If you are in San Francisco in February, you definitely don’t want to miss the largest Asian event in North America- the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown! Chinatown is full of delightful and interesting places to celebrate the Year of the Monkey, but here are some recommendations to get you started.
By Grace Swanson
Brush up on your Asian art history in the beautifully curated collections of the Asian Art Museum. Walking through the exhibits is like taking a cultural trip back in time through the last 6000 years. Over 18,000 items are featured in the museum and are grouped by their specific culture and time period. From stunning paintings to delicate porcelains to elaborate textiles, there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you are traveling with kids, grab a Lunar New Year Family guide from the front desk to learn about the Lunar New Year and zodiac animals featured in the museum’s collections.
If you are looking for authentic Cantonese food to fuel your Lunar New Year activities, then R&G Lounge is the place to go. Order their signature Salt and Pepper Crab, fresh from the tank and full of flavor. Or select from their large assortment of traditional Chinese dishes.
Visit a Chinatown must-see and read your fortune at the same time. Fortune cookies are a companion to almost every Chinese-American meal. Yet, it isn’t well-known that these delicately pinched cookies were invented in the United States, not in China. You may smell the factory before you can see it. Follow the sweet, vanilla scents to the door and view the rapid cookie-making process for yourself. Sample a few of the fresh ones or bring a bag home.
Chinese New Year Events
Ring in the Chinese New Year with these cultural events located throughout Chinatown.
Listen to the beautiful melodies of the San Francisco Symphony as they play in celebration of the Year of the Monkey. Come early for family friendly activities and entertainment.
Feeling crafty? Learn how to write in calligraphy or how to make traditional Chinese kites and lanterns at the Chinatown Community Street Fair. Enjoy performances by Asian folk dancers, acrobats, lion dancers, and more.
Watch SF’s Chinese New Year Parade, the largest outside of Asia. More than one hundred units partake in the parade including stilt walkers, intricately decorated floats, bending Chinese acrobats, and the legendary Golden Dragon. It takes more than one hundred people to carry this colorful and elaborate two-hundred foot dragon down the street. This is an experience you don’t want to miss!