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Chinese New Year Parade- Golden Dragon
Golden Dragon- Photo by Brian Sorensen
Dragon picture by Dave Pacheco
Chinese New Year Parade- Photo by Dave Pacheco
Chinese New Year Parade Dragons in Union Square, San Francisco
Chinese New Year Dragons- Photo by Brian Serensen
Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, San Francisco
Chinese New Year Parade- Photo by Dave Pacheco
February 12, 2016

The Ultimate Chinese New Year Parade Itinerary

One of our favorite events of the year, the annual Chinese New Year Parade is coming to Union Square and Chinatown here in San Francisco on February 20th. Here’s our guide to making the most of this spectacular event.  

Parade Night

Get ready for Chinese lion dancers, acrobats, martial arts groups, stilt walkers and the star of the show – a 268 foot long Golden Dragon named Gum Lung, carried by 100 people and sporting rainbow-colored pom-poms, lights and even some rabbit fur. This parade is the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia, so you’re sure to be wowed.

Of course, we recommend you grab a spot along Post St. in Union Square if you can, but be sure to arrive early as these spaces fill up fast! Plus, the sidewalks across from the park located in front of Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and Williams Sonoma are pretty wide. The parade route turns up Powell St. then right on Sutter St. and up Kearny to Chinatown. There are tons of primo spots where you can catch all the action, so if you strike out in one place, you can always keep moving until you find the perfect spot to watch. Looking for the best seats?, You can also purchase bleacher seats on the Chinese New Year Parade website.

Where to Eat & Stay

E&O Kitchen and Bar  is celebrating Lunar New Year with fresh takes on traditional Chinese dishes paired with Year of the Monkey-themed drinks. Indulge in Long Life noodles, steamed buns, and whole crispy fish paired with a Brass Monkey cocktail. Even better, catch Chinese lion dancers doing their thing and receive special red envelope deals on the night of the parade. 

Over at M.Y. China, you can enjoy Grandma Wu's Chinese New Year Family Dinner, inspired by Chef Tony Wu's own family. Savor eight courses of traditional family goodness like Good Luck Soup, Happy Opportunity Fried Chicken and Long Life BBQ Pork. M.Y. China will also be sharing “words of wisdom” from their grandparents and family members on social media.

For a high-end experience in a sleek restaurant try the special Chinese New Year menu at Hakkasan San Francisco. Try Chef Ho Chee Boon’s signature menu inspired by the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees in Hong Kong. Dishes include diced wagyu beef, wok-fry lobster in spicy truffle sauce and roasted Chilean seabass with Chinese honey. They will also be giving away red envelopes containing money to all guests!

We know you’ll want to stay the night after such an exciting day, so take advantage of the Westin St. Francis’ Chinese New Year package. You’ll get two bleacher seats to the parade, and complimentary overnight parking while The Oak Room Restaurant will be serving a three-course dinner featuring Dungeness crab chowder, prime rib and St. Francis cheesecake for desert.

If you can’t make to the parade in person, be sure to follow #SFCNYParade on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or you can catch the live broadcast on KTVU Fox 2 or KTSF 26 (Chinese broadcast).