The Chinese New Year begins on Monday and marks the year of the dragon, one of the most auspicious symbols of the Chinese Zodiac symbolizing success and happiness. New York City is home to one of the largest Chinese populations in the country, and there are festivals rich in tradition and great restaurants and nightlife in which to ring in the Lunar New Year.

Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival

84580924 NYCs 5 Best Chinese New Year Events
Monday January 23, 2012, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sara Roosevelt Park
Grand Street and Chrystie St.
New York, NY 10079
Price: Free admission

No Chinese New Year would be complete without the traditional Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, a tradition practiced in order to ward off evil spirits. After over 600,000 rounds of firecrackers are set off, the festival will feature lion dances, drumming and dancing at Sara Roosevelt Park.

chinese new year at the nyccc NYCs 5 Best Chinese New Year Events

(credit: NYCCC/Facebook)

Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration At The New York Chinese Cultural Center and Arts World Financial Center

Saturday, January 28, 2012 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Free Admission, no Tickets or reservations required

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, the New York Chinese Cultural Center presents its first-ever indoor family cultural day event to celebrate China’s 100th birthday and the Chinese New Year, 4710. NYCCC will partner with Arts Brookfield at World Financial Center to stage the biggest Chinese New Year celebration on the East Coast. The celebration begins with arts and craft activities where kids can partake in Chinese paper cutting, face painting, sculpting dough figurines and calligraphy. Many on-stage performances, including a lion dance, folk dancing and Shaolin Kun Fu’s gravity-defying performances, will take place as well.

chinesenewyear newyork2 NYCs 5 Best Chinese New Year Events

(credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival

Sunday, January 29
11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Festival and Booths at Sara Roosevelt Park, free admission
1:00 parade begins, free admission

Be sure and catch the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival as it celebrates its 13th year. As one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions during the winter months, this year’s parade is expected to attract attendance of over 500,000. The parade starts in Little Italy and goes through the main streets of Lower Manhattan and Chinatown (Mott, Canal, Bowery, Chatham Square, East Broadway, Eldridge, Hester, Forsyth & Grand Street) and ends at the Lower East Side on Grand Street by Sara Roosevelt Park. Onlookers can catch glimpses of musical performers, floats, antique cars and marching bands.

tigertales chinesetheatreworks NYCs 5 Best Chinese New Year Events

(credit: Chinese Theatre Works)

Through March 31, 2012
Price: Free

Explore the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community at the Children’s Museum of the Arts with a special celebration on Saturday, January 28. The festival will include a variety visual art experiences to teach families and children about traditional and contemporary arts in China. The Chinese Theatre Works will perform “Tiger Tales” and a shadow puppet show, capped off by a special performance of the Chinese Lion Dancers of PS124.

Enter The Dragon Exhibit

amycheng NYCs 5 Best Chinese New Year Events

Amy Cheng. We Spin a World , 2007 painting 48" x 72" Original Oil on Canvas (

Through March 31, 2012
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Artists talk with Amy Cheng
Wednesday, March 21 from 7-9 p.m., $10

The Elisa Contemporary Art Pop-up Gallery will feature a new art exhibit on January 6 entitled “Enter the Dragon.” It features the work of two Chinese artists, Amy Cheng and Mimi Chen Ting. Feng Shui Master RD Chin will be speaking about Feng Shui Principles on Wednesday, February 8 at 7-9 p.m. for $10.

Miriam Longobardi is a freelance writer in Westchester, New York. Her work can be found at
Comments (3)
  1. Art Lover Lynn says:

    Thanks for including the Enter the Dragon exhibit at Elisa Contemporary. The works of Amy Cheng and Mimi Chen Ting are amazing. I’m looking forward to all the other events here as well. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

  2. Brittany LES says:

    Love the parade, always a fun, although sometimes chaotic, event. Thanks for this info, happy CNY to all!

  3. Saturday is not Jan 29th. Is the parade on Saturday or Sunday?

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