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January 23, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 Parade & Events

Chinese New Year brings in a festive month of events including the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, the Chinese New Year Flower Fair, a street fair, and many other events, exhibits and experiences. The majority of these events, which are held throughout February, are free to the public and welcome families and people of all ages.

The Year of the Rooster begins on Jan. 28, 2017 and is celebrated around the world in Asian communities. San Francisco has its own take on this festive occasion and there are many events and festivities.

It all climaxes with the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade on the evening of Feb. 11, 2017. 

Community Events

Prior to the lunar new year, visitors can help kick off the festivities with a mini-procession on Jan. 21, 2017 on Grant Avenue between California Street and Pacific Avenue. That same weekend there will be a Flower Market Fair along Grant Avenue, Jan. 21-22, 2017. Oranges, tangerines and other foods associated with abundance and happiness will overflow from grocers' bins. Prior to the Miss Chinatown USA competition on Feb. 4, there is a basketball jamboree on Feb. 4, 2017. On parade weekend, there is a two-day Chinese Community Street Fair, Feb. 11-12, 2017 on Grant Avenue. On Feb. 19, there will be a 5K/10K Chinatown YMCA Chinese New Year Run. The route winds its way through Chinatown, North Beach, the Embarcadero and downtown.

Miss Chinatown USA Pageant

Each year more than a dozen women from around the U.S. compete for the title of Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Tickets for the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. pageant on Feb. 4, 2017, start at $35 and the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. coronation ball is on Feb. 10, 2017.

Chinese New Year Parade

One of the grandest nighttime illuminated parades in the U.S., the parade started in the 1860s and has grown to be one of the largest celebrations of Asian culture outside of Asia. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed elementary school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats and a 268-foot-long Golden Dragon. 

This year's parade will be held on Feb. 11 and will start on Second and Market Streets. If this is your first parade, bleacher seats might be a good suggestion. Crowds are extremely dense along the parade route. If you opt for the standing room option, be sure to stake out your spot well before parade time. Arriving between 3:30 to 4 p.m. is recommended. Ear plugs are suggested for all ages; firecrackers are an integral part of the parade. Parking south of Market is usually easier; garages in the Union Square area will be impacted by crowds and street closures. Muni and BART are excellent options to get to and from the parade. And bring an umbrella. Even in drought years it will often rain on the parade. 

Cultural Activities

Join the Asian Art Museum in ringing in the New Year on Jan. 29, 2017 with talented dancers, musicians and storytellers. Admission is free with the purchase of museum entrance.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rooster with the San Francisco Symphony at their concert and post-concert dinner on Feb. 4, 2017. This family event draws on both ancient and contemporary Asian traditions. Arrive at 3 p.m. for the pre-concert festival reception offering family-friendly entertainment and activities including arts and crafts, lion dancing and more. Dinner follows at 6 p.m. Dinner packages are sold separately. They range from $395 to $1,250 and include access to the festival reception, premier concert seating and the post-concert Imperial Dinner.

Admission to the Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay St., will be free all day for their annual lunar celebration on Feb. 11. There will be dragon dancing, arts and crafts for the kids, a photo booth and author Rosemary Gong of “Good Luck Life” will talk about Chinese New Year traditions.

Given the popularity of lunar new year events in San Francisco, it’s no surprise that SF Beer Week includes a dim sum beer brunch on Feb. 11 featuring Fort Point Brew Company beer pairings at the Hong Kong Lounge, 5322 Geary Blvd.

Creative family fun is on the schedule at the Presidio Officers’ Club, Jan. 28-29, 2017. Learn how to make a pellet drum using simple materials; pellet drums have been part of traditional celebrations for thousands of years.

On Feb. 2, 2017 the California Academy of Sciences weekly Nightlife event will celebrate with a special lion dance performance from Jing Mo Athletic Association and delve into lunar and rooster science.


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