The best Chinese New Year events in Sydney

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with neighbourhood markets, giant lanterns and glowing street parties
Chinese New Year dragons on Kensington Street
Photograph: Supplied
By Time Out editors |
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Lunar New Year is a shared celebration for many cultures represented in Sydney, including our Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean communities. Sydney’s official festival program alone has 80 events across arts, culture, food and sport, making it one of the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside Asia.

We've picked out some of the highlights welcoming in the Year of the Pig that are sure to satisfy your hunger and enlighten your cultural learning. In 2019, Chinese New Year is celebrated on Tuesday, February 5.

RECOMMENDED: Late night dining in Sydney.

Chinese New Year events around Sydney

ragon Boat Races, Darling Harbour
Photograph: Damian Shaw
Sport and fitness

Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races

icon-location-pin Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
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Thousands of paddlers will battle it out over two days at the dragon boat races that take place on Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour. There's more than 100 races running every ten minutes, each carrying 22 rowers, plus a drummer to lead the paddling with a rhythmic beat. 

Chinese New Year Night Market
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Markets

Chinese New Year Night Market

icon-location-pin Sydney Fish Market, Pyrmont
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The Sydney Fish Market will keep its doors open late on Friday February 8 for a night of colour and festive fun to celebrate the Year of the Pig. Dine on yum cha and Chinese cuisine as well as a treasure trove of fresh and barbecued seafood while you watch the lion dancers. 

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People watch street performers as part of Chinese New Year celebrations
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Chinatown Celebrations

icon-location-pin Dixon Street Plaza, Haymarket
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While Dixon Street Plaza is always bustling with Sydneysiders seeking out spicy feasts and products that don’t frequent the shelves of Woolies, the lantern-lined thoroughfare glows even brighter for Lunar New Year. There’ll be culturally significant activities in abundance as well as weirder adventures and the usual fantastic dining. 

Kids pat a glowing pig lantern.
Photograph: Katherine Griffiths
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Lunar Lanterns

icon-location-pin Around The Rocks, The Rocks
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Visitors to Circular Quay during February's Lunar New Year celebrations will see giant animal lanterns representing the creatures of the zodiac dotted around the harbour. Each one has been designed by an Asian-Australian artist and is best seen after dusk when lit up in full, vibrant colour. 

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Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Chatswood Year of the Pig Festival

icon-location-pin Chatswood CBD, Chatswood
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These colourful celebrations will fan out across Chatswood with markets, parades, dining events and art exhibitions. Get lost among the dragons and lanterns at the Golden Market grab a snap with the giant inflatable pig entrance, or chase the pig mascot around the stalls.

People dancing in dragon costume.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Lunar New Year Festival

icon-location-pin Forest Road, Hurstville
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When you catch sight of pig floats and lion dancers waltzing down Forest Road, you know you’re in the right place for Hurstville’s Lunar New Year Festival. This huge celebration sees more than 50,000 visitors flock to the suburb for a full day of entertainment and traditional Chinese ceremonies. 

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Woman performs traditional dance.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Cabramatta’s Lunar New Year

icon-location-pin Freedom Plaza, Cabramatta
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Weekend revellers can see lion dancing and traditional performances, or get invloved in exciting activities for all ages. Cabramatta is the home of Vietnamese cuisine in Sydney, and boasts a wealth of other diverse edible offerings, so it’s sure to put on some major food fireworks for Lunar New Year.

Shopping, Markets

Chinatown Night Market

icon-location-pin Dixon Street Plaza, Haymarket
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Every Friday from 4pm, the main strip of Chinatown along Dixon Street transforms into a vibrant night market selling Asian street food, desserts and gifts. They'll be turning up the heat for Lunar New Year, so be sure to visit during the celebratory period.

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Drummers perform on stage.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Lunar Spectacular Show

icon-location-pin Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks
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This Lunar New Year, community groups will get the chance to perform traditional and contemporary pieces in a series of free performances. Head to the outdoor stage near the Overseas Passenger Terminal to see Japanese drumming, K-pop, and Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese dancers.

Dumplings in the Sky
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

All You Can Eat Dumplings Pop-Up

icon-location-pin Sydney Tower Eye, Sydney
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The Year of the Pig is upon us, and to celebrate the dumpling dealers from New Shanghai will be taking up residence in the Sydney Tower Eye to dish out their pockets of glorious flavour to the hungry masses. This 45-minute date with dumpling destiny will be on from 5.30-7.30pm each night of the Sydney celebrations.

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Monk standing near a red wall.
Photograph: Marcus Reubenstein
Art, Photography

China: Moments in Time

icon-location-pin 541 Art Space, Sydney
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Australian photographer and former SBS News reporter Marcus Reubenstein will provide a personalised view of life and travel across China. China: Moments in Time is a series of large scale prints and multimedia installations collated from Reubenstein’s travels in China.

Spice up dinner time

Golden Century food overview
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Restaurants, Chinese

The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

Whether you're after specialty Sichuan spots or hot Cantonese kitchens, Sydney has some seriously great Chinese restaurants in the CBD and surrounding suburbs. There are places where you can go all out on a mud crab, or simple Chinese dumpling houses. 

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