Join the festivities at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. Photo by Bob Dea for Better Chinatown USA
Join the festivities at the Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. Photo by Bob Dea for Better Chinatown USA

Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations for NYC Kids

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2019's family activities. School-aged kids ought to be excited, too, as the holiday gives them an extra day off from school.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, this year the holiday takes place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, and ushers in the Year of the Pig. Mark this cultural holiday with a family-friendly celebration. We've got the scoop on the best Lunar New Year parades, family dance parties, museum events, crafts, and more for NYC kids.

Commemorating Lunar New Year is a great way to learn about Asian culture and enjoy the food. Check out one of these dozen NYC eateries where you can enjoy Lunar New Year banquets, snacks, or desserts. With celebrations and parades in almost every borough, it's also an opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Manhattan's ChinatownFlushing in Queens, Sunset Park in Brooklyn, or Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown.

Click through to the event listing for all the details, including addresses, times, prices, and recommended ages.

Lunar New Year at the Staten Island Museum — Snug Harbor, Staten Island
Saturday, February 2
Say goodbye to the Year of the Dog and hello to the Year of the Pig as the Staten Island Museum and the Korean Community Development Center celebrate with traditional foods, a Korean royal dance performance, and the Chinese Lion Dance performance.

Head to the Queens Museum to enjoy a day-long festival dedicated to the Year of the Pig. Photo courtesy of the museum

Lunar New Year's Celebration at the Queens Museum — Flushing, Queens
Sunday, February 3
Head to the Queens Museum to enjoy a day-long festival dedicated to the Year of the Pig. The museum has teamed up with the New York City Chinese Cultural Center to offer dance and martial arts demos, storytelling, crafting of LED-powered paper lanterns, and a calligraphy workshop. Free with suggested admission.

Lunar New Year at the Prospect Park Zoo — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Tuesday, February 5 
At Lefferts Historic House, welcome the Year of the Pig with paper-lantern making and good luck paper crafts. You can also enjoy a puppet performance, embark on a zodiac-themed scavenger hunt, eat fortune cookies, and attend calligraphy workshops. All events included in the price of admission.

Welcome the New Year with a bang at the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival. Photo courtesy of Better Chinatown USA

Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival — Chinatown
Tuesday, February 5 
No, this isn't Chinatown's famous Lunar New Year Parade (that happens on Sunday, February 17). This is the nabe's other big holiday bash, which takes place on Chinese New Year proper. Kick off the Year of the Pig with a literal bang as 600,000 firecrackers explode at noon to ward off evil spirits. Afterward, dragon and lion dancers march through Chinatown's streets and join in a festival featuring performances and food. FREE

Lunar New Year Lantern Making — East Harlem
Tuesday, February 5 
The Museum of the City of New York invites families to join in a lantern-making craft. As always, family programs include a free snack for the kids. Included with museum admission.

Celebrate Lunar New Year Madison Street to Madison Avenue — Midtown East
Saturday, February 9
Madison Street to Madison Avenue is as authentic a celebration of the Lunar New Year as one could hope for. Visitors to this outdoor festival can see traditional lion dancers, plus try out family-friendly activities including face painting, calligraphy, and a photo booth. Following the Midtown performances, a lion dance troupe will make its way north along Madison Avenue to 86th Street making stops along the way. FREE

RELATED: Enjoy a Lunar New Year Feast at These NYC Chinese Restaurants

Catch the dragon dance at the Asia Society. Photo courtesy of the Asia Society

Moon Over Manhattan! Celebrate Lunar New Year — Upper East Side
Saturday, February 9
Head to the Asia Society for a lion dance, kung fu demos, and other activities inspired by Lunar New Year traditions. 

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the extravagant parade in Flushing, Queens. Photo by Julienne Schaer for NYCGo

Queens Lunar New Year Parade and Celebration — Flushing, Queens
Saturday, February 9
Since Flushing is home to a large community of Chinese and East Asian residents, it's no wonder its parade rivals Chinatown's. Expect dragon dancers, steel drummers, firecrackers, and crowds. FREE

The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for New Year-themed storytime and crafts. Photo courtesy of the garden

Lunar New Year's Celebration — Flushing, Queens
Saturday, February 9
The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for New Year-themed storytime and crafts. You can also learn about Lunar New Year's lucky plants and purchase one of your own to take home. FREE

RELATED: Museum of Chinese in America: A Fascinating Look at the Immigrant Experience

Celebrate at Brookfield Place with a family-friendly performance. 

Lunar New Year: Year of the Pig Celebration — Battery Park City
Saturday, February 9
Celebrate at Brookfield Place with this family-friendly performance presented in partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center. You will be entertained with traditional Chinese dance and music, a martial arts demonstration, and, of course, a lion parade. FREE

Enjoy live traditional Asian performances at the Met. Photo courtesy of the museum

Lunar New Year Festival — Upper East Side
Saturday, February 9
Head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its annual pan-Asian celebration with activities and entertainment from across the continent. Enjoy live performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops for visitors of all ages. Free with suggested admission.

Chinese New Year Celebration: The Year of the Pig — Financial District
Sunday, February 10
Head inside the China Institute for workshops on dumpling- and lantern-making, interactive storytelling, kid-friendly tours of the galleries, and food. There are lion dance and musical performances, too. Some workshops require advance registration. 

Kids can participate in Lunar New Year fun at the China Institute. Photo courtesy of the institute

Lunar New Year Family Festival — Chinatown
Saturday, February 16
Head to the Museum of Chinese in America for its annual fete featuring zodiac-themed arts and crafts, live dance performances, tales inspired by both Chinese and Chinese-American experiences, and more. Included with museum admission.

Little New Yorkers Celebrate Lunar New Year — Upper West Side
Sunday, February 17
Visit the New-York Historical Society for its special Lunar New Year-themed Little New Yorkers event, and enjoy food, performances, red envelopes, and festivities celebrating the Year of the Pig. The fun rounds out with a New Year's-themed craft. Included in museum admission.

Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar — Flushing, Queens
Sunday, February 17
Visit Flushing Town Hall to partake in a centuries-old Lunar New Year tradition: the temple fair. Families can enjoy performances, view martial-arts demonstrations, and sample traditional foods. Timed sessions are held daily, but tickets sell fast, which are $5 per person per session.

Usher in the new year—known as Losar in the Himalayas—with art, food and music at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea. Photo by Michael Palma 

Family Sundays: Himalayan New Year — Chelsea
Sunday, February 17
The Rubin Museum of Art invites families to celebrate Losar, the Himalayan New Year, as well as Lunar New Year each Sunday in February. Kick off the year of the Earth Pig with an afternoon of art. Learn about traditional Losar celebrations, explore the galleries, listen to Himalayan music, and enjoy thematic activities and art projects. FREE

RELATED: 25 Things to Do, See, and Eat in Chinatown with Kids

Join the half-million spectators who line the streets of Chinatown to watch the colorful pan-Asian Lunar New Year Parade. Photo courtesy of Better Chinatown USA

Manhattan Lunar New Year Parade and Festival — Chinatown
Sunday, February 17
About a half-million spectators line the streets of Chinatown for this colorful pan-Asian procession, which includes Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, and even Hispanic floats and cultural performances. Arrive early—by noon at the latest—if you want to snag a good spot. It's a festive, loud affair that's way too crowded for strollers, so it's probably a bit much for the preschool set. FREE

Dance Gala of the Lunar New Year — Flushing, Queens
Sunday, February 24
Head to the Flushing branch of the Queens Library for a dance performance by the New Star Arts Center, whose mission is to use dance as a way to introduce Chinese culture to American audiences. If this one doesn't fit your schedule, several Queens Library branches have Lunar New Year's events throughout the month. FREE

Find additional Lunar New Year celebrations in our Event Calendar.

This post, originally published in January 2009, is updated annually.