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

We appreciate OMCA for sponsoring this round-up of family-friendly events to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Don’t miss their annual Lunar New Year event on January 29, where kids 12 and younger receive free admission!

The Year of the Rabbit 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!

lunar new year celebration with lion dances
Lunar New Year performance | Photo: OMCA

Featured Lunar New Year Celebration at OMCA, Oakland

On Sunday, January 29, celebrate Lunar New Year traditions through family-friendly storytelling, performances, and activities. Families will also enjoy creating paper lanterns and paper rabbits and everyone will love the beloved dragon dance. Children 12 and younger receive free admission!
Get adult tickets >

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 “right across the bridge”. Have a wonderful and prosperous new year however you celebrate!

Events with a rabbit emoji 🐇 have free admission.

Lunar New Year Weekend at Fairyland, Oakland

Rescheduled TBD, 10 am – 4 pm
Children’s Fairyland in Oakland
Get an early start to celebrating Lunar New Year at Fairyland. Meet the author of Dragon Noodle Party, enjoy traditional Lion Dancers, and partake in festive arts and crafts. Included with paid admission ($15 per person).
More details >

The Year of the Rabbit Family Storytime, Castro Valley 🐇

Saturday, January 14, 11 am – 11:30 am
Castro Valley Public Library, 3600 Norbridge Ave in Castro Valley
Families are invited to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with local author Oliver Chin as he reads from The Year of the Rabbit, from the series Tales from the Chinese Zodiac.
More details >

Lunar New Year Celebration, Concord

Sunday, January 15, 10 am – 11:30 am
The Veranda in Concord
Join the community festival at The Veranda in Concord. Attendees will be delighted with a martial arts demonstration, a Lion Dance Show, and a craft and calligraphy corner led by local calligraphy artist Jojo Liu. Register for the event activities and/or a movie.
More details >

Crowd watches Lion Dance at Lunar New Year event.
Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with cultural performances. | Photo: Jack London Square

Lunar New Year Celebration 2023, Oakland 🐇

Saturday, January 21, 1 pm – 3 pm
Jack London Square in Oakland
Join this fun-filled to celebrate Lunar New Year: watch entertaining Lion Dancers and martial arts performances, create Year of the Rabbit Crafts and snap photos with themed selfie stations.
More details >

Lunar New Year Celebration, Berkeley 🐇

Saturday, January 21, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Berkeley Public Library Central Branch in Downtown Berkeley
This extremely family-friendly event will feature a storytime, dance performances, food and crafts. Events are planned to take place outside, but will move inside if raining.
More details >

San Jose Art Museum Community Day: Lunar New Year 🐇

Saturday, January 21, 11 am – 4 pm
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose
Welcome the Year of the Rabbit, or in Vietnam, the year of the Cat, 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, January 22, 2 pm – 4 pm
City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon
Lunar New Year begins on January 22. Kick-off Year of the Rabbit with Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese dancers, a kung fu demonstration, Lion Dancers, and a selfie station.
More details >

Santana Row Lunar New Year Celebration, San Jose 🐇

Saturday, January 28, 11 am – 1 pm
Santana Row in San Jose
Hop into Lunar New Year festivities for the whole family. Expect cultural performances, red envelope surprises, art-making, and more.
Learn more > 

Lunar New Year Celebration, Fremont 🐇

Saturday, January 28 12 pm – 4 pm
Downtown Event Center & Plaza, 3500 Capitol Avenue, Fremont
Join the City of Fremont Lunar New Year event to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with Chinese performances by Dragon Rhythm Shaolin Kung Fu, music by The Eternity Band, and food for sale. Entry to the event is free but crafts in the Kids’ Corner require advance-paid registration.
More details >

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

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

Sunday, January 29, 12 pm – 4 pm (doors open at 11 am)
OMCA, 1000 Oak St, Oakland
Join OMCA for the 22nd annual Lunar New Year Celebration, Year of the Rabbit. Honor family-friendly Lunar New Year traditions through crafts, storytelling, performances, and activities. In addition to many musical performances, the featured events for children include a storytime with Oliver Chin reading The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac along with a special storytime for toddlers presented by the Oakland Public Library. Families will also decorate cards for elders experiencing food insecurity in neighboring Chinatown and Little Saigon. And everyone will love the beloved dragon dance. Children 12 and younger receive free admission.
Get adult tickets >

Lunar New Year Bilingual Storytime, Berkeley 🐇

Saturday, February 4, 10:30 am
Berkeley Public Library Central Branch
Visit the Children’s Reading Room for a special bilingual storytime (English/Mandarin) that’s all about Lunar New Year. Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families are all welcome.
More details >

Lunar New Year Celebration & Lion Dance Parade, Oakland 🐇

Saturday, February 4, 11 am – 2 pm
Oakland’s Laurel District, MacArthur Blvd between 35th Ave to High St
Kicks off the Lunar New Year with a lion dance procession that travels down MacArthur Boulevard to bless the local businesses. There will be lion dance performances, music, firecrackers, and offerings to bring luck.
More details >

Lunar New Year x Black History Month Celebration, Oakland 🐇

Saturday, February 4, 11 am – 4 pm
Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Ste 290
Celebrate Black and Asian solidarity at this event. There will be performances, a marketplace filled with local vendors, historical exhibit, and literary fair. Don’t miss the children’s storytime at noon.
More details >

Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco 🐇

Saturday, February 4, 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 >

Willie Woo Woo Wong Playground
Play structures were inspired by Chinese mythology | Photo: Maureen Burke

Lunar New Year Storytelling, San Francisco 🐇

Saturday, February 5, 11 am – 2:30 pm
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Family Fun Day at the Asian Art Museum happens on the first Sunday of every month when general admission to the museum is free. Join a fun and engaging Lunar New Year program.
Learn more >

Lantern Festival, Oakland 🐇

Saturday, February 5, 3 – 8 pm
Pacific Renaissance Plaza, Oakland
Celebrate and support Oakland Chinatown at Lantern Festival. There will be a night market, performances, and arts & crafts to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Free, but reserve a spot.
Learn more >

SF Symphony Celebration: Year of the Rabbit, San Francisco

Saturday, February 5, 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. Tickets start at $35.
Learn more >

Lunar New Year Celebration on Solano Ave, Berkeley 🐇

Sunday, February 12, 10 am – 11:45 am
Peralta Park on Solano Avenue in Berkeley
Gather in Peralta Park on Solano Avenue for a free, family-friendly event filled with performances from local dance and martial arts groups.
More details >

Simple Anytime Outing: Tilden Little Farm 🐇

Tilden Nature Area, 600 Canon Drive, Berkeley
Hop into Year of the Rabbit with a visit to Tilden Little Farm to view rabbits in person, plus it’s totally free. 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

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 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 own 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 >

Over the Moon (Netflix)

A fun cartoon movie with Chinese culture and genres, probably best for kids 6+. Check it out on Common Sense Media to read reviews. Watch it on Netflix >>

Born in China (Disney+)

For the animal lovers in your family, this delightful documentary follows the adventures of three animal families — the majestic panda, the savvy golden monkey, and the elusive snow leopard.  Watch it on Disney+

Child slurping ramen noodles
Slurp up some noodles at Shiba Ramen | Photo provided by Public Market Emeryville

10 East Bay Restaurants Kids Love to Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit

  1. Anchalee (Berkeley) | Thai takeout or dine-in. The food is very good, staff is friendly and my daughter inhales their fried rice. We pack sticker books and markers to keep her happy during boring grown-up conversations. – Janet O. Website.
  2. Bowl’d (Albany, Alameda, Oakland) | Korean carry-out or dine-in. I love that they give little smoothies and kid chopsticks and bowls. – Anne C. Website.
  3. Mint Leaf (W. Berkeley, Alameda) | Vietnamese restaurant take-out at either location. Try the Cha Gio rolls. Website.
  4. Ohgane Korean (Oakland, Alameda, Concord) | Korean BBQ for takeout. Website.
  5. Oori Rice Triangles (Albany, Berkeley, Oakland) | My family and so many friends LOVE the takeout from Oori Rice triangles – Carol B. Website.
  6. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (Emeryville, Walnut Creek) | Asian Fusion Chain with carry out. Order online or with their app and take advantage of Bay Street’s 15-minute free parking for food carryout. Website.
  7. Renee’s Place (Albany) | 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.
  8. Shiba Ramen (Emeryville, Oakland) | Slurp up noodles as plain or adorned as your kid wants. Website.
  9. Toss Noodle Bar (Berkeley) | Order carry-out of mixed Asian flavors. Dress your noodles however you like. {See Whitney’s review of TossWebsite.
  10. Sichuan Style Restaurant (Berkeley) | A favorite of Maureen’s family. Dine-in or take-out. Located on Solano Avenue. Website.

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

What will you do to celebrate??

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

xxx

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