2017 Lunar New Year Events in San Diego

An always up-to-date list of Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year events in San Diego.

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San Diego is home to several significant Lunar New Year events that are worth attending for those who would like to celebrate Year of the Rooster.

Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year if you are of Chinese heritage) is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Tibet and by the many emigrants all over the world from these countries. The date is based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which this year is January 28, 2017.

The holiday is incredibly important in our home as my Hong Kong-born daughter self-identifies as Chinese. It is by far the most important celebration in China, lasting 15 days, though typically only three are public holidays.

Without further ado, here is a list of Lunar New Year events in San Diego.

Jasmine Seafood’s Lunar New Year Charity Gala

Jasmine Seafood’s Lunar New Year Charity Gala is a multi-cultural event that will feature Chinese “firecrackers”, lucky lion dancers, Pan-Asian New Year Banquet Dinner, live entertainment, and silent auction and opportunity drawings.

  • 5:30 p.m. networking mixer/6:45 p.m. program start
  • Jasmine Seafood Restaurant
  • $50 per person /$450 per table with priority seating

Proceeds will support the education of underprivileged children in San Diego and in the remote villages of China and Vietnam and additional San Diego United Lions Club charitable projects.

Lion Dances at Jasmine Seafood Restaurant

In addition to the gala above, Jasmine Seafood Restaurant will host lion dances for guest entertainment in the dining hall. The lion dances will happen:

  • 1/28/17: 10:30 am and 6:30 pm
  • 1/29/17: 10:30 am and 6:30 pm
  • 2/4/17: 10:30 am and 6:30 pm
  • 2/5/17: 10:30 am only

Food service stops during the 10-15 minute performances so be sure to order plenty of dim sum and other delicious dishes from the carts before the show starts.

Annual San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair

This celebration hosted by the San Diego Chinese Center spans two days and includes a children’s craft area where they’ll have the opportunity to make lanterns before the dragon parade. Shop for Chinese handicrafts, wear your favorite qi pao or other Chinese wear, eat tons of Asian food and enjoy live entertainment ranging from acrobats to traditional Chinese music performances. We spent about an hour or at the San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair last year. My daughter enjoyed the 11-person dragon and eating some classic Chinese street food from the various vendors. It’s a very well-done event sponsored by 50 local, high profile organizations.

  • Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12
  • 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., rain or shine
  • Third Avenue and J Street
  • Free admission

Lunar New Year Tết Festival at Qualcomm

Presented by the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation, the Lunar New Year Tet Festival will feature lion dances throughout the day, carnival rides, lots and lots of Asian food, martial arts, a pageant contest, an Asian cultural village and much more. The fact that it’s at Qualcomm should give you an idea regarding the festival’s massive size and offerings.

  • Friday, January 20 – Sunday, January 22
  • Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
  • Qualcomm Stadium
  • Ticket prices: $4-$5 for entry plus additional costs for food, drink and carnival rides. Parking is free. Kids ages 2 and under are free.

Annual San Diego Tết Festival

This annual Tết festival will host several competitions including a Step Up dance competition, a Golden Voice competition and the opportunity for kids to share their knowledge about Vietnamese culture. Guests can also look forward to a variety of Vietnamese food, carnival rides and games, firecrackers, an authentic monkey bridge and lion dances.

  • Friday, January 27 – Sunday, January  29
  • Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Mira Mesa Community Park
  • Free to enter

Lunar New Year at SeaWorld San Diego

Celebrate Lunar New Year at SeaWorld San Diego. Enjoy Chinese acrobats of Hebei province inside Mission Bay Theater and lion dancers while taking in the beautiful scenery and décor. Fill your appetite with Asian-inspired food and drinks. Each guest will also receive a hong bao envelope with a surprise inside at select times.

  • Select dates between January 28 – February 20
  • Check the calendar for event times
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  • Free with admission

A Dragon’s Tale: Chinese New Year Performance for Families

Come to the La Jolla Library to learn about the Chinese zodiac and the significance of the dragon. A dragon dance will be performed by the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. Kids will also receive a hong bao envelope to celebrate Year of the Rooster.

  • Friday, January 27
  • 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • La Jolla/Riford Library
  • Free

How do you celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego? If there are activities that I’ve missed, please leave them in the comments. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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2 Comments

  1. January 31, 2015 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    If you want to build a deeper understanding of Chinese New Year traditions, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is offering several exciting exhibits that are fun and informative for the whole family. In the Sun Yat-Sen Extension building, Chris Lowe has installed an exhibit about how to build and refurbish the lion heads used in the traditional New Year’s lion dance. You can see the lions dancing during the Chinese New Year Festival on the street outside, then step inside and see how the costumes are made. The exhibit also includes exquisite hand-painted paper cut-outs of festive New Year designs and traditional Chinese New Year Prints. In the Chuang Archive and Learning Center, you can say goodbye to the Year of the Horse with Jack Liang’s Spirit of the Celestial Horse: Forging Chinese Painting into a New Frontier, an exhibit that puts a new twist on traditional Chinese painting. All of these exhibits are on display now until the end of February and are included in the museum’s regular $2 admission, free for children 12 and under.

    • February 12, 2015 at 10:23 am — Reply

      Thanks so much for letting me know! Sounds like a great event. I’ll add it to the list above.

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