The Year of the Dragon is upon us – starting Feb. 10, we bid adieu to the Year of the Rabbit as the Lunar New Year arrives.
Thanks to its large and diverse Asian population, New York City offers a wide range of parties, cultural events, and performances to celebrate the first new moon of the lunar year.
Below are some ideas to help you get ready to welcome the dragon with parades, dancing, firecrackers, and more.
See acrobats and a parade in Flushing’s Chinatown
Head to Flushing’s Chinatown, to experience a full day of new year celebrations. The programming kicks off with a parade from the Glow Cultural Center to Flushing Town Hall. From there, you can check out the cultural bazaar, which will offer a variety of snacks and artisanal goods, followed by two performances that feature acrobatics, dancing and singing.
The festivities kick off at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. The parade is free and admission to the performances is around $10; details here.
Celebrate with fireworks and a parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown
What could be more classic than celebrating the Lunar New Year with firecrackers and a parade in Manhattan’s Chinatown? The fireworks and the parade take place on two separate weekends to mark the beginning and end of Lunar New Year, so you can keep the party going most of the month.
The Firecracker Ceremony takes place on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, while the parade is on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Both events are free, and you can learn more details here.
Learn to make your own lanterns
Lanterns are a prominent symbol of the season, as the Lantern Festival is celebrated on the first full moon of the lunar year and signifies the end of Lunar New Year. You can make your own lanterns at the Flushing Friends Quaker Meeting House, where artists Myrna Perez Fung and Lilly Chu will guide participants on their creative journeys.
All necessary materials are included in the ticket price, as are refreshments. The event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28. Tickets are $25, and more details are available here.
Take the kids to craft and see lion dancers on Staten Island
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden teams up with local schools to throw a Lunar New Year Celebration that promises to be fun for the whole family. The event will feature craft-making, storytelling, and snacks, along with the lion dancers (if the weather permits). Hop on the ferry and make a day of it!
The Lunar New Year Celebration takes place at noon on Saturday, Feb. 17. Admission is $12, and more details can be found here.
Attend the New York Philharmonic’s Lunar New Year concert
Those looking for a more upscale start to the Year of the Dragon should head to David Geffen Hall for the annual Lunar New Year performance. The program for the evening will include the world premiere of Elliot Leung’s “Lunar Overture,” as well as selections from Zhou Tian’s “Transcend.” The concert starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20. Tickets start at $60, and you can find more details here.
See a special Year of the Dragon dance performance
Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Flushing will host the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company as they put on a dazzling performance to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. The company will perform family-friendly shows at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Jan. 28, complete with festive costumes, acrobats, and pre-show activities for kids.
Adults looking for a more refined experience can attend the longer performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, which promises a mix of modern and traditional dance. Tickets are $20 to $30; details here.
Check out the Lunar New Year Family Festival at the Museum of Chinese in America
The Museum of Chinese in America hosts an annual festival geared toward families. Kids get in free, and adult tickets cost $5. It kicks off Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Chinatown; details here.
Enjoy a prix fixe Cantonese meal
The New York chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a nonprofit supporting women in the food and hospitality industries, has asked chef Maggie Gu to create a custom Cantonese meal at her restaurant, Park Asia, to welcome the Lunar New Year.
For around $76 ($60 for Les Dames d’Escoffier members), you can enjoy a meal that includes classics like shrimp dumplings, Peking duck, and fried buns, along with many other traditional Cantonese dishes served family style. Bonus: You can bring your own wine! It takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, and more details are available here.
Take part in the Met’s Lunar New Year Festival
Head to one of New York’s most storied institutions for a special Lunar New Year festival that will give you the opportunity to fold paper dragons, decorate lanterns and see a dragon dance. The Met’s robust Year of the Dragon offerings also include jazz performances, a calligraphy workshop, poetry readings, and more – truly, something for everyone. The event is free with museum admission on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; details here.
Celebrate with lion dancers and K-Pop at Queens Center
Flushing isn’t the only Queens neighborhood that knows how to throw a Lunar New Year celebration; Elmhurst’s Queens Center Mall also puts on a good holiday show. Kids can participate in a K-Pop dance workshop while lion dancers parade through the mall, providing a festive backdrop for winter shoppers. It’s free and happens on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m.; details here.
Dance the weekend (and the year) away at Avant Gardner
If you’re looking for an activity that’s less traditional than lion dance parades and firecrackers, head to the music complex Avant Gardner for a Lunar New Year festival. The weekend-long dance party, which features dance music artists Slander and Alan Walker (plus more to be announced later), marks the arrival of spring on the lunar calendar. Get your tickets and dance like a dragon at a rave. It takes place Feb. 18-20 in Bushwick. Tickets start at $69; details here.
See giant balloon dragons in Brooklyn
Interactive balloon pop-up Balloontopia will set up at Brooklyn’s City Point to make giant balloon dragons as part of a special Lunar New Year celebration. Also on display will be traditional lion dances, and kids will have the opportunity to make special new year crafts. Cap it all off with a free family portrait in front of a red balloon dragon background, and you’ll have a unique memento to start off the Year of the Dragon.
The event takes place Saturday, Feb. 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Downtown Brooklyn. Admission is free; you can reserve a spot and learn more details here.
Spend the day at IKEA Brooklyn
IKEA in Red Hook is throwing a Lunar New Year celebration, complete with crafts and product giveaways – specifically, products from its FÖSSTA Lunar New Year collection, which includes bowls, placemats and more. Shoppers who make the trek to Red Hook can also enjoy kids’ crafts and food samples. It’s Sunday, Feb. 4, from noon to 2 p.m.; The event is free but spots must be reserved online first. More details can be found here.
Party hard in Bushwick
A five-hour open bar for $75? That’s a mere $15 per hour! Bushwick’s Mood Ring is hosting an all-night Year of the Dragon party featuring DJ Erewhon. Night owls can get in after 1:30 a.m. for just $10, or you can get general admission tickets for the night and pay for your own drinks as you go. It takes place on Feb. 10-11, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and tickets start at $10. More details can be found here.
Ring in the Year of the Dragon in Montclair
The Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey is hosting a family-friendly event, featuring lion dance performances, craft-making activities and more. The programming will kick off around 11:30 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27. Children under 5, museum members and those with financial needs get in for free. For everyone else, the suggested admission price is $7 per person and $25 for families of up to five people. You can find more details here.