Chinese Lunar New Year Parades and Celebrations in NYC

Usher In the Year of the Rooster with These Family-Friendly NYC Celebrations

Lunar New Year is one of our favorite winter celebrations in New York City, and we're particularly excited for 2017's family activities.

Often referred to as Chinese New Year, although many Asian nations celebrate it, the holiday takes place Saturday, January 28, 2017, and ushers in the Year of the Rooster. 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. We just profiled nearly a 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.

Little New Yorkers Celebrate Lunar New Year – Upper West Side
Tuesday, January 24 and Friday, January 27
Visit the New-York Historical Society for its special Lunar New Year-themed Little New Yorkers. You'll listen to a reading of Chinatown by William Low and round out the afternoon with a lantern-making craft. Included in museum admission.

Chinese New Year Celebration – Jamaica, Queens
Thursday, January 26
Join the Queens Central Library in paying homage to the holiday with stories, crafts, and, of course, a famous lion dance. Space is limited; first-come, first-served. FREE

Moon Over Manhattan! Celebrate Lunar New Year – Upper East Side
Saturday, January 28
Head to the Asia Society for a lion dance, kung fu demos, and other activities inspired by Lunar New Year traditions.

RELATED: January GoList: Best Things to Do with NYC Kids This Month

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 28
No, this isn't Chinatown's famous Lunar New Year Parade (that happens on Sunday, February 5). This is the nabe's other big holiday bash, which takes place on Chinese New Year proper. Kick off the Year of the Rooster 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

Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar – Flushing, Queens
Saturday, January 28
Visit Flushing Town Hall to partake in a centuries-old Lunar New Year tradition: the temple fair. Families can enjoy performances, view marshal arts demonstrations, and sample traditional foods. Two timed sessions are held; tickets are $5 per person per session.

Lunar New Year Performance – East Harlem
Saturday, January 28
The Museum of the City of New York hosts a special lion dance performance before inviting 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
Sunday, January 29
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 experience traditional lion dancers, family-friendly entertainment, and engaging 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 via trolley, making stops along the way.

Brooklyn Lunar New Year Parade — Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Sunday, January 29
Before the parade starts, revelers can buy trinkets, sparklers, and Chinese firecrackers, then shower each other down Eighth Avenue with silly string and confetti. The parade is small compared with the Manhattan version, but the lion and dragon dances are led by drumming felt blocks away, and the costumes are gorgeous. This event is hosted by the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association. Festivities begin at 11am, before the parade at noon on Eighth Avenue and 50th Street. FREE

Chinese New Year's Ornaments – Tribeca
Monday, January 30-Sunday, February 5
Head to the Children's Museum of the Arts to celebrate the Year of the Rooster by crafting an ornament in honor of the year of your birth using recycled materials. Included with admission.

Queens Lunar New Year Parade and Celebration – Flushing, Queens
Saturday, February 4
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

Spotlight Asia: Ring in the Year of the Rooster – Upper West Side
Saturday, February 4
Local artisans and Museum of Natural History scientists ring in Lunar New Year and celebrate the life of the Rooster as well as the cultural role birds play in the Asian continent. There will be storytelling, calligraphy workshops, and other hands-on activities. Free with suggested admission.

Lunar New Year's Celebration – Flushing, Queens
Saturday, February 4
The Queens Botanical Garden welcomes children for a New Year-themed storytime and crafts. FREE

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

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

Chinese New Year Celebration: The Year of the Rooster – Financial District
Saturday, February 4
Head inside the China Institute for workshops on dumpling- and lantern-making, interactive storytelling, kid-friendly tours of the galleries, and food. The evening includes a lion dance and musical performances. Family workshops: $5 for children; $20 for adults. Concert: $20 per person.

Lunar New Year Celebration – Corona, Queens
Saturday, February 4-Sunday, February 5
Celebrate at the Queens Zoo with cultural puppet performances, a self-guided zodiac scavenger hunt, calligraphy workshop, and fortune cookies. Free with paid admission.

There will be many traditional Asian performances at the Met. Photo by Dan Pollard/courtesy of the museum.

Lunar New Year Festival – Upper East Side
Sunday, February 5
Head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its annual pan-Asian celebration with activities and entertainment from across the continent and presented with Cool Culture. Tots will appreciate the presence of Sesame Street puppeteers, who will stage a performance and stick around for photo-ops. Enjoy a parade with the Long Island Lion Troupe, live performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops for visitors of all ages. Free with suggested admission.

Rooster Shadow Puppet Workshop – Flushing, Queens
Sunday, February 5
Flushing Town Hall invites guests to honor the Year of the Rooster and the tradition of Chinese shadow puppets by crafting your own rooster puppet out of paper stock. $10 per person.

Manhattan Lunar New Year Parade and Festival – Chinatown
Sunday, February 5
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

Family Sundays: Fire Bird Masks and Lanterns – Chelsea
Sundays, February 5, 12, 19, and 26
The Rubin Museum of Art invites families to celebrate Losar, the Himalayan New Year, as well as Lunar New Year each Sunday in February. There will be opportunities for family art making in which participants can create a Fire Bird mask or paper lantern. Family-friendly gallery tours are offered, and you can enjoy a DIY gallery scavenger hunt. FREE

Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster Celebration – Battery Park City
Saturday, February 11
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, theatrical players in full traditional makeup and regalia. Stage performances are preceded by a lion parade. FREE

Noodle pulling and dumpling making are on the menu at the Museum of Chinese in America. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Lunar New Year Family Festival – Chinatown
Saturday, February 11
Head to the Museum of Chinese in America for its annual fete featuring a lion dance, a performance by Chinatown's Red Silk Dancers, interactive crafts, cooking demonstrations, and holiday stories and eats.

Lunar New Year at the Prospect Park Zoo – Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Saturday, February 18
Ring in the Year of the Rooster by hanging with the zoo's flock of chickens and roosters, and enjoy a puppet performance by the Chinese Theater Works. While there, embark on a Zodiac-themed scavenger hunt and enjoy holiday-themed crafts. All events included in the price of admission.

Find additional Lunar New Year celebrations in our Event Calendar.

Top photo via Shutterstock.

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