The Chinese New Year starts on February 16 for 2018. This is the Year of Dog. San Francisco celebrates for three weeks, ending with the colorful Chinese New Year Parade on February 24, 2018. If you’re visiting the city around this time, you’re in for a treat: parades, street fairs, fireworks and lots of festivities!
The Mini-Parade 2018
Saturday, February 10, at 10:30 am.
Starts at St. Mary’s Square
Get an early glimpse of the New Year’s Parade without the huge crowds and long wait. The Mini Parade goes down the original parade route from 150 years ago, lasts 20 minutes, and ends up with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the SF mayor.
The Route: starts at St. Mary’s Square, goes down Grant Avenue to Washington Street where a stage is set up.
The mini-parade will have lion dancers, dragons, stilt-walkers and cute kids marching in the parade. You can check out the Flower Market at the same time. The Mayor will be there on the stage at 10:45 am to cut the ribbon and open the New Year celebrations.
Chinese Flower Market Fair 2018
Saturday, February 10, 10 am to 8 pm.
Sunday, February 11, 9 am to 6 pm.
Along Grant Avenue (Clay to Broadway), and on Pacific, Jackson and Washington Streets (between Stockton and Kearny)
This is the start of the pre-New Year celebration with city blocks of flowers, fruit trees, and fruits to welcome in the new year. Fruits and flowers symbolize good luck. Many Chinese families buy fruits and flowers to decorate their homes before the new year, to bring luck and prosperity for the year. Traditional good luck items include orchids, narcissus, peach blossoms, chrysanthemums, and little orange trees.
There will be Chinese opera and lion dancing on the stage as well. Expect a big crowd. Around 400,000 people attend this fair!
Lunar New Year Celebration at the Asian Museum
Sunday, Feb 18, 10:30 AM–4 PM
200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Free Museum Admission
A full day of celebration with Chinese acrobatics, lion dance, and storytelling. To round out the day’s activities, have your name written in Chinese calligraphy and make art projects from countries across Asia that celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Full Schedule of Activities:
10:30–11 AM Lunar New Year Storytelling Tour (ages 3–6)
11 AM–4 PM Hands-on Art-Making
11–11:30 AM Lunar New Year Kids’ Tour (ages 7–10)
12–12:30 PM Informal Acrobatic Workshop
1–1:30 PM Acrobatic Performance
1–4 PM Have Your Name Written in Chinese Calligraphy
1:45–2:15 PM Lion Dance Drumming
2:30–3:15 PM Lunar New Year Storytelling
3:15–4 PM Zodiac Animals with Amy Ma
The Chinese New Year Parade 2018
Saturday, Feb 24, 2018, 5:15 to 8 pm.
This is the PARADE. The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade is one of the largest and oldest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia. It draws more than 500,000 people every year!
The Parade starts at 2nd and Market, goes down Market to 3rd St, wraps around Union Square and then go up to Kearny all the way up to Columbus. It is LOUD and festive with lion dancing, Chinese acrobats, firecrackers, drums, and elaborate floats!
Best spots to watch the Parade:
- Steps on 601 California steps
Raised areas on Union Square
- The front row anywhere along the route.
Tips for enjoying the parade: Get there early by 4:30 at the latest. Dress warmly. Bring water and snacks. Book a seat if you don’t want to stand (see Eventbrite tickets)
Plan to stay until the end to see the Golden Dragon. The huge dragon is all lit up, over 200 feet long, and carried by 100 dragon dancers. This is the grand finale of the parade w drums, firecrackers, and magic!
Chinatown Community Street Fair 2018
Saturday, February 24, 10 am to 4:30 pm
Sunday, February 25, 9 am to 5 pm.
Grant Avenue, (California Street to Broadway), and Sacramento, Washington, Jackson and Pacific Streets (Stockton to Kearny).
This is a festive street fair with sights and sounds of Chinese culture: traditional Chinese music and dancing, acrobats, puppet shows, lion dancing, magic shows, lantern and kite-making, and Chinese snacks. Expect tons of people!
Asian Art Museum