Close-up view of a string of red lanterns hanging above a street in Chinatown. San Francisco, California.
San Francisco's Chinatown.

Lunar New Year 2024 Parade & Events

Your handy guide for celebrating Lunar New Year in San Francisco to the fullest!

Lunar New Year brings with it a festive month of events, including the Alaska Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, and many other events, exhibits and experiences.

The Year of the Dragon begins on Feb. 10, 2024 and is celebrated around the world in Asian communities. San Francisco has its own take on this festive occasion. Here are some ways you can join the celebration.

Chinese New Year Parade

One of the grandest nighttime illuminated parades in the U.S., the parade started in the 1860s and has grown to be one of the largest celebrations of Asian culture in this hemisphere. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats and a 268-foot-long Golden Dragon.

This year's parade will be held on Feb. 24 and will start on Second and Market streets. If this is your first parade, bleacher seats might be a good suggestion. Crowds are extremely dense along the parade route. If you opt for the standing room option, be sure to stake out your spot well before parade time. Arriving between 3:30 and 4 p.m. is recommended. Ear plugs are suggested for all ages; firecrackers are an integral part of the parade. Parking south of Market St. is usually easier; garages in Union Square will be impacted by crowds and street closures. Muni and BART are excellent options to get to and from the parade. And bring an umbrella. It will often rain on the parade, and it is considered good luck, so everyone takes it in stride.

Chinatown Street Fair

The San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce will host a two-day Chinese Community Street Fair, Feb. 24 and 25, with activities and entertainment for all ages. Enjoy Chinese folk dancing, opera, drumming and much more at the entertainment stage in the heart of San Francisco Chinatown. The fair will run on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Miss Chinatown USA Pageant

Each year, more than a dozen women from around the U.S. compete for the title of Miss Chinatown U.S.A. This year's pageant will be held on February 23 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on the Embarcadero. Cocktail hour begins at 5 p..m., then a celebratory dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the pageant and coronation ball to follow at 7:30 p.m.

NightLife at California Academy of Sciences

On Feb. 15, the California Academy of Sciences' weekly NightLife event will delve into Lunar New Year traditions. Join the mahjong mayhem, night market thrills, and lion dance remix.

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San Francisco Symphony

Bring in the Lunar New Year with the San Francisco Symphony on Feb. 17. The concert, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen, draws from a wide range of Asian traditions, and showcases vibrant artists and music to celebrate the holiday.

Tyler Cohn headshot
Tyler Cohn

Tyler is the Sr. Manager of Global Content & Communications at San Francisco Travel. He has lived in San Francisco since 2015 and has been part of the San Francisco Travel team for just as long. He enjoys splashy production numbers and outdoor sporting events equally, which means you can usually find him at one of San Francisco’s many great theaters or at Oracle Park, cheering on the Giants. 

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