival on Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Enjoy live performances, competitions, food and more! Admission is free, but you may purchase wristbands for carnival games and activities.
2445 Fogg St.
San Diego, CA 92109
Lunar New Year Celebration with Lion Dancers
Ring in the Lunar New Year at North Park Library! They’re hosting a dazzling and dynamic Lion Dance and Kung Fu performance. The lion dance is a traditional practice as part of Chinese Lunar New Year festivities, bringing good luck and happiness.
North Park Library
3795 31st St.
San Diego, CA
Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year at Home
There are many ways your family can celebrate the Chinese New Year. You can start by decorating your home. Add a splash of good-luck red and gold to your kiddo’s room with red lanterns, hanging firecrackers and other festive decorations. Party City stores around San Diego and elsewhere have Chinese New Year decorations. For decorations and even costumes that are the real deal, try an Asian import or grocery store, such as 99 Ranch Market. Don’t forget to search the library for books about Chinese New Year, that you can read together at home. The Internet also has free printables that kids can color while learning more about this important holiday.
Another easy decoration involves an antioxidant rich, kid-friendly fruit. Citrus trees of all sizes appear in the doorways of homes and offices during Lunar New Year. If a real tree is out of the question, pile oranges or tangerines high in a bowl, as they are thought to bring good fortune and health in the new year. Better yet, make it a fun project for the kids. Have them eat one a day for 15 days, the duration of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at one of San Diego’s best dim sum restaurants. Here are our favorite family-friendly dim sum spots.
A major part of Lunar New Year celebrations is cleaning the house from top to bottom in order to sweep away bad luck from the prior year and make room for good tidings. Explain this to the kids– and just maybe, they’ll clean their rooms!
––Leah R. Singer, Melissa Heckscher & Beth Shea