Lunar New Year in the Bay Area is a Family-Friendly Celebration - 510 Families

Lunar New Year in the Bay Area is a Family-Friendly Celebration

The Year of the Dragon has arrived! Here are some ideas to help your children celebrate the Lunar New Year and honor the cultures of many local families. There are many kid-friendly celebrations, crafts, books and movies, and yummy food to eat. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We appreciate the Oakland Museum of California, OMCA, for sponsoring this round-up of family-friendly events to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Don’t miss their annual Lunar New Year event on February 17, where kids 12 and younger receive free admission (advance reservations required).

lunar new year performer at OMCA
OMCA Lunar New Year performer

Featured Lunar New Year Celebration at OMCA, Oakland

On Sunday, February 17, celebrate Lunar New Year traditions through family-friendly storytelling, performances, and activities. Families will also enjoy creating paper lanterns and everyone will love the beloved dragon dance. Children 12 and younger receive free admission; $10 for everyone else. Tickets required.
Reserve your spot >

Bay Area Lunar New Year Celebrations for Families

We tried to list these in chronological order all around the Bay Area because one person’s “worth the drive” is another person’s “10 minutes away”. Have a wonderful and prosperous new year however you celebrate!

No Events Found

More celebrations for the Year of the Dragon

The following family-friendly celebrations are either longer than a single day or further than our typical (510) coverage area. We hope you find them worth the drive and fabulous!

Lunar New Year Weekend at Fairyland, Oakland

January 26-28, 2024, 10 am – 4 pm
Children’s Fairyland in Oakland
Get an early start to celebrating Lunar New Year at Fairyland. With special toddler storytime, kids dragon parade, traditional Lion Dancers, and festive arts and crafts. Included with paid admission ($16 per person).
More details >

Oakland Chinatown Lunar New Year Bazaar

January 27-28, 2024, 10 am – 5 pm
Oakland Chinatown at 9th Street and Franklin
The Lunar New Year Bazaar will have a stage of continuous live entertainment and dozens of vendors to promote Asian culture and local business. This street fair and market includes shopping opportunities for Oakland Chinatown merchandise, smaller handicrafts, and national vendors.
More details >

Santana Row Lunar New Year Celebration, San Jose

Saturday, February 10, 11 am – 1 pm
Santana Row in San Jose
With Lunar New Year festivities for the whole family, expect cultural performances, exciting drumbeats, red envelope surprises, and art-making.
Learn more > 

Lunar New Year Celebration: Year of the Dragon at OMCA, Oakland

Sunday, February 17, 11 am – 4 pm 
OMCA, 1000 Oak St, Oakland
Join OMCA for the 23rd annual Lunar New Year Celebration, Year of the Dragon. Honor family-friendly Lunar New Year traditions through crafts, storytelling, performances, and activities. Families can also decorate cards for elders experiencing food insecurity in neighboring Chinatown and Little Saigon. And everyone will love the beloved dragon dance. Note that the garden is closed to those without a ticket. Reservations are required: $10 for adult tickets, Children 12 and younger are free.
Reserve your tickets >

lunar new year performer at OMCA
Dragon Dance for Lunar New Year at OMCA

SF Symphony Celebration: Year of the Dragon, San Francisco

Saturday, February 17, 5 pm
Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco
The San Francisco Symphony hosts a vibrant musical event to celebrate Lunar New Year. Enjoy a performance that draws upon Asian traditions, past and present. For additional fees, join a banquet. Tickets start at $39.
Learn more >

San Jose Art Museum Community Day: Lunar New Year

Saturday, February 17, 11 am – 4 pm
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose
Welcome the Year of the Dragon at the San Jose Museum of Art with celebrations throughout the day, including art-making tutorials and kits, cultural performances, and demonstrations. The program invites all ages to participate in honoring Lunar New Year traditions around the globe. Free admission but please register in advance.
Learn more and register >

Lunar New Year Celebration, San Ramon

Sunday, February 18, 2 – 4 pm
City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon
Kick-off Year of the Dragon with Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese dancers and a selfie station. Wear red for luck.
More details >

Lunar New Year performers
Lunar New Year traditions include the beloved Dragon Dance | Photo: OMCA

Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco

Saturday, February 24, 5:15 pm – 8 pm
San Francisco Chinatown, Second and Market Streets
This annual parade returns in person! Watch the 2.5-hour-long parade beginning at 5:15 pm. Free, though bleacher seats are available for purchase. Arrive early to check out the community street fair that’s taking place before the parade. Don’t miss the playground at Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Park in SF Chinatown, too.
More details >

Simple Anytime Outing: Tilden Little Farm

Tilden Nature Area, 600 Canon Drive, Berkeley
Fly into Year of the Dragon with a visit to Tilden Little Farm to view chickens in person, it’s free (It might be a biiiiig stretch but since dinosaurs are ancestors to dragons, maybe chickens are too?). Learn more about the beloved farm >

Children make lunar new year craft
Children make Lunar New Year crafts at OMCA | Photo: Odell Hussey Photography via OMCA Facebook Page

8 East Bay Restaurants Kids Love to Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

  1. Burma Superstar (Alameda + Oakland) | Also offering a smaller to-go operation one block down on Telegraph. My children will both eat coconut rice and mango slices. Protein? No, thank you. But the grown-ups are more than happy, so it’s all good. – Whitney. Website.
  2. Dumpling Time (Berkeley + others) | Delightfully small portions of dumplings and gyoza for little appetites. This tasty spot can get very busy at peak times. Website.
  3. Manpuku (Elmwood) | Affordable, tasty sushi and Japanese fare. Website.
  4. Monster Pho (Temescal) | Tasty Vietnamese served by robots in a colorful, inventive atmosphere. My kids giggled in amazement as the Monster Pho robot moved across the room, stopped next to our table, and talked to us. — Maureen. Website.
  5. Ohgane Korean (Oakland + Alameda + Concord) | Korean BBQ for take-out and dine-in. Website.
  6. Renee’s Place (Albany) | Delicious Chinese. Wonderful neighborhood restaurant where Renee herself enjoys greeting the regulars of all ages and knows how to accommodate multi-generational parties very well. – Holly L. Website.
  7. Samurai Sushi Boat (Grand Ave. Oakland) | Sushi boat restaurant to delight you and your children both. Website.
  8. Shiba Ramen (Emeryville) | Kids love to slurp big bowls of ramen noodles in a flavorful broth. Portions are large and include enough noodles to share. Website.

88+ other restaurants loved by kids >>

Or take an easier route and buy tangerines or oranges from your local market for a festive dessert that represents wealth and luck.

Lunar New Year Craft Ideas for Families

Zodiac Animal Coloring Pages. Learn about the twelve animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac. Children can learn about each animal that rules a year of birth and influences personality. Discover their animal and see if the description is accurate. Download coloring pages from the Asian Art Museum here >

Chinese Red Envelopes Craft. Traditionally, money is the gift of choice during the Lunar New Year celebration, typically handed out in vibrant red envelopes. Add a bit of fun to the tradition by making your blinged-out envelopes for the occasion. This version from Sue over at First Palette is great because it comes with a handy printable template! Head over to First Palette to get started >

Hanging Citrus Fruit Paper Craft. Tangerines and oranges are good luck and symbolize wealth for the new year. Brighten up your house with this adorable craft by Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy. Don’t worry, for those of us who aren’t the craftiest, it’s pretty easy to make with colored paper, brown yarn, scissors, and glue. Find the tutorial here >

Paper Lantern Craft for the Lunar New Year. There are a ton of paper lantern craft ideas on the internet, but these mini versions are just that perfect version of cute that your little ones are sure to love. The addition of the hearts makes them perfect for Valentine’s Day too, so two birds with one stone! Check out the craft at The Craft Train here >

Baby wears dragon hat for Lunar New Year
Lunar New Year is an all-ages celebration | Photo: OMCA

Lunar New Year Books, Stories, and Movies to Enjoy with Kids

My First Chinese New Year, by Karen Katz. A fun lift-the-flap book to add to your collection that’ll introduce your littlest ones to the traditional festivities of the Chinese New Year. Buy on Amazon or check your local bookseller.

How to Catch a Dragon, by Adam Wallace. A bright appealing picture book that’ll enliven reading time and bring out many Chinese New Year themes. Buy on Amazon or check your local bookseller.

Look! What Do You See?: An Art Puzzle Book of American and Chinese Songs, by Bing Xu. For your older kids (ages 7+), you’ll find this puzzle book both visually stunning and mentally challenging for the codebreakers in your family. Buy on Amazon or check your local bookseller.

The Enchanted Paintbrush, Circle Round Podcast. Children can listen to the Chinese folktale about a magical paintbrush that brings an artist’s drawings to life. Perfect for car rides or quiet time, probably best for kids 3+. Listen here >

What will you do to celebrate??

Special thanks to OMCA for sponsoring our Lunar New Year: Year of the Dragon Guide.


Get the {510} Families weekend planner in your inbox. It's free!

* indicates required

2 thoughts on “Lunar New Year in the Bay Area is a Family-Friendly Celebration”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We've got your instructions for family fun right here!
Sign up today and get a list of kid-friendly activities for East Bay parents every Friday.
Stay Updated
You can unsubscribe anytime.
Scroll to Top