The best things to do for Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year during these fun and colorful cultural events happening all over the city
14th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, Festival, chinese new year
Photograph: Filip Wolak
By Jennifer Picht |
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While the memories of post-New Year’s Eve hangovers are still fresh in our minds, here’s an opportunity to cash in on round two: Chinese New Year. FYI: This is the year of the Dog, which means 2018 is the time to be honest, loyal and cater to your true desires. If you truly want to celebrate this awesome holiday, then head to the Chinese New Year Parade for some thrills. The festivities run the gamut from firecrackers to wild dance performances and martial arts demonstrations taking place at one of the best NYC parks. If you insist on something more mellow, grab some traditional Chinese New Year dinner at a sensational restaurant followed by cocktails at the best bars in Chinatown.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Chinese New Year in NYC

Things to do for Chinese New Year

Artists & Fleas
Photograph: Courtesy Artists & Fleas
Things to do

The Lunar Market

Celebrate Lunar New Year by shopping at Artists & Fleas Soho during this special pop-up market to benefit Charles B Wang Community Health Center. Scoop up artwork, apparel, jewelry, home decor and body care products from Asian American makers as well as products inspired by Asian culture. If you donate $25 or more to the charity, you'll get an invite to the closing reception, which includes refreshments, live music and a raffle ticket for a chance to win dope prizes.

Warm Up at MoMa PS1
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Night at the Museum: Lunar New Year

Monthly dance party Bubble_T. hosts this all-ages night market at MoMA PS1, where you can enjoy eats and cocktails from vendors like Kichin and Win Son, explore exhibitions and pop-up installations and catch live performances from Nightspace, Sookie Sterling Phyllis Ma and more.

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Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

Madison Street to Madison Avenue Lunar New Year Celebration

Celebrate the Lunar New Year all-day-long during this action-packed festival full of musical performances, shopping discounts from local stores and family entertainment from Madison Street to Madison Ave. Make sure to check out the lineup online—we imagine there will be plenty of lion dancers, calligraphy demos and traditional Chinese face-changing.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Ruth Hartnup
Things to do, Festivals

Temple Bazaar

Throughout China, temples host festivals where locals can observe the national holiday. The Flushing Town Hall recreates this experience with its annual Temple Bazaar, where you can enjoy music, dance and martial arts performances. Munch on delicious foods from Shandong, China, and Taiwan, and learn crafts like paper cutting and calligraphy under the red paper lanterns.

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Things to do, Festivals

Lunar New Year at Brookfield Place

Ring in the year of the Dog at Brookfield Place in partnership with the New York Chinese Culture Center. Get ready for energetic dance and music performances, as well as demonstrations of Chinese customs such as a martial arts demo and theatrical players in full traditional makeup-up and regalia. Guests of all ages should show up early: there will be a dynamic, colorful Lion Parade led by lion dances throughout the space before the show begins.

Things to do

Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival

Unfriendly ghosts should steer clear of Sara D. Roosevelt Park on February 16 when the Better Chinatown Society lights 600,000 firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Dog and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there will be lion dances and decorations giveaways, plus craft vendors and food booths where you can get your fill of traditional delicacies. It’s said that the more dumplings you eat at the celebration, the more money you’ll make in the year ahead. Grand St at Forsyth St.

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Chinese Lunar New Year parade
Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown
Things to do

Flushing Lunar New Year Parade

This annual jaunt travels through Queens’ Chinatown, which rivals Manhattan’s in population, and whose Lunar New Year parade is actually three years older than the similar event in that other borough. Check out traditional Chinese performances, like the dragon dance, with many performers in a long dragon costume mimicking the mythical creature’s movements. The parade kicks off with an opening reception at Historic St. Geroge's Church (9:30–10:30am), during which you can warm up with hot coffee, load up on baked goods and then head to the parade at Union Street and 37th Avenue. 

Listen closely to New York Philharmonic
Photograph: Chris Lee
Music, Classical and opera

New York Philharmonic: Lunar New Year Concert and Gala

The New York Philharmonic is known for its exceptional New Year’s Concert and, for a seventh year, the renowned symphony kicks the Lunar New Year into high gear as well. In the past, the special Chinese New Year Gala Concert featured Puccini’s Turandot as well as Chinese folk songs such as “Jasmine Flower” and a new trumpet concerto, Joie Éternelle.

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14th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, 2013
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

Chinese New Year Parade

During one of the best NYC events in January, Chinatown, NYC is stormed by dragons and dancers, while some of the best Chinese restaurants serve delicious food in celebration of the Lunar New Year. But before you get lost in the bang of firecrackers, check out some fun things to do in the neighborhood, including the best karaoke in Chinatown.

Looking for some grub?

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