Thanks to Berkeley’s Fourth Street for sponsoring this guide to Lunar New Year for Bay Area families.
As the Year of the Monkey approaches, a handful of Lunar New Year celebrations are scheduled around the Bay Area. Here are some places to take your children to celebrate the cultures of many local families. They are all so much fun and many, like those pictured here on Fourth Street, are also FREE!
San Francisco’s parade preview
Sponsored by Southwest Airlines, this mini procession is a much smaller version of the enormous parade to come. It might be just the thing for small people hoping to see a few dragons, giant puppets, and dancers without all the big crowds.
When: Saturday, January 30 – 10:30am See the schedule here >
Where: San Francisco Chinatown
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
This popular annual Lunar New Year celebration includes music performances and dance by students from the Chinese American International School and the China Dance School and Theatre. The students will also present a playful, self-arranged lion dance, which is believed to scare away evil spirits and ensure a bright beginning to the year. Children’s book author Oliver Chin will read stories about Chinese zodiac animals and their characteristics, inviting everyone to reflect on their own personalities. You can also have your name written in Chinese calligraphy and make an art project. Details here >
When: Sunday, January 31
Where: Asian Art Museum
Solano Ave in North Berkeley and Albany
In front of the Albany Twin Theater (1115 Solano), performances will include acrobatics, a lion dance, martial arts, Chinese instruments and music, plus singing by local school children. Parade begins at noon, everyone is welcome to join.
When: Sunday, February 7 – 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Solano Ave in front of Albany Twin Theater
Fourth Street in Berkeley
In the area in front of Peet’s Coffee, there will be a FREE martial arts demonstration, a lion dance, and parade. Free craft tables will include making origami monkeys and paper lanterns.
When: Saturday, February 13, 12-4 Here’s the rundown:
- 12-3pm Traditional candy given-away at merchant with signs reading “Gung Hay Fat Choy ~ Candy”
- 12-1pm Martial Arts Demonstration by Golden Lion Martial Arts
- 1-2pm Lion Dance by Kei Lun Martial Arts – dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the cultural legacies of LION DANCING, MARTIAL ARTS.
- 2-3:30pm Parade and Merchant Store Blessings by Lion Procession
Where: Berkeley’s Fourth Street District
The Oakland Museum Lunar New Year festival is a pan-Asian new year celebration with lots of arts and crafts activities and dragon and lion dances. All activities included with regular museum admission price.
When: Sunday, February 14 – 12 pm to 4.30 pm
Where: Oakland Museum
San Francisco’s mega parade
Sponsored by Southwest Airlines, this Chinese New Year parade is a big event and goes on past dark. The parade route is from Market and Second Street to Kearny and Jackson. $30 will buy you a seat on the bleachers (Kearny Street, between Sacramento & California) Numerous other Lunar New Year events will be hosted in Chinatown over the next few weeks.
When: Saturday February 20, 5:15 – 8 pm See the schedule here >
Where: San Francisco, Market and Second Street to Kearny and Jackson
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
Kick off the year of the fire monkey with a performances, crafts, and demonstrations from OACC affiliated artists and teachers. See more information.
When: Saturday, February 27 from 11am to 3pm
Where: Oakland Asian Cultural Center
(Photo Credit: Berkeley’s Fourth Street)