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Celebrate Lunar New Year around the US

Whether you’re seeking chef-driven restaurants or outdoor family fun, these five Lunar New Year destinations offer travelers a festive retreat. | By Cassandra Brooklyn | January 11, 2023

Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar (the traditional Chinese calendar) and is also referred to as the Spring Festival in China. This year, festivities celebrating the Year of the Rabbit will run through early February, culminating with a stunning display of cultural performances promoting peace and reconciliation at lantern festivals. Here are our top picks for where to experience the Lunar New Year throughout America:

  • New York: Home to the country’s largest Chinatown, Manhattan’s Lunar New Year celebrations will not disappoint

  • Houston: Expand your mind with heritage walking tours through Asiatown or attend a dumpling-making class

  • Las Vegas: Experience one of the country’s newer Chinatowns with showstopping entertainment and cultural performances

New York

New York City is home to several Chinatowns across three boroughs — Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn — with the largest Chinatown in the U.S. situated in lower Manhattan. Considering all three neighborhoods are easily accessible by public transit, you could visit all three for the ultimate Lunar New Year experience.

Lower Manhattan’s celebrations are unsurprisingly the city’s most prominent, with elaborate decorations and a can’t-miss parade. The lion dancing, which features dancers in stunning lion costumes, is not to be missed — and is said to bring spectators good luck for the new year. Be sure to visit the historic Doyers Street, which is especially festive, with its brightly painted street mural and charming rows of lights and lanterns strung above the street. You’ll also find 100-year-old street signs here with names displayed in traditional Chinese characters.

This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat — particularly at Nom Wah, a vintage tea and dim sum parlor that has been open since 1920, making it the oldest continuously running restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Schedule a stop at Chinatown’s Museum of Chinese in America to explore their collection of more than 85,000 artifacts documenting Chinese American diaspora since the early 1900s. The museum will hold a free Lunar New Year Family Festival with special programs and festivities to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

San Francisco

Coming in at a close second for the largest Chinatown in the U.S., San Francisco is also where you’ll find the country’s oldest and perhaps most iconic Chinatown. Established in 1848, this cultural quarter now occupies some 30 city blocks, and is one of the city’s top attractions with music and dance groups, a children’s orchestra, the Chinese Culture Center and the Chinese Historical Society of America. Through its famed gate — at the intersection of Grant and Bush streets — you’ll find specialty stores selling Chinese herbs, ceramics and other goods, as well as tea shops, karaoke bars, restaurants, galleries and cocktail lounges.

Lunar New Year celebrations here include a famous Grand Parade with marching bands, lion dancers, stilt walkers, acrobats, decorated floats and a 28-foot-long Golden Dragon, operated by a team of more than 100 people. Other festivities include a community street fair (with fortune telling, Chinese calligraphy, drumming and traditional dancing) and an open-air flower market fair selling fruit, candy, flowers and plants.

If you want to stay close to the action, consider Hilton San Francisco Financial District or Hilton San Francisco Union Square, both of which are conveniently located within walking distance of Chinatown.


Famous for its clam chowder, cream pies and some of the country’s most die-hard baseball fans, Boston is also where you’ll find the third-largest Chinatown in the U.S. After walking through contemporary Chinatown Park, which features plants native to Asia and marks the entrance to Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, snap a picture in front of the eye-catching traditional paifang archway. Discover a diverse blend of Chinese, Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Japanese bakeries, restaurants, shops and food markets as you admire the area’s many colorful murals. The city’s centralized Chinese New Year Parade is a great event for family and friends to welcome in a prosperous year. Activities include origami, lantern crafting, lion dance performances and calligraphy.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston – Downtown straddles the borders between Chinatown, downtown and the nearby Theater District, creating the perfect centrally located stay.


They say everything is bigger in Texas, which especially holds true when it comes to Houston’s Chinatown and Lunar New Year celebrations. Houston’s Asiatown is spread across a much larger footprint than most Chinatowns – 6 square miles (15.5 square kilometers), to be precise.

When planning your Lunar New Year trip, be sure to explore the Chinese Community Center's Spring Festival celebration featuring a free full-day of family-friendly outdoor cultural activities, vendors, food and performances. This jubilant annual event starts with programs highlighting art, cuisine and traditions of Asian cultures. The Chinese Community Center also organizes bus tours, food tours and heritage walking tours through Asiatown, along with dumpling-making classes, tai chi and Chinese calligraphy demonstrations for a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.

Las Vegas

Head to Las Vegas for a Lunar New Year celebration filled with top-notch entertainment, unique shopping opportunities and authentic cuisine.

Within Las Vegas’ Chinatown, Chinatown Plaza – the city’s largest concentration of Asian businesses – features colorful architecture and walkways adorned with illustrations of Chinese customs, art and history. Chinatown Plaza also has a plethora of dining options, from barbecue to boba, and is home to the only Chinese bookstore in Nevada.

If you’re staying at Las Vegas Hilton at Resorts World Las Vegas, Lunar New Year festivities will be right at your doorstep. Resorts World Theatre will feature an exceptional Lunar New Year performance and on-site restaurants Redtail and FUHU will offer special menu items in honor of the Year of the Rabbit celebration. For high-end dining, old-world glamour and a traditional Chinese New Year experience, book a reservation at Genting Palace for the Family Dim Sum Brunch.

From elaborate decorations, dragon dances and cultural performances to festive fireworks and delicious dim sum, celebrating Lunar New Year around the U.S. is an exhilarating experience that should not be missed. Pick your perfect destination and let the festivities begin!

Cassandra Brooklyn is a freelance writer specializing in travel, culture, and all things outdoors. She's the author of the cycling guidebook, Cuba By Bike, and has bylines in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Forbes, The Daily Beast and Lonely Planet, among others.

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