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January 25th, 2018

What to Expect at the Chinese New Year Parade in SF

Travel Tips

The parade celebrating the Lunar New Year is a SF Chinatown tradition that dates back to the 1850s. The nighttime illuminated-procession of fire dancers, fireworks, acrobats and dragons garners international attention. 

This Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16, but the Chinatown parade will be held the next Saturday, Feb. 24, from 6-8 p.m.. It’s the zodiac year of the dog, a symbol of loyalty and honesty.  

Stanford Court Hotel is located in Nob Hill, just a walk from Chinatown. We’re excited to offer guests a Chinese New Year Package to celebrate. If this is your first time ringing in the Chinese New Year in SF, here’s a low-down as to what to expect for this year’s celebration.

Crowds

Hundreds of thousands of attendees pour into SF annually to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This year should be no different. The good news is, the parade is about 2 hours long and there’s the route generally accommodates such an attendance. Check out Fog City Secret’s blog post on where to find the best spot along the route.

The parade website suggests attendees arrive at 4:30 to snag a spot along the parade route. See route info here.

Port-a-potties will be set up along the parade route. Also, it’s strongly suggested to use public transit or walk. Street closures and heavy foot traffic will make traffic in that part of the city at a standstill on the evening of Feb. 24.

Fireworks

Firecrackers are an essential part of this parade, so if you’re sensitive to the noise or traveling with a little one, bring ear plugs. A reported 600,000 firecrackers are typically used during the celebration.

Miss Chinatown

Keep an eye out for Miss Chinatown USA. The pageant queen will be part of the parade, and she and her court will be ambassadors for the Chinese community throughout the new year.

Golden Dragon

Gum Lung, or Golden Dragon, is a 250+ foot-long dragon manned by at least 100 people. The Golden Dragon signals the end of the parade and travels through the street at an impressive speed.

 Aside from the parade, other festival events will also be held throughout February. The Flower Market Fair will be held Feb. 10-11, and is the place to purchase flowers, fruits, candies and other supplies traditionally sought to prepare the home for the new year. There will also be folk dancing, opera, acrobatics and martial arts performances along with 120+ booths.

The Community Street Fair will be held Feb. 24-25 in Chinatown. More info here.

Mini parades, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and basketball jamborees are also part of the celebrations and shows the real heart of the Chinese-American community in Chinatown. Check out the details on the event page.

Gung hay fat choy!

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Planning a trip to SF? Check out our special package for the 2018 Chinese New Year.

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