10 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations: SF Bay Area 2016

SF Celebrates Chinese New Year 201610 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations: SF Bay Area 2016. January 30, 2016 – February 28, 2016.

2016 is the year of the monkey – one of the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac.

Those more in the know (ah, everyone) say the Monkey embodies “trickster energy” requiring us to be on the lookout for charlatans, delusional people, and unrealistic concepts. Hear that presidential candidates???

Ever optimistic, the SF Bay Area is celebrating the Year of the Monkey with month-long celebrations including street fairs, festivals, parades, eats, lion dances, museum activities, and more. Most of the events are free and family friendly. Here are our picks for 10 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations: SF Bay Area 2016.

Have fun and Gung Hay Fat Choy.


10 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations: SF Bay Area 2016

San Francisco:

  1.  Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Saturday, January 30, 2016, 10am-8pm AND Sunday, January 31, 2016,  9am-6pm

Come to the Chinese New Year Flower Fair to purchase traditional holiday plants, fresh flowers, fruits, candy and other supplies for the new year. Enjoy concessions, Chinese dance, music, art, and cultural displays. Grant Avenue, from Broadway to Clay Street, and on Pacific Avenue, from Stockton to Kearny Street as well as Jackson Street between Stockton and Kearny.

Free and fun for all ages.

Chinese New Year flowers2.   Chinese New Year Mini-Parade 2016. Saturday, January 30, 2016 starting at 10:30 am.

This mini parade includes giant walking puppets, costumed stilt walkers, colorful dancers, drummers, electrifying lions, and the noble Dragon. The parade begins at the historic St. Mary’s Square, down Grant Avenue and proceeds to the Flower Fair’s main stage on Washington Street below Grant Ave.

Following the procession, the Mayor and other City dignitaries, will join honored guests in officially opening the festival with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the entertainment stage on Washington Street below Grant Avenue (estimated time for the ribbon cutting ceremony 10:50 a.m.) Enjoy lion dancing, elaborately costumed Chinese giant puppets  and picture-taking with Chinese deities.

Free and fun for all ages.

Lunar New Year SF 2014

3.  Asian Art Museum celebrates the Lunar New Year. January 31, 2016. 10:30 am-4 pm. 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco.

Roll in the Year of the Monkey with talented dancers, musicians, and storytellers; have your name written in Chinese calligraphy; and create a Lunar New Year inspired art project.

Free with museum admission (general admission $15, children 12 and under free.)

Chinese New Year banner

4.  Lunar New Year at the SF Zoo.  Sunday, February 13, 2016, 11 am – 3 pm.  Click here for directions and parking information.

The SF Zoo is celebrating the New Year with acrobats, traditional lion dances, folk dancing, Chinese yo-yo tricks, monkey-themed art projects, and more. Don’t forget to stop by the Primate Discovery Center to see all the monkeys!

Bonus: Zoo visitors can take a self-guided Zodiac tour through the Zoo. This fun-filled scavenger hunt adventure will lead guests to the animals found on the Chinese calendar. Everyone who completes the Zodiac tour will receive a lucky red envelope with a surprise inside.

Free for people born in monkey years (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and 2016.)  Everyone else, activities free with zoo admission.

Lunar New Year Celebrations SF Bay Area 2016


5. Chinatown Community Street Fair Saturday, February 20, 2016 10am-4:30pm and Sunday, February 21, 2016 9am-5pm.

Head to San Francisco’s Chinatown for two full days of entertainment, eating, and shopping. Enjoy traditional Chinese dance, drumming and acrobats from throughout Asia. Experience the ancient Chinese arts such of calligraphy, fortune-telling and lion dancing. Stroll alongside giant walking puppets and take your picture with the giant dragon.

Grant Avenue from California to Broadway;Pacific Avenue from Kearny to Stockton; Washington & Jackson Street from Kearny to Stockton.

Free and fun for all ages.

Chinese New Year clip art

6.  San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. Starts at Market and Second streets; ends at Kearny and Jackson (here is the parade route) February 20, 2016. 5:15-8 pm. Rain or shine.

Come see why San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade is one of the top ten Parades in the world. Started in the 1860s and steeped in tradition this Parade and Festival is the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. 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 (“Gum Lung.”)

Bonus: Can’t make it to the Parade? Catch it televised live on KTVU Fox 2 and KTSF 26 (Chinese broadcast) 6-8pm.

Free. Bleacher seats: $30.

Tip: Best (free) locations to view the parade:

  • TV broadcasters area along Union Square.
  • The area around Portsmouth Square.
  • The review stand area at the end of the parade, where floats are judged.

10 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations SF Bay Area 2016


East Bay:

7.  Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.  388 9th Street #290, Oakland. Saturday, February 27, 2016.11 am – 3 pm. Click here for directions and parking information.

Enjoy performances, vendors, arts and crafts.  FREE Admission.

Year of the Monkey Oakland Asian Cultural Center


8.  Lunar New Year Celebration at Oakland Museum. 1000 Oak Street, Oakland 94607. Sunday, February 14, 2016, 12–4:30 pm. Click here for directions and parking information.

The Oakland Museum’s Asian multicultural New Year celebration includes lucky lion and dragon dances, magic, storytelling, petting zoo animals, drumming, Red Panda Acrobats, martial arts demos, henna hand art demos, fruit and vegetable carving demos, several ethnic dance groups, and more.

Activities included with regular museum admission. Chinese New Year 2014Marin:

9.  Chinese New Year Festival at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Monday, February 15, 2016 (President’s Day) 9 am – 4 pm.

Families are invited to welcome the “Year of the Monkey” at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s annual celebration. Enjoy: spectacular lion dancers, calligraphy demonstrations, story telling,  sample delicious Chinese food, and more.

Bonus: Check out the special Children’s China exhibit and discover even more timeless traditions.

Free with Museum admission (general admission is $13.95.) Click here for directions.

Chinese NY at Bay ARea Discovery MuseumPeninsula:

10.  Lunar New Year in Redwood City. Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. February 27, 2016. 11 am-4 pm.

Enjoy: lion dancers, Red Panda Acrobats, martial arts, kids arts & crafts. Rain or Shine.


Bonus: the San Mateo County History Museum will join in Redwood City’s Lunar New Year celebration. Inside the History Museum, kids can participate in activity stations based on the Chinese zodiac. Free museum admission Saturday, February 27, 2016 , 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Lunar New Year in Redwood City


Two enthusiastic thumbs up for these 10 Fun Lunar New Year Celebrations: SF Bay Area 2016 and all the optimism a new year brings.

Tips: In the spirit of the Lunar New Year: wear new clothes in good-luck-color red, don’t argue, don’t use knives or sharp objects and don’t forget to give children hong bao, (red envelopes with $$ inside.)

Wishing you good fortune, robust health, longevity, happiness and prosperity. 新年快


10 Fun Year of the Monkey Celebrations

Other Weekend fun:

Looking  for an entertainment deal this weekend? Click here for discount tickets to great events in SF. Not sure what to see? Check out the ACT hit “Satchmo at the Waldorf”: Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis Come to Life or the highly rated “The Nether” at SF Playhouse.

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