The Lunar New Year is fast approaching and millions of travelers will be heading to cities near and far to kick off the Year of the Dog. If you haven't booked your travel plans yet, there's still time to organize a trip. But where's the best place to enjoy the celebration? Whether you plan to travel internationally or domestically, these six locations rate as the best for Spring Festival fun.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver plays host to a number of Lunar New Year events including LunarFest, which celebrates Asian arts and culture. The festival takes place at different locations around Vancouver, and it features ballet performances, arts and crafts, and traditional Lunar New Year eats.
February 18 is when the annual Chinese New Year parade takes place in Vancouver's Chinatown, and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is also open that day for the Year of the Dog Temple Fair. A three-day celebration, complete with live music and dance performances, an arts festival and dragon boat rides, kicks off at the International Village Mall beginning Friday, February 16.
New York City
As in Vancouver, many of New York's Lunar New Year festivities are held in Chinatown, including the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Friday, February 16. Members of the Better Chinatown Society gather at the park to light 600,000 firecrackers to welcome the start of the New Year. Lion dances and plenty of dumplings are also focal points of the celebration.
Numerous other Chinese New Year events are scheduled around the city, including celebrations at the Queens Botanical Garden, the Museum of Chinese in America, Brooklyn's Kumble Theater and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, all leading up to the annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, scheduled for Sunday, February 25.
If you're on the West Coast, the Bay City is the place to be to ring in the New Year. Most of San Francisco's Lunar New Year activities will be held in and around the city's Chinatown district, one of the oldest and largest in the country, with some events getting underway in the second week of February and running through the first week of March.
The San Francisco Zoo is hosting family-friendly fun, with guests born in the Year of the Dog receiving free admission on February 24 and 25. If you'll be in the city a little earlier, you can check out the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair. One of the biggest events is the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, which has been named one of the top ten parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA); February 10-16. The parade includes lion dancers, acrobats and a 268-foot long Golden Dragon
Over the last few years, Seattle's Lunar New Year celebration in the Chinatown-International district has become one of the largest of its kind in the region. The one-day event highlights traditional and contemporary Asian music and dance, including Japanese Taiko drumming. Food vendors serve up dishes from China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, and you can try your hand at calligraphy and Chinese yo-yo.
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience stages a Lunar New Year Fair for visitors of all ages. Just across Lake Washington, the city of Bellevue also hosts a one-day Lunar New Year event that includes martial arts, visual arts, music and dance performances.
If you don't mind traveling a bit further from home, Singapore is one of the most exciting places to celebrate the transition from winter to spring marked by the Lunar New Year. The Chingay Parade, which takes place February 23-24, is the largest street performance and float parade in Asia. Floats go beyond the normal fare, featuring pyrotechnics, fireworks and elaborately dressed dancers. The parade concludes with a street party, complete with stilt walkers and wushu masters.
River Hongbao at Marina Bay is another must-see event. Some of the highlights of this 11-day celebration include fireworks displays, nightly cultural performances, intricate lantern displays and the International Lion Dance competition. And don't forget to sample festival treats like dragon beard candy and savory squid
Lunar New Year is Hong Kong's largest festival event, and it's truly one of a kind. Highlights of the celebration include the International Chinese New Year Night Parade, the Chinese New Year Race Day (which features horse racing and lion dancing), the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival, attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors, Cantonese opera performances, a flower market, a lantern carnival and, of course, plenty of fireworks.
While you're in Hong Kong, remember to observe Lunar New Year traditions to bring good luck. Make a wish at the Lam Tseun wishing trees, visit a local temple to burn incense when the clock strikes midnight, and take a stroll around a peach blossom tree to boost your charm and encourage good fortune.
Plan ahead and book early
If you're planning to travel to any of these cities for the Lunar New Year, book your flights and hotels sooner rather than later, because they’re all likely to be crowded. Remember, if you're traveling to Singapore, Hong Kong or another Asian destination, it's not uncommon for some businesses to close down during the New Year. And no matter which city you're traveling to, be sure to plan your itinerary beforehand so you'll be able to make the most of every second.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Rebecca Lake and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
Image credit: Shutterstock
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.