Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2020 in LA

Photo by Mike Watt

The Chinese Lunar New Year in LA has always been a no-brainer. Just head over to Chinatown for their annual Golden Dragon Parade and festival. But Chinatown is not the only game in town. We have found several places for you to usher in the Year of the Rat, which begins on January 25, 2020.

Chinatown Midnight Temple Ceremony

Friday, January 24, 2020, 10 p.m.

The midnight Temple Ceremony on Friday night is a less crowded event taking place at 10 p.m. at Thien Hau Temple. Besides the respectful offerings to deities and incense burning, there will be a celebration, where people can watch lion dancers and experience the spectacle of 500,000 fireworks going off at once.

6th Annual Port of Los Angeles Lunar New Year Festival

January 25, 2020, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Usher in the year of the Rat on the beautiful Waterfront in San Pedro with live entertainment, arts and crafts, face painting, a petting zoo, and even fireworks. (Rainy day plan: Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro). Free entry and free parking. Cabrillo Way Marina Promenade, 2293 Miner Street  San Pedro, CA 90731.

Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights at the Queen Mary

Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach goes all out for holidays, and Chinese New Year is no exception. Shanghai Nights will usher in the Year of the Rat with a Chinese buffet dinner and show in the Grand Salon (fancy!) Cash bar. Performances by Wushu Shaolin Entertainment will include Chinese Martial Arts, Acrobats, Dragon and Lion Dances, Ribbon Dances, and Face Changer. I don’t know about you, but I have to see that face changer! Plus, the Queen Mary always has extravagant buffets. One general admission for dinner and show is $119.00. There is a discount for two tickets, and VIP options. TICKETS.

USC Pacific Asia Museum Lunar New Year Festival

Saturday, January 25, 2020, from 11:00 a.m.

USC’s Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena will be celebrating The Year of the Rat with live performances, art workshops, food trucks, and other activities. You also get free admission to their galleries and beautiful koi pond. Free. If you get peckish, check out Lunasia on Colorado for some fantastic dim sum.

Lunar New Year Celebration, Year of the Rat at Farmer’s Market

Sunday, January 26, 2020, 2 – 5 p.m.

Probably the only time the mention of a rat at the food stalls is a good thing. The Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax will be hosting a day full of free Lunar New Year activities in the Plaza. The celebration will feature traditional lion dancers, Kung Fu demos, Acrobats, Korean fan dancers, a magic show, and crafts for kids and adults; including a balloon artist, and a Chinese calligraphy art demo. Merchants throughout the Market will be offering “Lucky 8” food and merchandise specials. Free. For information call 323-933-9211, or check the website.

Chinatown’s Golden Dragon Parade and New Year Festival

Feb 1, 2020  12 Noon – 8 pm

On Chinese New Year’s Day as we welcome the Year of the Metal Rat, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce hosts the most popular event of this holiday, the 121st Annual Golden Dragon Parade, will be taking place from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. in Chinatown, beginning at the intersection of Hill Street and Ord Street. If you would like to purchase grandstand seats, please contact the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles at (213) 617-0396 or visit their website.

In conjunction with the parade, the Chinese New Year Festival will be happening at Chinatown’s Central Plaza from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Central Plaza activities include a photo booth with original vintage cutouts from the 1940s. You can watch artisans practice arts like Calligraphy and Dough Sculpture. Children always love the face painting and  Minh Tran’s magic show.

At the Central Plaza Main Stage, entertainment includes the Traditional Southern Lion Dance [East Wind Lion Dance], acrobats, Mongolian contortionists, drums and a martial arts demo by Shaolin Kung Fu Yuan. There will also be a Craft & Vintage Market and food trucks from Kogi, Sticky Rice, Tokyo Doggie Style and many others.

The Culinary Corner features cooking demos (and samples!) making Dragon Whiskers Candy, Dim Sum, Chicken Katsu Sando, and a variety of specialty teas. The West Plaza will offer hands-on arts and crafts, and what better way to celebrate the Rat than with a 6 p.m. free screening of Ratatouille? Check the website for the schedule.

Nearby streets will be closed for the parade from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Check the link above for details. The festival is easily accessed via Metro Gold Line rail from the supercool Chinatown Station.

Alhambra Lunar New Year Street Festival

Saturday, February 1, 2020, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Alhambra’s street festival will be held along the Chinese-American commercial district on five city blocks of Valley Blvd. between Almansor St and Vega St. There will be 250 booths, some with featured activities, such as a dragon boat rowing station, children’s workshops, and Asian cultural demonstrations. Giveaways, games, and global food will be happening all day, as well as lion dances, kung fu demonstrations, and traditional red envelope giveaways from the God of Fortune. Shuttles will be provided from the parking lots of local high schools.

Lunar New Year Community Event: Westfield Santa Anita

Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The Westfield Mall next to the Santa Anita racetrack will be celebrating their annual Lunar New Year pinnacle event on Level 1 in Center Court. The day includes Traditional Lion Dances, Candy Spinning, Games, Raffles, and Calligraphy Demonstrations. Check in at the Registration Table for a red envelope (These are traditionally exchanged at Chinese New Year. It means money). You do not have to check in to participate. Proceeds from the Games and Candy Spinner Booth will be donated to the Asian Pacific Community Fund. Various merchants will be participating by offering raffle and giveaways for customers. Schedule of performances.

Chinese New Year Festival at The Huntington

Saturday, Feb. 1, and 2, 2020, 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.

The Huntington celebrates the beginning of the Year of the Rat with a two-day festival featuring lion dancers, mask-changing performances, martial arts, Chinese music and dance, Taiko drums, painting and calligraphy demonstrations, and children’s activities. There will be a LEGO® Model of the Chinese Garden, and for $10 you can get your picture taken with the Lion Dancers!

Enjoy an extensive Chinese menu at 1919 (café), including Chicken Congee with Ginger, Pork Dumplings, and Rice Flour Crusted Catfish, Hoisin Jackfruit Bao (vegetarian), and a Lychee Martini. Boone Gallery Circle will have offerings from some of our favorite chefs–Ms Chi Cafe™ from Shirley Chung, and Seoul Sausage from Ted and Yong Kim. Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, from our very favorite chef, Kajsa Alger, offers, among other things, Hunan Cumin-Beef Noodles, Buddha’s Delight (vegan), and Sesame Rice Balls. Bonus: Yuzu Sorbet at Red Car.

Lunar New year activities are free with your $29 adult general admission ticket. There will be a free Huntington shuttle from the Gold Line’s Sierra Madre Villa station in Pasadena, along with a $5 discount on admission or food.

San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

February 8, the 6th annual San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival will be taking place in the San Gabriel Mission District. Taking a more up-to-date approach to the celebration, the outdoor stage will welcome modern music as well as traditional music, and performances by Asian and Asian American groups. There will be more than 50 merchant and artisan booths, food trucks, a street chalk art walk, interactive art exhibits, community organizations, a kids zone, fortune tellers, calligraphers, and a beer garden featuring craft brewers. FREE. San Gabriel Mission Playhouse 320 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel, California 91776.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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