The Year of the Ox is being rung in with a little less in-person fanfare in 2021, but no less fun. Photo by Bob Dea
The Year of the Ox is being rung in with a little less in-person fanfare in 2021, but no less fun. Photo by Bob Dea

Chinese Lunar New Year Celebrations in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City. Although this year looks very different with over-the-top parades taking a hiatus and in-person celebrations happening on a much smaller scale, we're still excited to usher in the Year of the Ox. We've even found some great virtual celebrations to mark the occasion.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, many Asian nations celebrate Lunar New Year, and city kids can mark this cultural holiday with family-friendly celebrations throughout the five boroughs. The holiday provides an awesome opportunity to get out and explore a new-to-you neighborhood such as Koreatown and Chinatown in Manhattan, Flushing in Queens, and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

So, read on to plan your perfect Lunar New Year celebration with these entertaining online dance performances, museum and botanical garden events, crafts, and more.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do. Keep in mind, reservations are required for many of these events, so plan your outings in advance, and be sure to click through to our listing for all the details, including address, time, and pricing.

The Queens Botanic Garden hosts in-person Luna New Year's celebrations
The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for New Year-themed storytime and take-home crafts. Photo courtesy of the garden

In-Person Lunar New Year Celebrations

Lunar New Year's Celebration – Flushing

Tuesdays through Sundays through Sunday, February 28
The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for Lunar New Year-themed days, including take-home craft kits. In true garden fashion, you can learn about Lunar New Year's lucky plants and purchase one of your own to take home. FREE

Make Your Own Lunar New Year Decorations — Chelsea

Wednesdays through Sundays, February 10-February 21
Stop by Pearl River Mart in the Chelsea Market to create paper lanterns, firecrackers, origami oxen, and other Lunar New Year crafts. FREE

Cultural Festival to Celebrate the Lunar New Year – Chinatown

Friday, February 12
Kick off the Year of the Ox with live lion dance performances and a graffiti display presented by the Better Chinatown Society. FREE

Lunar Ice – Battery Park City

Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13
Okamoto Studio and Arts Brookfield join forces to present this public exhibit of ice-sculptures designed to celebrate the Lunar New Year. FREE

Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Lunar New Year Festival – Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Saturday, February 13
BCM hosts this Lunar New Year fest where kids can get messy with lots of craft projects and immerse themselves in Chinese culture. The event culminates with a parade through the museum with the Chinatown Young Lions. Included with museum admission; advance reservations are encouraged.

Downtown Brooklyn Lunar New Year Celebration – Downtown Brooklyn

Saturday, February 13
Lock in your good luck for the year by witnessing a traditional lion dance performance in Albee Square, snap a socially distant selfie with the lion dancers, and pick up a traditional red envelope, which includes small prizes, including DeKalb Market Hall gift cards for a lucky few.

Kids Week at Bryant Park Celebrates Lunar New Year – Midtown West

Wednesday, February 17
Bryant Park's Winter Village welcomes the Year of the Ox with a day-long celebration, part of its Kids Week programming. Hit the ice, witness ribbon dancing, and see a lion dance courtesy of the New York Chinese Cultural Center.

RELATED: Midwinter Break: 30 Fun Things To Do With NYC Kids

Asia Society celebrates Lunar New Year online
The Asia Society moves its Lunar New Year festivities online for 2021. Photo courtesy of the venue

Virtual Lunar New Year Celebrations

Family Day: Virtual Lunar New Year 2021

Saturday, February 6
The Asia Society's annual Lunar New Year celebration goes online with traditional performances and craft activities inspired by New Year traditions across Asia. FREE

Lunar New Year Celebration

Saturday, February 6
Join this virtual afternoon of Lunar New Year celebrations staged by the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. The festivities include a lion dance by Brooklyn Lion Club, a choir performance by the Chinese Book Garden Children’s Choir, and a puppet show from Chinese Theater Works.

Losar Family Day: Year of the Metal Ox

Sunday, February 7
The Rubin Museum of Art invites families to celebrate Losar, the Himalayan New Year, and Lunar New Year. Kick off the year of the Metal Ox with an afternoon of online programs. Learn about traditional Losar celebrations, listen to Himalayan music, and enjoy thematic activities and art projects. FREE

Korean Lunar New Year Celebration – At Home!

Friday, February 12
Say hello to the Year of the Ox with the Staten Island Museum. Presented in conjunction with the Korean Community Development Center, the celebration includes arts and crafts, a look at traditional Korean recipes, and games.

Lunar New Year Festival

Saturday, February 13
Head online for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual pan-Asian celebration with loads of entertainment, interactive craft activities, and artist-led workshops for visitors of all ages. FREE

Chinese New Year Family Celebration

Saturday, February 13
Head online for the China Institute's fest, including workshops on dumpling- and lantern-making, and interactive storytelling. There are lion dance and musical performances, too. Performances are FREE, but some workshops require a fee. Advance registration required.

Online Dumpling-Making Workshop for Kids

Saturday, February 13
Learn how to wrap your own lucky dumplings for a Lunar New Year feast at this online workshop with Essex Market vendor Eat Gai. Register in advance, and you can pick up FREE ingredient kits ahead of the workshop. FREE

Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar

Sunday, February 14
Visit Flushing Town Hall's website to partake in the activities of a centuries-old Lunar New Year tradition: the temple fair. Families can enjoy performances, including traditional folk dances by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, plus artisan demonstrations like paper cutting and fish-drawing. FREE

Bonus: The Museum of Chinese in America hosts an entire month of Lunar New Year festivities during its online MOCA Fest, including tons of MOCAKIDS picks like storytimes, author visits, and kid-friendly cooking classes.

RELATED: Free Virtual Events in February: Valentine's Day, Lunar New Year, Mardi Gras, New Movies

Lion Dancers celebrate Lunar New Year in Chinatown
Sad news: No Lunar New Year parades are scheduled for 2021. Photo courtesy of A Better Chinatown

But What About the Lunar New Year Parades?

Traditionally, Lunar New Year parades step off in Manhattan and Queens, but they're on hold for 2021. The big annual Lunar New Year Parade and Festival in Manhattan's Chinatown, the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, and the Queens Lunar New Year Parade will not be happening, though there are some discussions to hold them later in the year if public health measures allow it.

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

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