Celebrate Lunar New Year in Los Angeles

Welcome the Year of the Rat with parades, festivals, shopping and dining specials

Traditional lion dancers performing on the streets of Chinatown in Downtown LA
Traditional lion dancers in Chinatown | Photo: Ruben Chairez - Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run, Facebook

Based on the traditional Chinese calendar, Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays of the year in China, in countries with Chinese cultural influence, and in global cities with large Chinese populations like Los Angeles.

One of the most diverse cities in the world, LA celebrates the Lunar New Year with radiant parades, lively festivals and unbeatable shopping and restaurant specials. The Lunar New Year is not only a time for family gatherings, but is also a time to honor ancestors and give thanks. Lavish meals loaded with "lucky" dishes, stuffed red envelopes and thunderous firecrackers are all part of the ancient tradition.

Read on for Lunar New Year festivities and specials in Los Angeles. Xīnnián kuàilè!

Lunar New Year - Universal Studios Hollywood (Jan. 23 - Feb. 9, 2020)

Universal Studios Hollywood ushers in the Year of the Rat with the Lunar New Year celebration from Thursday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 9. This spectacular themed event will take place at Universal Plaza, located in the heart of the theme park. Under a curtain of traditional red Chinese lanterns and plum blossom Wishing Trees, the festivities will come to life as guests discover the 12 zodiac animal signs accompanied by their symbolic attributes. Lunar New Year is included with paid admission to the theme park.

The celebration will feature several character meet and greets: Po and Tigress from the Kung Fu Panda Adventure will welcome guests and pose for photos; Hello Kitty in her signature red bow and special Lunar New Year attire will meet guests at the Hello Kitty Shop inside the Animation Studio Store; Megatron from Transformers™: The Ride-3D will be speaking Mandarin while interacting with guests; and Minions from Despicable Me Minion Mayhem will entertain guests in their brightly colored traditional Lunar New Year attire.

Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop returns by popular demand to serve up delicious Asian dishes, and Mr. Ping himself will interact with guests and take souvenir photos. Guests can learn how to draw Po and take home the drawing as a keepsake memento. On select days, there will be cultural performances featuring traditional lion dances. The world-famous Studio Tour is available in Mandarin at select times throughout the day. In-language park maps are also available for guests.

Thien Hau Temple
Thien Hau Temple Interior | Photo: Grace Lennon, Dunn-Edwards Paints

Midnight Temple Ceremony - Thien Hau Temple (Jan. 24-25, 2020)

Downtown L.A.'s historic Chinatown ignites the Year of the Rat with the Midnight Temple Ceremony, taking place at Thien Hau Temple from 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Participants make offerings to deities and burn incense for good fortune, traditional lion dancers will perform, and 500,000 firecrackers will scare away evil spirits for an auspicious start to the new year.

Lunar New Year Concert - Westfield Century City (Jan. 25, 2020)

Westfield Century City is hosting a special Lunar New Year edition of its Live at The Atrium series, featuring LA-based R&B sensation Joyce Wrice, as well as performances by Justin Park, TFTI Dance Troupe, and a lion dance. $10 VIP tickets are on sale at Eventbrite and include limited seating and two soft drinks. Plus, you can present your Eventbrite ticket in-store at select retailers for discounts on purchases, special gifts, and complimentary dishes at Bibigo Kitcehn and CPK.

Now through Jan. 31, Westfield Rewards members are invited to celebrate Lunar New Year at Westfield Century City. Spend $500 in a single visit at any retailer and receive $25 credit back on your next purchase.

Chinese New Year Celebration at Cafe Sierra
Photo: Cafe Sierra, Facebook

Cafe Sierra (Jan. 24-26, 2020)

Located at the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City, Cafe Sierra offers one of the best all-you-can-eat deals in LA. The extravagant Seafood & Prime Rib Dinner Buffet features California, Continental, and Pacific Rim cuisines. On Friday-Sunday, Jan. 24-26, Cafe Sierra will feature special Chinese New Year dishes along with lion dance performances and live Chinese music. Highlights include Braised Pork Feet with Shiitake Mushrooms, Shrimp with Pork & Dried Tofu Lettuce Floss, Char Siu Beef, Soy Sauce Chicken, Roast Duck, Preserved V.G. Steam Fish, Ginger & Scallion Lobster, Walnut Shrimp, Yang Zhou Fried Rice, Roast Pig, and Malaysian Chinese New Year Salad.

The buffet is served 6pm - 10pm on Friday-Saturday, and 5pm - 9pm on Sunday. Pricing is $78 for adults and $38 for children (ages 5-10).

Beverly Center Grand Court
Grand Court | Photo: Beverly Center 

Red Envelope Promotion - Beverly Center (Jan. 25 - Feb. 29, 2020)

Partner with Chinese artist Momo Wang, creator of the famous Tuzki character on WeChat, to design a mascot and a series of WeChat stickers to celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Beverly Center. Download the commemorative stickers via the official Beverly Center WeChat account. 

Also, don't miss the Red Envelope promotion during Chinese New Year. Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 29, spend $500 or more at Beverly Center and receive a $25 gift card to Coffee Commissary, Eggslut, Marugame Udon, Tocaya Organica or Pitchoun Bakery & Café. In addition, Beverly Center WeChat followers will have the option to receive either a red envelope with a $25 gift card or red pocket currency when they shop and scan the QR code at the Concierge Desk after showing same-day receipts from any Beverly Center retailer.

Lunar New Year Celebration - The Original Farmers Market (Jan. 26, 2020)

The annual Lunar New Year Celebration at The Original Farmers Market is taking place on Sunday, January 26 from 2pm - 5pm. Festivities will include a chalk art presentation, balloon twister, dragon puppet craft station, Chinese calligraphy, lion dances, Wushu Shaolin Kung Fu demonstration, Hiza Yoo Korean fan dance, and magic by local illusionist Joseph Tran. In the afternoon, the Market Plaza will come alive with culture, movement, and "Lucky 8" specials on food and merchandise.

Korean fan dancer performs in the Lunar New Year Festival at the Port of Los Angeles
Korean fan dancer in the Lunar New Year Festival | Photo: Port of Los Angeles

Lunar New Year Festival - Port of Los Angeles (Jan. 25, 2020)

The Port of Los Angeles presents the sixth annual Lunar New Year Festival, taking place from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Located at the Cabrillo Way Marina Promenade (corner of 22nd and Miner Streets), this free community event offers cultural performances, face painting, arts & crafts, a petting zoo, and a fireworks finale. (In case of rain, the event will be moved to the Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club.)

Lunar New Year celebration at Citadel Outlets
Lunar New Year celebration | Photo: Citadel Outlets

Lunar New Year Celebration - Citadel Outlets (Jan. 25-26, 2020)

Enjoy good fortune in the Year of the Rat during the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Citadel Outlets, which is known for selling premium brands for deep discounts. From noon to 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26, live dancers and artists will perform a variety of lion dances, folk dances, traditional songs, drum ceremonies, calligraphy, brush painting and more. Now through Feb. 16, shoppers will enjoy festive red and gold lanterns, twinkling lights and an authentic pagoda decorating center court. The center will also be honoring the ancient “Red Envelope” gifting tradition by giving away red envelopes filled with gift cards and promotions at the Customer Service Center. Interested shoppers can join in the fun by saying the phrase “Xīnnián kuàilè” or “Gōngxǐ fācái” - common Mandarin phrases to greet someone “Happy New Year” - to receive a complimentary red envelope.

9th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills
9th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration at the Saban Theatre | Photo: Love Beverly Hills

9th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration - Saban Theatre (Jan. 18, 2020)

For the ninth consecutive year, Beverly Hills is hosting a Chinese New Year celebratory event. In partnership with Beijing, Tianjin and the Hebei Province, Beverly Hills will host "Happy Chinese New Year, Charming Jing-Jin-Ji” at the Saban Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 18.

The special event is divided into three parts: a variety show, a "Jing-Jin-Ji" photo exhibition, and a cultural heritage crafts display and demonstration. The variety show features performance groups from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei with Chinese acrobatics, martial arts, traditional dance, Beijing Opera and more.

For Chinese New Year hotel packages and restaurant specials, visit Love Beverly Hills.

Lunar New Year Santa Monica Place
Fan dancers in Lunar New Year Celebration | Photo: Santa Monica Place, Facebook 

Celebrate Lunar New Year - Santa Monica Place (Jan. 25, 2020)

Ring in the Lunar New Year at Santa Monica Place, an outdoor contemporary mall lined with palm trees located just steps from the Pacific. Taking place at the Center Plaza from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 25, the celebration includes performances by traditional Chinese lion dancers, Korean fan dancers and stilt walkers, as well as arts & crafts, wishing trees and special offers from participating stores and restaurants. There will also be a dough artist and balloon twister.

Lunar New Year Festival at USC Pacific Asia Museum
Lunar New Year Festival | Photo: USC Pacific Asia Museum, Facebook

Lunar New Year Festival - USC Pacific Asia Museum (Jan. 25, 2020)

One of the few U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, the USC Pacific Asia Museum presents the annual Lunar New Year Festival from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. There will be free admission to the galleries, performances, artmaking workshops and more. Performances include music, dances, acrobatics and martial arts. Housed in a Chinese Qing dynasty-inspired mansion, the museum has a collection of more than 15,000 items spanning over 5,000 years.

Chuan Spa at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
Chuan Spa | Photo: The Langham Huntington, Pasadena

Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea & Chuan Yu Facial - The Langham (Jan. 22-28 & Jan. 25 - Feb. 8, 2020)

The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles is celebrating Lunar New Year with a special Afternoon Tea and Chuan Yu Facial. From Jan. 22-28, enjoy Lunar New Year Tea in the Lobby Lounge, featuring an assortment of sandwiches including Tea-Smoked Deviled Egg, Sesame Ginger Shrimp, Chinese Crab Salad and Crispy Pork Belly, scones with Devonshire Cream, and desserts including Yuzu Meringue Tart, Matcha Green Tea Donut, Lychee Layered Gateau and Toasted Golden Sesame Seed Mandarin Macaron. Select from a variety of teas such as The Langham Blend, a sophisticated twist on a classic English Breakfast; and Palm Court Blend, an exclusive and unique blend of the finest quality Chinese white tea, hibiscus flowers, rosehip and pink rose petals. Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea is available for $75 per person and includes one glass of sparkling wine. For reservations, call (626) 585-6218.

The Langham's Chuan Spa offers treatments rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This Lunar New Year, experience the Chuan Yu Facial featuring Gua Sha (Jan. 25 - Feb. 8), which utilizes healing jade stone to nurture, heal and restore the skin through stimulation on important meridian points and increasing the flow of body circulation. Pricing is $240 (including 20% discount). Call (626) 585-6414 to book your treatment.

Main image for guide_item titled
Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown | Photo courtesy of Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles

121st Annual Golden Dragon Parade (Feb. 1, 2020)

The highlight of Downtown L.A.’s Chinese New Year festivities is the 121st Annual Golden Dragon Parade, taking place from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. Each year, more than 110,000 spectators line the route to view the parade, which features dozens of floats, marching bands, entertainers, local business leaders and cultural groups. The parade starts at Hill and Ord streets and concludes at Broadway and Cesar Chavez. Previous Grand Marshals include everyone from legendary martial arts actor Bruce Lee to Star Trek's Garrett Wang. The Golden Dragon Parade is the oldest celebration of its kind in the United States.

Chinese New Year Lion Dance
Chinese New Year Lion Dance | Photo: Kevin Wong, Flick

Chinese New Year Festival - Chinatown (Feb. 1, 2020)

The annual Chinese New Year Festival is taking place at the Central Plaza in Chinatown from noon to 8 p.m. on Feb. 1. The free, family-friendly event features live music and cultural performances, cultural artisans, vendors, gourmet food trucks and a movie screening.

Lion dancers at the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival
Lion dancers | Photo: Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival

Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival (Feb. 1, 2020)

Now in its 29th year, the Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival is taking place from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. The free festival will take over five city blocks on Valley Boulevard between Almansor and Vega Streets. There will be 250 booths, including activities like a dragon boat rowing station, an auto square, children's workshops, a health fair and cultural demos. Entertainment stages will feature lion dances, kung fu and other cultural performances. The God of Fortune will give out traditional Chinese red envelopes to bring good luck in the new year.

Lunar New Year Community Event - Westfield Santa Anita (Feb. 1, 2020)

Westfield Santa Anita is hosting several Lunar New Year events and specials. From Jan. 15-26, Wing Hop Fung is offering Lunar New Year Specials: select ginseng, buy one get one free; 20% off select tea, honey, and dried sea cucumber; and $200 off select Bird's Nest.

On Saturday, Jan. 18, Nordstrom is hosting special lion dance performances by the Ane Thanh Lion Dance Troupe on Level 1.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Westfield Santa Anita presents the annual Lunar New Year Community Event from 3pm - 6pm. Highlights include traditional lion dances, live performances, candy spinning, games, raffles, calligraphy demos, retailer offers and more. The event is free and 100% of proceeds from the raffles will benefit the Asian Pacific Community Fund.

On Feb. 1-2, Sunmerry Bakery Cafe is giving away free items and a chance to win an Apple iPad to anyone who spends $15 or more. Draw a lucky red envelope at checkout.

Chinese New Year Festival - The Huntington Library (Feb. 1, 2020)

Renowned for its world-class collections and lush landscaping, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, welcomes the Year of the Rat at the annual Chinese New Year Festival, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. The festivities include lion dancers, mask-changing performances, martial arts demos, traditional Chinese music and dance, children's activities, and demonstrations of calligraphy, painting and floral arts.

The festivities will take place in and around the Chinese Garden - considered one of the largest such gardens outside of China - and other performance spaces. All activities are included with general admission.

Bruce Lee statue in Chinatown's Central Plaza
Bruce Lee statue in Chinatown's Central Plaza | Photo: @yagoddamnright, Instagram

CityRace: The Great Chinatown Hunt (Feb. 2, 2020)

Ring in the Year of the Rat with an exciting clue-solving adventure in Chinatown! Presented by CityRace on Sunday, Feb. 2, the Great Chinatown Hunt will uncover ancient traditions, ornate temples, bustling shops and hidden courtyards in one of LA’s most colorful and historic districts. The race starts at 11 a.m. and is priced at $35 per person.

Chinese New Year Night Market - Nest at WP24 (Feb. 7, 2020)

Situated 24 floors above Downtown LA at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, Nest at WP24 is a modern lounge featuring the acclaimed Asian cuisine of legendary chef Wolfgang Puck. On Friday, Feb.7, Nest at WP24 presents the annual Chinese New Year Night Market from 6:30pm - 9:30pm. The Night Market features interactive food stations with traditional Chinese holiday dishes, Lion Dancers, and a lively street market atmosphere. Signature dishes include squid ink shrimp steamed dumplings, roasted Peking duck with golden pineapple, scallions, and sesame bao buns; and a mochi waffle dessert. The immersive experience includes traditional Chinese tea ceremonies, Chinese calligraphy, and a red envelope giveaway. Tickets are available at Tock and priced at $89 per person for General Admission, which does not include a table reservation - limited lounge seating and high standing tables are available. Table reservation and VIP table is priced at $119/person and includes a welcome beverage and giveaway for each guest.

San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival
Fan dancers | Photo: San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival, Facebook

San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival (Feb. 8, 2020)

The San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival, to take place in the the city's historic Mission District, combines tradition with modern celebrations, resulting in a unique festival that is enjoyable for all. The festival starts from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8, consisting of a Street Food Fair, Marketplace, Chalk Art Contest, and Kids Zone!

Traditional lion dancers performing on the streets of Chinatown in Downtown LA
Traditional lion dancers in Chinatown | Photo: Ruben Chairez - Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker Run, Facebook

L.A. Chinatown Firecracker (Feb. 15-16, 2020)

The Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5/10K Run/Walk is the largest and longest-running Lunar New Year charity run in the United States. The 42nd Annual Firecracker is taking place the weekend of Feb. 15-16. Registration is now open for all ages.

Established in 1978, Firecracker has since grown to include a Bike Ride, Kiddie Run and PAW’er Dog Walk. The event serves greater Los Angeles with support from the City of Los Angeles. All proceeds are reinvested into the community, in support of elementary schools and non-profit organizations, providing services and programs that benefit local neighborhoods.

Main image for guide_item titled
Dragon dancing during Chinese New Year | Photo courtesy of Chinese American Museum

Lantern Festival - Chinese American Museum (March 7, 2020)

Located in the oldest and last surviving structure of L.A.’s original Chinatown, the Chinese American Museum (CAM) is the first museum in Southern California dedicated to the Chinese American experience. The 19th annual Lantern Festival, which is free to the public and one of the museum’s signature events, takes place from noon to 5 p.m. on March 7. There will be a wide range of hands-on arts and crafts and live entertainment, including martial artists, acrobats and magicians, as well as a grand finale act by a lighted dragon.