February has finally arrived and with it comes the most famous Chinese holiday: the Lunar New Year. On February 16, we’re celebrating the Year of the Dog — the 11th animal of the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac.
On the days leading up to and following the holiday, worldwide celebrations will take place with traditional lion dances, red envelopes and firecrackers. If you plan on joining in on the festivities, check out our Untapped guide, filled with quirky activities to enjoy Chinese New Year in New York City:
10. Go to One of the 10 Best Chinese Eateries in the City
New York City is known for its thriving food culture, which is as diverse as it is innovative. With so many excellent places to explore, it can be hard to narrow down your options. That’s why we created a handy guide to some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city, where you can ring in the New Year properly.
From quintessential hole-in-the-wall establishments to mouthwatering dim sum experiences, chow down on some of the most authentic dishes ranging from steamed dumplings to fresh seafood — all made by culinary experts all over New York.
9. Go to a Chinese New Year Gala With the New York Philharmonic
On February 20, you can celebrate the Chinese New Year with the New York Philharmonic. The event starts at 7:30pm, where you’ll listen to Beethoven’s grand Choral Fantasy with 13-year-old pianist Serena Wang and the Farmers’ Chorus of the Yunnan Province, farmers from the mountains of southern China, appearing outside of the country for the first time ever. The New York Philharmonic will also “play” Ricochet, which includes ping pong champions, violin, and percussion.
If you want to extend your visit, another option is the evening gala that includes not only the concert, but also a pre-concert reception and a post-concert seated dinner with the artists. You can find more information here.
8. The MET Celebrates Chinese New Year
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating the Year of the Dog with a line up of events that includes performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops for all ages. It all takes place from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, February 24.
The schedule, which includes more than 20 different activities, offers unique opportunities to participate in a bubble tea gathering, a bilingual storytelling event and a drum and fan dance workshop. Check out what’s on the calendar by visiting the MET Museum website, where you can see when and in which rooms the events will be held.
7. Make a Chinese Lantern and Enjoy a Ribbon Dance Performance
This year, the Museum of the City of New York will offer a traditional Ribbon Dance performance, hosted by the New York Chinese Cultural Center and Dance China New York. A lantern-making activity will also be taking place, where visitors can learn about the holiday and its various traditions.
The performance starts at 1pm on February 16, and is free with admission to the Museum (snacks will also be offered). Head to the MCNY’s website for more information.
6. Go to a Dumpling Making Workshop
Photo by Michelle Young/Untapped Cities
One of the most traditional and adored Chinese foods is dumplings. In New York City, there are countless of restaurants that specialize in the dish (some of which are included in our aforementioned list). But why not try your hand at learning how to make your own?
The China Institute in New York is hosting a Chinese New Year Family Festival on Sunday, February 25, and one of the activities it’s offering is a Dumpling Making Workshop. You can register online to participate. You might also want to check out the first annual New York Go Expo and competition, where nine teams will battle it out to conquer the classic Chinese strategy board game. The event is free, and attendees can play practice games, attend lectures and learn game playing skills.
5. Learn About the Lucky Plants of the Chinese New Year
Starting at 12pm on Saturday, February 17, the Queens Botanical Garden will be hosting various craft activities and performances. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the “Lucky Plants” of Lunar New Year, from chrysanthemums to jade plants.
There will also be a sale, where you can buy your own plant to welcome in the next year with the best energy. The event is free and you can find more information on the NYC Parks’ website.
4. Chinatown Celebrates Chinese New Year
For a more traditional Chinese New Year celebration, participate in the various parades taking place across the city. One of the largest, held on February 25 from 1pm to 4:30pm, winds through the main streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. Nearby, in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, you can watch more than 600,000 firecrackers lighting off in celebration of the Year of the Dog!
Similar festivities will also take place in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; Flushing, Queens and from Madison Street to Madison Avenue, inviting hordes of people and vendors to gather on the streets of New York City.
3. Make a Traditional Chinese New Year Meal
If you want to skip the crowd, here’s what you can do: cook a traditional Chinese New Year meal for your family and friends. Los Angeles-based indoor farm company, The Local Roots, is offering an eco-friendly Chinese New Year edition of its Dinner Party Kit, which comes with fresh ingredients to prepare a hearty meal.
Within this kit, you’ll have everything you need to prepare Soy Sauce Chicken and Tea Eggs, as well as family recipes from the founder (complete with explanations about the symbolism of the dishes), and a red envelope with $5 in Local Roots dollars.
2. Enjoy Chinese New Year at MoMA PS1
Long Island City’s MoMA PS1 is hosting a one-of-a-kind celebratory event on February 9 at 8pm. Hosted in conjunction with New York City’s “roving dance party,” Bubble_T, Night at the Museum: Lunar New Year will offer art, music and food — all in one place.
The night’s festivities include live performances, DJs, art installations and a variety of cocktails and snacks. While there, you can also explore the MoMA PS1’s current exhibitions with thematic drinks, food by M. Wells, projections of firework events by artist Cai Guo-Qiang in the VW Dome, and much more. For more information and to purchase your tickets, click here.
1. See Gillie and Marc’s New Artwork
#GoodFortuneDog by Gillie and Marc Art is coming to Chinatown. The sculpture, which features Dogman holding a red apple, will be on view from February 15 to January 2019.
“In honour of Year of the Dog, we’ve created this brand new sculpture to help bring good fortune to all of Melbourne and New York this Chinese New Year!,” Gillie and Marc Art write on their Facebook page. “…The word for Apple in Chinese is ‘ping’ — which is also the word for peace! In the face of last year’s unstable global landscape, we created Dogman holding an apple to spread the message of diversity and acceptance for all beings, and inspire the pursuit of a better world.”
Next, check out 5 Alleys and Small Streets in Chinatown That Tell the Neighborhood’s Vibrant History and see photos of a past Chinese New Year parade in Paris.