Lunar New Year 2023: Where to ring in the Year of the Rabbit in NYC

January 12, 2023

Lunar New Year, the two-week festival that celebrates the end of winter and welcomes in the spring and new beginnings, kicks off on January 22 and lasts until February 5. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, which is the fourth zodiac animal and considered the luckiest out of all 12 zodiacs. Ahead, find events across New York City that celebrate the Lunar New Year, from Chinatown’s annual parade and firecracker celebration to live performances by the New York Philharmonic and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.

Image courtesy of Peter Burka on Flickr

Chinese New Year Parade
February 12 at 1 p.m.
Hosted by Better Chinatown, Chinatown’s annual Lunar New Year Parade returns to Lower Manhattan on February 12, including traditional dragon dancing, captivating outfits, martial art performers, vendors, and much more. The parade sets off from the corner of Mott and Hester Street before traveling down to Chatham Square. The procession then heads across East Broadway and up Forsyth Street before ending at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Image courtesy of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: Lunar New Year Celebration
Albee Square, Corner of Fulton and Bond Streets
January 28 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit with a celebration in Albee Square. Scheduled events include a traditional lion dance by the esteemed Choy Lay Fut Lion Dance Team and a live DJ set by AJ the DJ. Tag @downtownpartnership on Instagram and you might just win a traditional red envelope filled with small prizes. A few of the envelopes contain gift cards to eat at some of Downtown Brooklyn’s Asian-owned restaurants.

Year of the Rabbit Community Art & Guided Winter Walk
Queens Botanical Garden, 4350 Main Street
January 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Queens Botanical Garden is inviting guests to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a guided winter walk through its sprawling, 39-acre landscape. Visitors will be able to make a mark on the garden’s community-created display and take in the area’s natural beauty. The walk is recommended for guests ages five and up. Tickets cost $8 for members and $10 for non-members. Advanced registration is required.

Image courtesy of Don Pollard

Lunar New Year Festival at The Met: The Year of the Rabbit
1000 Fifth Avenue
January 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with a Lunar New Year festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy live performances, interactive activities, and artist-led workshops for guests of all ages. Performers include the Chinese Center on Long Island’s Dance Troup and Chinese Theatre Works. All of the activities are free with museum admission, and no advanced registration is required. Admission for all New York State residents and students from NY, NJ, and CT is free with a suggested donation.

Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
January 21 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Museum of Chinese in America is hosting a month-long celebration of the Lunar New Year. The main event of MOCA Fest will take place on January 21, kicking off in MOCA’s lobby with a captivating lion dance by the United East Athletics Association lion dance troupe. The rest of the day is filled with a variety of events, including live music, arts and crafts, noodle pulling, and more. You can check out MOCA fest’s full schedule here. Admission is free and you can RSVP here.

Family Art Project: Fan for Lunar New Year at Wave Hill
Wave Hill House, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue
January 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hosted by NYC Parks, this event teaches young New Yorkers about rabbits and their significance in the Chinese zodiac. Families with then build and decorate fans inspired by the zodiac animals. The art event will be located in the Kerlin Learning Center on the lower level of the Bronx’s Wave Hill House. Registration is not required.

Lunar New Year at the Staten Island Zoo
Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway
January 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Staten Island Zoo has a hop in its step for the Lunar New Year and is starting off the Year of the Rabbit with arts and crafts, meet-and-greets featuring animals of the zodiac, and talks with zoo keepers. The celebratory events are free with zoo admission.

Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival
Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie Street and Forsyth Street
January 23 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Chinese New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival is returning to Chinatown’s Sara D. Roosevelt Park for its 25th year. Thousands of firecrackers will be set ablaze to ward off evil spirits and welcome in the Year of the Rabbit. There will also be a lion dance, decoration giveaways, craft vendors, and food booths.

Image courtesy of Pearl River Mart

Year of the Rabbit with Pearl River Mart
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue
January 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Pearl River Mart, the NYC institution that offers one-of-a-kind Asian-inspired goods, is hosting a slew of Lunar New Year events at its Chelsea Market location. On January 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Pearl River is hosting the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute Dragon and Lion Dance Team for a captivating performance of the lion dance.

After the lion dance, there will be a selection of happy hour and food specials courtesy of Pearl River Mart Foods’ vendors, including Mao’s Bao, Kimbap Lab, and Tea & Milk. The events are free to attend.

Pearl River is offering customers a friendship box for $60, a perfect gift to give someone for the Lunar New Year that includes lucky red money envelopes, a lucky charm, noisemakers to scare away evil spirits, a zodiac activity book, and more.

Image courtesy of Welcome to Chinatown

Welcome to Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Weekend Fair
East Broadway Mall, 88 East Broadway
January 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Non-profit Welcome to Chinatown is hosting a Lunar New Year fair in the East Broadway Mall. The celebration includes a selection of local vendors, workshops, a scavenger hunt, and more. The workshops will be hosted by Subtle Asian Baking, Anna Ye Tea, and Akki-Lab. Vendors include Butterboy Baking Co., Dawang, SUBLIMA Jewelry, Yu & Me Books, and many others. You can RSVP here.

Photo of the New York Philharmonic’s Lunar New Year Gala, 1/28/2020. Image courtesy of Chris Lee

New York Philharmonic: Lunar New Year Concert
David Geffen Hall, West 65th Street
January 31 at 7:30 p.m.
The New York Philharmonic is putting on a special performance to ring in the Year of the Rabbit. Violinist Ning Feng is joining the orchestra for an arrangement of Bernstein’s West Side Story suite, with erhu player Yiwen Lu leading the orchestra through a performance of Qigang Chen’s La Joie de la souffrance. Additional performances include Tan Dun’s Heart Sutra, led by vocalists Gong Linan and Hsabibagen and conducted by Long Yu. Tickets can be purchased here.

Image courtesy of Anthony Alvarez

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents Year of the Water Rabbit
Colden Auditorium, 153-49 Reeves Avenue
February 5 at 3 p.m.
Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts is hosting the world-famous Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to help ring in the Lunar New Year. In honor of Hip-Hop’s 50th year anniversary, the dance company will be performing a special rendition of the lion dance with a hip-hop rhythm. Other performances include YungGe from northern China, Peacock Dance from the southern Yunnan province, Spear Dance, and the crowd-favorite Dragon DanceTickets cost $15 plus tax and fees, and Queens College students get a 50 percent discount.

Image courtesy of The Skyscraper Museum

Global Architecture: Picturesque Pagodas
The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place
January 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Poy Gum Lee, a Chinese-American architect who has designed buildings in NYC’s Chinatown and in China, is teaching museum guests about the “Chinese Art-Deco” style that he helped popularize in the 1950s. After the lesson, kids will be able to build and decorate their own pagoda towers. The event is free and recommended for guests ages seven to 12.

Jingdong Kai conducts Bart College’s The Orchestra Now at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Image courtesy of Chris Lee

The Sound of Spring – A Chinese New Year Concert with The Orchestra Now
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, 10 Columbus Circle
January 28 at 3 p.m.
The Sound of Spring is returning for its fourth year, welcoming in the Lunar New Year with a special live musical performance. Conducted by Jindong Cai, The Orchestra Now will play through a variety of traditional and contemporary Chinese classics, including the famous Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased here.

Lunar New Year at the Seaport
January 21 at 12:30 p.m.
The Seaport is hosting a variety of Lunar New Year celebrations in partnership with the NY Chinese Cultural Center and the South Street Seaport Museum. The events kick off on January 21 outside of the Tin Building, located at 96 South Street, with a traditional lion dance. The lion dance starts at the Tin Building before traveling to the Heineken Riverdeck on Pier 17 at 89 South Street.

The Seaport will also be hosting Chinese calligraphy workshops, designed for guests ages seven to 12. Participants will be taught traditional Chinese calligraphy, including how to write characters and background on the written language’s history. Workshops will be held at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. in the South Street Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton Street. You can RSVP for the workshops here.

Image courtesy of Marion Aguas

From Chinatown, With Love
Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand Street
January 14 at 12 p.m.
The Abrons Art Center and The W.O.W. Project are celebrating the Lunar New Year for the fourth year in a row. Starting on January 14, patrons who spend $25 or more at any participating business will receive a one-page calendar, and patrons who spend $45 or more will receive a one-page calendar, and a free, limited-edition charm. Participating businesses include Kopitiam, Wen Wah Co., TLB Trading Co., EWA Trading Co., and Spongies, each which created 100 charms to bring good fortune and protection for the Lunar New Year.

“Sausage and fishball vendor” by Cindy Trinh (Flushing, New York, 2019)

Lunar New Year Photo Exhibition | This is Home
January 21 to February 26 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Hosted at Flushing Town Hall, This is Home tells the story of NYC’s Asian American Pacific Islander community through photographs. Artists featured in the collection include Janice Chung, Cindy Trinh, and An Rong Xu, who through their work shows how the AAPI community in NYC and abroad live, work, love, and stand up for what they believe in.

Flushing Town Hall also has other special events in store for the Lunar New Year, including a rabbit coloring workshop and an original “budaixi” (traditional Chinese glove-puppet) production. A full schedule of the venue’s events can be found here.

Image courtesy of The Shops at Hudson Yards

Lunar New Year at Hudson Yards
The Shops at Hudson Yards, 20 Hudson Yards
January 17 through February 6
The huge shopping center at Hudson Yards is celebrating the Lunar New Year with traditional decorations, free performances of lion dances and ribbon twirling, and a wide variety of special offers at its stores and eateries. As customers enter the first floor of the Shops at Hudson Yards, they will be greeted by traditional lanterns, wreaths, and other decorative elements that symbolize spring and new life and celebrate the Lunar New Year by driving off evil spirits. Customers who spend $188 or more on one day inside Hudson Yard’s shops and restaurants will receive a free set of bamboo chopsticks in a silk sleeve.

The performances, which are being showcased in partnership with the NY Chinese Cultural Center, will be held on January 21, 28, and February 4 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.


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