Celebrated for thousands of years in various countries around the world influenced by Chinese civilization, the Lunar New Year remains one of the world’s most celebrated holidays. 2019 marks the Year of the Pig, an animal wih a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.
The celebration of Chinese New Year is a festive, colorful, loud, and incredibly fun holiday to enjoy, even if you aren’t Chinese. So, check out this list of the Best Lunar New Year Celebrations in Southern California and mark the special occasion by attending one with your family.
Best Lunar New Year Celebrations in Los Angeles
Lunar New Year Festival, Monterey Park (Jan. 26-27)
The city of Monterey Park will ring in the the Year of the Pig with this annual 2-day festival. Over the course of five blocks of downtown L.A. streets, festivalgoers will enjoy everything from Asian cuisine, carnival rides, art, lion dances and much more. Admission is free.
Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood, Hollywood (Feb. 2-17)
Celebrate the year of the pig during Lunar New Year February 2 – 17. Join Po and Tigress from Kung Fu Panda in Po’s Village and savor Asian dishes at Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop. Meet Illumination’s Minions in traditional Chinese attire and Mandarin-speaking Megatron from TRANSFORMERS™, and new this year, Hello Kitty joins us for the celebration. Plus, enjoy fun activities, live entertainment and more.
Chinese New Year Celebration at Mount of Olive Lutheran Preschool, Rancho Palos Verdes (Feb. 2)
Ni Hao Chinese invites you to celebrate the 2019 Lunar New Year with a wide variety of activities including traditional Chinese desserts, Chinese food, games and prizes. They also have a pastry chef on hand to make dragon whiskers candy. RSVP and get a free entry into the raffle.
Chinese New Year Gala 2019 at Almansor Court, Alhambra (Feb. 10)
Enjoy a holiday buffet banquet, VIP Speaker, cultural activity booths, spectacular performances, raffle prizes and more! The 2019 Gala will support California Wildfires Relief. Ticketed event.
Chinese New Year Celebration at Citadel Outlets, Los Angeles (Feb. 3)
Citadel Outlets is thrilled to welcome good fortune and joy in the Year of the Pig with vibrant, family-friendly celebrations for both the local community and Los Angeles-bound traveler. Live dancers and artists from the Los Angeles Chinese Cultural Center will perform a variety of Chinese dragon dances, folk dances, traditional songs, drum ceremonies tai-chai displays and more.
For four weeks this January & February, shoppers will have the chance to enjoy festive red and gold lanterns, twinkling lights and an authentic 17-ft Chinese pagoda decorating Center Court.
Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights at the Queen Mary, Long Beach (Feb. 5)
Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights will honor the Year of the Pig with traditional Chinese culture, cuisine, and entertainment featuring Wushu Shaolin lion and dragon dancing, Wushu Warriors Shaolin acrobatics, a guzheng ensemble, and much more. Located on board the Queen Mary in the famous Queen’s Salon, this limited seating event will be a feast of the senses surrounded by stunning decor. A buffet-style dinner featuring classic Chinese cuisine will begin at 6 pm, followed by live entertainment.
Tickets to Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights aboard the Queen Mary are currently on-sale starting at $99.99 general admission adult and $49.99 for children ages 4 to 11. All tickets include dinner and entertainment.
Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival at Chinatown Central Plaza, Los Angeles (Feb. 9)
For over a hundred years, people have gathered in the streets of Los Angeles’ Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year and enjoy the Golden Dragon Parade, a tradition for the past 120 years. The parade includes beautiful floats, marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders and cultural groups.
The free outdoor festival that runs throughout the day includes live dancing and music entertainment, cultural artisan classes, vendors, and local food trucks.
Lunar New Year Celebration at Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica (Feb. 2)
Enjoy lion dancers, K-Pop dancers, traditional Korean fan dancers, a Chinese music duo, a Chinese dough artist and a balloon twister. Also, don’t miss out on special offers from participating stores & restaurants.
Chinese New Year Festival at Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, San Dimas (Feb 2-3)
Visit the stunning grounds of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens for their annual Lunar New Year Festival as the Year of the Pig begins. This two-day festival includes lion dancers, mask-changing performances, martial arts, Chinese music and more. The event is included with general admission.
Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival, Alhambra (Feb. 9)
The city of Alhambra hosts this one-day-only Lunar New Year street festival to celebrate the new year. The festival has everything from dragon boat rowing stations to children’s workshops, cultural demonstrations, live music, dance, martial arts, and a plethora of Asian food to savor.
Los Angeles Lantern Festival at El Pueblo Historical Monument, Los Angeles (March 2)
Join the Chinese American Museum for the 18th Annual Los Angeles Lantern Festival. This free signature event culminates the Lunar New Year festivities with engaging community booths, museum tours, live entertainment, music, arts & crafts, and food trucks. On the stages, there will be all-day entertainment with lion dances, kung fu demonstrations, and other ethnic performances.
Best Lunar New Year Festivals in Orange County
Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure, Anaheim (Jan. 25 – Feb. 17)
Ring in the Lunar New Year with heartwarming traditions and warm wishes for a wonderful future.
May health, luck and prosperity be yours! Starting January 25, Disney California Adventure Park will usher in the Lunar New Year with a joyous tribute to the Asian cultures. Guests of all ages are invited to join us for an unforgettable experience—it’s the perfect opportunity to spend this auspicious occasion with family and friends. Here’s to your year-round good fortune!
- Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession
- Unique holiday entertainment
- Special appearances by some popular Disney Characters dressed in colorful event costumes
- Delicious Asian food
- Commemorative merchandise
- Kid-friendly crafts and activities
- Festive décor and more
Regular admission applies.
Chinese New Year Festival at Bowers Museum, Santa Ana (Feb. 3)
Welcome the year of the brave, sincere, and lucky pig! Celebrate with lion, dragon, and classical Asian dance, music, and art projects. Enjoy painting a paper lantern, getting your face painted, and eating a delicious egg roll treat. Free admission.
Lunar New Year Celebration at Outlets at San Clemente, San Clemente (Feb. 2)
Join us for free family fun and entertainment featuring more than 50 performers from the Irvine Chinese School, Marian Bergeson Elementary School’s Mandarin Immersion Program and San Diego-based Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society. Highlights include a Dragon Dance, interactive Lion Dance, martial arts demonstrations, arts and crafts activities, Red Envelopes and more.
Lunar New Year for Kids at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Feb. 9)
Join Pacific Symphony for a special fun-filled Lunar New Year concert celebrating the Year of the Pig! Together we will explore the legends and stories through a musical feast of Eastern and Western music as we celebrate this joyous annual festival observed by many Asian cultures here in Orange County and across the world! Enjoy a fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11.
Join in the fun at the interactive Musical Carnival, where kids can test drive a musical instrument, meet and interact with musicians from Pacific Symphony and Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles, watch local ensembles perform, create special crafts that connect to each concert’s theme and participate in learning activities that align with state and national educational standards. Activities begin at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. concertgoers and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. concertgoers.
Let’s Celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Pig at Pretend City, Irvine (Feb. 5)
Happy New Year! Join us as we celebrate this most special date on the Chinese Calendar. Lunar New Year, also referred to as the Spring Festival, has long been celebrated for centuries. Today we will honor Chinese traditions through fun, bright, activities and cultural learnings.
Purpose Behind the Play: Concept development – color recognition and identification, physical development, social-emotional, language development, writing practice, and cultural learning.
- Smart Art (in the Art Studio): Lantern Making > Lanterns are a traditional symbol of joy and vitality in the Chinese culture. We are overjoyed to be creating our own. Stop by the Art Studio to let your light shine as we cut, color, and decorate your own lanterns.
- Sensational Storytime (11:30am): Bringing in the New Year > Join this Chinese American family as they prepare for the New Year. After the reading, children will be encouraged to practice using descriptive language to talk about symbols they recognize from the book.
- Symbols in a Second (3:00pm): Chinese Calligraphy > Irvine Chinese School will be on site to help us learn the beauty behind calligraphy. It’s your little one’s chance to practice control while expressing their selves. So pick up a brush and let’s learn to communicate through symbols.
UVSA Tet Festival at OC Fair & Events Center, Costa Mesa (Feb. 8-10)
Celebrate the Lunar Year for 3 straight days at the Test Festival in Costa Mesa. Visitors will enjoy a wide array of traditional food, live entertainment, dance competitions, games, a fire cracker show with lion dancing, karaoke, community performances, as well as a pho eating contest.
Lunar New Year Celebration at Fashion Island, Newport Beach (Feb. 2-18)
Join us as we celebrate Lunar New Year from February 2 through 18 with a unique one-of-a-kind Year of the Pig interactive installation along with special promotions from our retailers and restaurants. Check out the photo moment on the Atrium Lawn located by Hyde Park Jewelers and Vince. Stay tuned for more information on special promotions from our retailers and restaurants.
Tet Parade, Westminster (Feb. 9)
Little Saigon Tet Parade is the largest and most watched event of its kind in the United States. The parade features marching bands, floats, lion dances, color guards, veterans and youth organizations, martial arts, multi-culture traditional attires from diverse communities, elected officials, Vietnamese Scouting organizations, community organizations, and much more.
Lunar New Year Celebration at Irvine Spectrum, Irvine (Feb. 10)
Celebrate Lunar New Year and the Year of the Pig at Irvine Spectrum Center on Sunday, February 10 from 12pm – 2pm. Activities to take place in the Giant Wheel courtyard include:
- Chinese dragon dance
- Lion Dance
- Greeters distributing fortune cookies*
- Lucky envelopes*
- Arts & Crafts*
Best Lunar New Year Celebrations in the Inland Empire
Asian Pacific Lunar New Year Festival, Riverside (TBD)
Celebrate The Chinese New Year at the Asian Pacific Lunar New Year Festival in downtown Riverside. On hand will be Traditional Asian music, dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, displays of beautiful art, and more.
To start off the day, there will be a parade of nations at 10 a.m, and to close in the evening, there will be a fireworks display to ring in the Lunar New Year. Visitors will be transported to the Orient with decor and cultural displays. Make sure you visit the Children’s Village for free arts and crafts. Free admission.
San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival at San Gabriel Mission District, San Gabriel (Feb. 16)
The entire community will bring in the Year of the Pig at the 5th Annual San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival. The free festival includes a dance competition, street food fair, crafts village, dessert land, a chalk art competition, beer and wine garden, art and shopping, a kids zone and live entertainment.
Lunar New Year Festival at Ontario Mills, Ontario (Feb. 16)
Ontario Mills is ringing in the Lunar New Year with a family-friendly festival including face painting, Lion Dancers, Kung Fu and more! The Year of the Pig celebration at Ontario Mills will include:
- Spin the Wheel Prize Giveaways
- Musical Performances
- Stilt Walkers
- Photo Booth
- Lion Dance Performances
- Kung Fu Performances
- Face Painting
- Balloon Twisters
Best Lunar New Year Festivals in San Diego
Lunar Year Tet Festival at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego (Feb. 1-3)
The Lunar New Year is an important Asian holiday that has been celebrated for thousands of years throughout the world, especially in Asia. 2019 marks the Year of the Pig, a sincere and brave animal that represents honesty, intelligence, and reliability. Pig’s positive enthusiastic energy and easygoing nature will make for an exciting festival as we continue our mission to revitalize San Diego’s Little Saigon Cultural and Commercial District. The festival will include an array of exotic food stations, unique vendor booths, cultural village, non-stop live entertainment and concerts, dog costume contest, Pho eating contest, plus traditional martial arts demonstrations and Lion Dance performances, firecrackers show. It is also one of the only events in the county offering diverse carnival rides appropriate for all ages.
Lunar New Year @ SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego (Feb. 2-18, select dates)
San Diego Test Festival at Mira Mesa Community Park, San Diego (Feb. 8-10)
The San Diego Tet Festival is a one of a kind bonanza with free Entertainment, Lion Dancing, music, rides, and more! Home to Miss Vietnam, Golden Voice, and the Step Up Dance Competition, the San Diego Tet Festival is world reknown for its epic celebration. Ticketed event.
San Diego Chinese New Year Fair at Third Avenue and J Street, San Diego (Feb. 16-17)
This annual two-day fair is hosted by the San Diego Chinese Center and includes a children’s craft area where kids can make golden lanterns, visitors can shop for Chinese handicrafts, eat a large variety of Asian food and enjoy live entertainment ranging from acrobats to traditional Chinese music performances.
How do you celebrate Lunar New Year in Southern California? Did I miss any events? If so, please leave them in the comment section.
Happy Field Tripping!