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15th annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, Chinese New Year
Photograph: Filip Wolak

The best things to do for Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Chinese New Year)

Ring in the Year of the Tiger with these fun and colorful cultural events in NYC

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year) is here to lift us up with new beginnings, beautiful art and delicious food. The celebration includes bursting firecrackers, lion dances and delicious cuisine, including at Chinatown's Firecracker Ceremony Chinese New Year Parade, which are some of the best events in February. Don't miss filling your belly with amazing cuisine from one of the best Chinese restaurants in NYC either!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Lunar New Year in NYC

Things to do for Lunar New Year

  • Art
  • Central Park

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating the year of the tiger with interactive activities and artist-led workshops for all ages during a daylong festival on Saturday, January 29. Explore "Insider Insights—Celebrating the Year of the Tiger," sit in for Storytime with The Met: Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, explore Chinese ceremonial robes with Lee Mingwei as part of an online series in which artists respond to works of art in The Met collection, watch Ariun Sanjaajamts, founder of the New York Mongolian Cultural Council, discover her Mongolian heritage and a new place to share it and use objects from around your home to create a mandala, a graphic pattern traditionally used for meditation.

 

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music is celebrating with an outdoor Lunar New Year celebration for the whole family. The afternoon will include traditional and contemporary Chinese music, a lion dance, crafts, calligraphy and much more. The vibrant celebration will weave together presentations and activities curated by local cultural organizations and partners, including Brooklyn Lion Club, Tea Arts & Culture, Children's Chinese Book Garden and Chinese Theatre Works. Guests will enjoy a performance by BKCM faculty member Annie Chen, a vocalist, composer and bandleader originally from Beijing, China, as well as storytime in Cantonese with Michelle Huang and in Mandarin with Babyda’s Mandarin Story Time host Yijia Bu. RSVP at bkcm.org. The event is free but donations are encouraged.

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  • Art
  • Flushing

Curated by Chemin Hsiao and Stephanie S. Lee, this exhibition "Reconcile: Begin Anew" presents artworks by eight Asian American immigrant artists who live and work in New York. After going through uncertainty and struggle these past couple of years, each artist confronts and visualizes their emotions through the lens of artistic creativity. At the same time, this exhibition reconnects the audience to the artists’ cultural heritage to reconcile with our past and reach a new balance for the Lunar New Year 2022, a new beginning together.

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Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival
  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lower East Side

Unfriendly ghosts should steer clear of Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Jan 25 when the Better Chinatown Society lights hundreds of thousands of firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Rat and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there are 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, so come hungry.

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Welcome to Chinatown and New York Chinese FreeMasons Athletic Club have partnered up to bring free lion dances to Chinatown on February 5 (noon-1pm) starting at Golden Diner, then to Kopitiam and Dreamers and on February 11 (6-7pm) starting at Jing Fong then to Pasteur and Uncle Lou. Colorful lion dancers, drums and cymbals, firecrackers will make their way down the street and Welcome to Chinatown will also be sharing go-to spots on the two lion dance routes, from local businesses to restaurants you can visit.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Battery Park City

Ring in the Year of the Tiger at Brookfield Place in partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center February 3-5. Ice sculptures by Okamoto Studio will be on the Waterfront Plaza for your photo-taking pleasure and artists will do live ice carving (4-6pm on Thursday, 11:30am-6:30pm on Saturday). Kids can create their own Lunar New Year Lanterns on Saturday, February 5 at 11am as well.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Upper West Side

The New York Philharmonic is known for its exceptional New Year’s Concert and, for the Year of the Tiger, the renowned symphony kicks the Lunar New Year into high gear as well. The evening's schedule includes the debut of Earl Lee, who will lead a program that includes Li Huanzhi’s "Spring Festival Overture"; Bizet’s "Carmen Fantasie" and Ma Sicong’s "Nostalgia" with violinist Stella Chen as a soloist; Berlioz’s "Le Corsaire Overture"; Dvořák’s "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka, "The Bird Song," and Geung-soo Lim’s "As spring comes across the river" with soprano Hera Hyesang Park as soloist; and Dukas’s "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice." There's also a gala, with a pre-concert reception 6-7pm in the Och Foyer and a seated dinner, attended by the artists in the Morgan Stanley Lobby immediately following the performance.

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The Macy and Ricky Comedy Show is hosting a Lunar New Year comedy show featuring Asian American comedians from all over the world including Alyce Chan, Mic Nguyen, Ron Josol, Misha Han, Christine Kim, Lee Lan, Ricky Sim Esq. and Macy Kwok. The show is taking place at 12 St. Marks Place (between Second and Third Avenues) on February 4 at 8pm. Tickets are $20!

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Chinatown’s annual Lunar (Chinese) New Year Parade is back with dragon dancing, stunning outfits, martial art performers and more to celebrate on Sunday, February 20, 2022. The parade kicks off at 1pm and the party lasts until 4:30pm across the neighborhood!

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Looking for some grub?

  • Restaurants

New York has a long lineage of Chinese restaurants showcasing the culinary traditions of nearly every province in China, as well as the fusion fare created by immigrants in the United States. Whether you're looking to sample fiery Szechuan fare or experience a classic weekend dim sum brunch, the city has got you covered. From white-clothed Midtown restaurants to hole-in-the-wall Chinatown restaurants, find the best Chinese restaurant NYC has to offer. RECOMMENDED: See all of the best restaurants in NYC

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  • Restaurants

No need to stick to one borough—the best dumplings in NYC can be eaten throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Head downtown to get your soup dumpling fix at one of the best Chinatown restaurants in the city. Exploring new neighborhoods? Take the train to Sunset Park for some of the best dim sum outside Hong Kong. And if you're really on a budget, there are plenty of options for cheap dumplings along the way. RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries

New Yorks Chinatown is packed with amazing dim sum restaurants, fun-loving karaoke bars and top-notch Chinese bakeries offering a dizzying array of pastries. Most are known for one exceptional item, however, whether thats a buttery egg tart, a fluffy sponge cake or a lotus-filled hopia. It doesnt get much sweeter than this. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best restaurants in NYC

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