We’ve got all the best spots for where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Francisco!

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Francisco

Where better to celebrate the Lunar New Year than the City by the Bay? Boasting the oldest and largest Chinatown outside of Asia, the area centred around Grant Avenue has been an exciting and integral part of San Francisco for over 150 years.

The colourful sights and sounds of Chinatown are especially vibrant during the celebration of the Lunar New Year. This year, why not welcome the Year of the Rooster with one of these fantastic family fun celebrations?

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Francisco | Family Fun Canada

Young dancers welcome the Lunar New Year. credit: Knight Lights Photography


SouthWest Airlines Mini Procession and Ribbon Cutting: The celebrations kick off on January 21st at 10:30 am with a little preview of the big parade to come! The procession of silt-walkers, lion dancers, giant puppets, drummers and dancers will wind its way down Grant from St Mary’s Square to the Flower Market.

Year of the Rooster Celebration: The San Francisco Public Library and the  Chinese American Culture and Arts Association are also getting in on the fun! Visit the Main branch (100 Larkin Street) on January 21st from 1 pm-4 pm for an afternoon of music and dancing, a traditional Chinese Dress fashion show, trivia quizzes and more!

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Francisco | Family Fun Canada

A Chinese drum and lion are resting up for all the dancing to come!


Flower Market Fair: On January 21st (10 am-8 pm) and 22 (9 am-6 pm), visit the Flower Market! The streets will be full of vendors displaying all you will need for an auspicious start to the New Year (Lunar year 4715, for them that’s counting.) You’ll find lots of plants, fruit, candy and lucky wares on display. Many Chinese homes will have a living plant in bloom at the start of the year to signify growth and rebirth. Look for tangerines with the leaves intact, which stand for security in one’s relationships (or the branching of a couple into a family, for newlyweds!) There will also be lion dance and musical performances each day.

Lunar New Year Concert: On Feb. 4th, 2017  you may want to find yourself at the Davies Symphony Hall (Grove Street) for the Lunar New Year Concert. The San Francisco Symphony will be hosting the event in support of  their education and community programs. Come early at 3 pm for a reception featuring Asian instruments, a lion dance, lucky red envelopes and more. At 4 pm the concert, featuring a variety of Eastern and Western music will begin!


Many of the Festival events feature brightly costumed dancers and traditional music. credit: San Francisco Travel Association/Corbett Lee

Chinatown Community Street Fair: The final weekend (Feb. 11, 10 am-4:30 pm and Feb 12, 9 am-5 pm) of the celebrations finds the community and many, many visitors at the “shoppers paradise” of the Street Fair. Over 120 booths will be selling fun souvenirs and delicious Chinese snacks. The SF Chinese Chamber of Commerce will be hosting entertainment at the fair as well, with acrobats, puppets, music, dancing and more to round out the Lunar New Year experience.

Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade: The centrepiece of the Lunar New Year Festival in San Francisco is easily the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade on February 11th, 2017. In 2016 over a million people watched the parade (rated among the top 10 in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association) so suggestions to get there early to secure your spot are not lightly made.  Bleacher seats are also available at a cost of $30 USD, and can be purchased online or by calling the Parade Office at (415) 889-8823. The parade starts at 5:15 pm (although it is suggested you find your spot by 4:30) and goes, rain or shine, for approximately 2 1/12 hours. You may want to bring ear protection, as things can get loud! The dazzling sights you will see include elaborate floats, ornate costumes, lots of fire-crackers and a 268′ (82 m) Golden Dragon, carried by 100 people bringing up the rear!

Ringing in the Year of the Rooster in San Francisco means a festival full of vibrant sights and sounds. The City by the Bay is well deserving of it’s reputation for being one of the top spots in the world to ring in the Lunar New Year!

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year in San Francisco | Family Fun Canada

The 268′ Golden Dragon is the massive conclusion to the Parade. credit: Knight Lights Photography