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 in NYC

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for the 2020 festivities ushering in the Year of the Rat.

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, grab your MetroCard and an appetite for adventure, then plan your perfect Lunar New Year celebration with these festive parades, entertaining live dance performances, museum events, crafts, and more.

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

Lunar New Year Parades

Celebrate 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, January 25
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

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

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 9
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

Lunar New Year Celebrations in Manhattan

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
Saturday, January 25
This is the Chinatown's other big holiday bash, which takes place on Chinese New Year proper. Kick-off the Year of the Rat 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
Saturday, January 25
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.

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

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 1
Check out the Asia Society's celebration for a lion dance, kung fu demos, and other activities inspired by Lunar New Year. A Rabbit Days and Dumplings performance shares music from throughout Asia.

Celebrate at Brookfield Place with a family-friendly performance. 

Lunar New Year: Year of the Rat Celebration — Battery Park City
Saturday, February 1
Arts Brookfield and the New York Chinese Cultural Center join forces for this afternoon-long celebration. A lion parade launches the entertaining affair, which includes dance, music, martial arts demos, and fully costumed performers. Seating is first-come, first-served, and early arrival is suggested. FREE

Madison Avenue Lunar New Year Celebration — Upper East Side
Saturday, February 1
Madison Avenue installs a traditional wishing tree on the street. Pin a ribbon with your wish to receive a red envelope, which contains a gift certificate from participating retailers. One lucky participant wins a cash prize! FREE but advance registration requested.

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

Lunar New Year Festival — Upper East Side
Saturday, February 1
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.

Lunar New Year Family Festival — Chinatown
Saturday, February 1
Head to the Museum of Chinese in America for its annual fete featuring zodiac-themed arts and crafts, live dance performances, tales inspired by Chinese and Chinese American experiences, and more. Included with museum admission, but advance purchase recommended.

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

Chinese New Year Celebration: The Year of the Rat— Financial District
Sunday, February 2
Head to 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. Admission is FREE, but some workshops require advance registration and a fee.

Little New Yorkers Celebrate Lunar New Year — Upper West Side
Sunday, February 2
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 Rat. The fun rounds out with a New Year's-themed craft. Included in museum admission.

Chinese New Year Spectacular — Midtown 
Friday, February 7
This live show welcomes new and returning artists to Carnegie Hall to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Kunqu—one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera—is showcased. Bonus: Children under age 12 are eligible for a 25% discount.

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 16
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 Rat 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

Lunar New Year Celebrations in Queens

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

Lunar New Year's Celebration — Flushing
Saturday, January 25
The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for a Lunar New Year-themed day filled with performances and crafts. In true garden fashion, you can learn about Lunar New Year's lucky plants and purchase one of your own to take home. FREE

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

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

Lunar New Year's Celebration at the Queens Museum — Flushing
Sunday, January 26
Head to the Queens Museum to enjoy a day-long festival dedicated to the Year of the Rat. The museum has teamed up with the New York City Chinese Cultural Center to offer dance and martial arts demos, storytelling, crafting, and a hands-on calligraphy workshop. Free with suggested admission.

Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar — Flushing
Saturday, February 1
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. Two timed sessions are planned, but advance purchase recommended.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat — Flushing
Saturday, February 15
Head to the Flushing branch of the Queens Library to see Chinese folk music, dance, and traditional opera. Kids can also participate in traditional Chinese crafts and help make (and eat!) some tasty Korean dishes. If this one doesn't fit your schedule, several Queens Library branches have Lunar New Year's events throughout the month. FREE

Lunar New Year Celebrations in Brooklyn & Staten Island

Lunar New Year at the Staten Island Museum — Snug Harbor, Staten Island
Saturday, January 25
Say hello to the Year of the Rat at the Staten Island Museum. Presented in conjunction with the Korean Community Development Center, the celebration includes arts and crafts, a look at traditional Korean clothing, games, traditional eats, and more.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s Lunar New Year Festival — Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Sunday, January 26
BCM hosts this Lunar New Year fest where kids get to meet author Michele Wong McSween and hear her read her new book, Gordon & Li Li: Celebrate Chinese New Year. There are craft projects and plenty of Chinese culture. The event culminates with a parade through the museum with the Chinatown Young Lions.

Lunar New Year at the Prospect Park Zoo — Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Weekends, February 1-February 23
Head to the Prospect Park Zoo on February weekends to celebrate the festival of the new moon and animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Plus, meet one of the tiniest rodents in the world, and join a zodiac scavenger hunt.

Find additional Lunar New Year celebrations in our Event Calendar.

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

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