Who let the dogs out?! According to the Chinese Zodiac cycle, 2018 will be the Year of the Dog, and (as any aficionado of Eastern horoscopes knows) that means anyone whose animal sign is also a dog is predicted to have a good yet exhausting year.
Along with the rotating between the twelve different animal zodiacs, the Chinese New Year also ushers in a time for family, fireworks, and, of course, amazing food. In mainland China from February 15th to February 21st, nearly three billion folks will hit the sky, rails, and roads to flock from their urban apartments back to their families in the country — causing huge delays and travel headaches that we see every year around that time.
If you’re looking to get all of the fun without any of the headaches, you should check out the Chinese New Year celebrations across the world — whose huge blowouts leave nothing to be desired (but a lot to be consumed… namely dumplings). Complete with spectacular firework displays, extravagant parades and live music, these parties around the world will give you much more than just a taste of the traditional Chinese New Year festivities.
From the historic Chinatown district to Richmond, the celebration spreads the effervescent joy of the holiday throughout the city. And don’t think that Canada skimps on anything — they go way beyond your traditional parades, lantern lightings, and delicious food. Richmond is reminiscent of bustling Beijing, its massive shopping centers steal the show with unique offerings like fresh markets and cultural events happening throughout the holiday. Add a little bit of Vancouver flair — like its 10-course Chinese banquet — and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable Chinese New Year lined up. The parade takes place on February 18th this year.
San Francisco, California
One of the oldest celebrations outside of Asia, San Franciscans take distinct pride in their lush festivities. It began in the 1860s when the robust population wanted to share their celebration with their fellow Americans who had never seen a Chinese New Year before. Fast forward to the present where a nighttime parade lights up the San Francisco streets, over a million people crowd the city to experience the spectacle, and a huge 268-foot dragon snakes through the hilly town — much to every spectator’s delight. If you have the chance, don’t miss out on this holiday in San Fran! The parade takes place on February 24th this year.
New York, New York
It should come as no surprise that New York City, a place with a penchant for large and flashy extravaganzas, makes this list. With THREE separate parades, multiple days of festivities, and free walking tours of Chinatown, New York may be the best place to celebrate the holiday outside of China. Two of the parades are in Manhattan while the Lunar New Year Parade takes place in Flushing, Queens — where the majority of the Chinese-American population resides in the city. Each celebration offers amazing fireworks displays and fantastic food, so you really can’t go wrong. The festivities take place on February 16th and February 25th this year.
It seems like every city is claiming to be the biggest party outside of Asia — but the London celebration actually is. Held for just one day, the entire city seems to be painted red — papered with delicate Chinese lanterns and alight with the excited thoroughfare of party-goers. This makes sense, seeing as how there are parades and cultural events going full-speed in three different parts of the sprawling town. Word has it, London is the best in terms of offering authentic Chinese food, so if you’re looking to get in on that action, make sure to reserve your place at any of the city’s many fabulous Chinese eateries. The festivities take place on February 18th this year.
The Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney are world-renowned for being one of the largest in the world. Race boats in Cockle Bay and take delight in the street performers and local businesses that set up extra festive decorations for the duration of the holiday. Quirky features of the Sydney celebration include karaoke competitions, martial arts demonstrations, and the city’s signature event: the twilight parade. The festivities take place for the entire duration of the new year celebrations. The festivities take place on February 16th to March 4th this year.
Marina Bay, Singapore
Most people say that the best part about celebrating the Chinese New Year in Singapore is the amazing mixture of old traditions with new ones. Perhaps the most popular place to celebrate is along the River Hongbao in Marina Bay. Here visitors and locals alike can partake in the festivities: from the parade that snakes through the crowded streets to the magical night of lantern lighting, Singapore is a great place to spend the new year without any travel hiccups. The party takes place from the 14th to the 24th of February.
We know, we know — Paris isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you talk about gaudy festivals and lit-up nights… Oh, wait. This one kind of makes sense. Floats parade through the streets, much to the delight of both locals and tourists alike, as they take their turn to revel in the excitement of the holiday. But locals have a leg up — because they know about the two ancient Buddhist temples tucked away in the city’s 13th arrondissement. This is the best place to head for a quieter and more traditional celebration, where food and crafts abound. The festivities take place on February 16th this year.
Boston lays claim to the third-largest Chinese New Year celebration in the USA and, luckily for tourists, the city’s Chinatown is centrally located and easy to access from major landmarks within the city. Of course, there is the traditional parade that features dancing, singing, and a giant dragon — but perhaps more unique are the many food tours that are offered of Chinatown. Have a taste of the area’s markets and best restaurants led by a knowledgeable guide before catching the stunning parade and tons of firecrackers that are sure to go off at the end. The festivities take place on February 25th this year.
Los Angeles, California
One of the biggest celebrations in the USA, Los Angeles goes big when it comes to the Chinese New Year. Kicked off at midnight on the eve of the New Year, visitors can receive a blessing from the Buddhist temple and watch as thousands of fireworks erupt above them and sparklers light up around them. Plus, visitors to the theme parks in the area will be treated to festively decorated parks — the city’s Chinatown even hosts events in the parks to bring an authentic flair to the festivities. The date for this year’s parade is February 17th.
Have you been to any other cities to celebrate Chinese New Year? Let us know in the comments below!