There are few better places to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the United States than in New York City. Before you find yourself completely buried in assignments from your new classes, set aside some time in the next two weeks to ring in the Year of the Rooster.
Attend the Big Parade
To experience the best that the Lunar New Year celebration offers, check out the Annual Lunar New Year Parade and Festival in Chinatown on Feb. 5. Starting at the intersection of Canal St. and Mott St., the celebration parades south with traditional dragon dances, elaborate floats and vendors selling a wide array of Chinese dishes. The festival officially begins at noon, but get there early to secure a good spot for the 1 p.m. parade kick off.
Get a Crash Course in Chinese Culture at the Met
The Metropolitan Museum’s Lunar New Year Festival is the perfect event for students who want to spend the holiday learning more about Chinese culture. Beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5, the festival features a Chinese opera performance, a hand-pulled noodle demonstration, paper folding and drawing stations, a tea gathering and numerous art galleries. Best of all, the festivities are free with a donation for admission to the museum.
Enjoy Music and Dance at Brookfield Place
If the performing arts are more your style, don’t miss the Lunar New Year performance at Brookfield Place on Feb. 6. Hosted in conjunction with the New York Chinese Cultural Center, the performance will start with a lion parade at 1:30 p.m. and end with theatrical plays, a martial arts demonstration and music performances. This free event is the perfect way to get your fill of musical shows without a hefty price tag.
Indulge in a Traditional Feast
This year, skip pricey menus and try something simpler for your New Year’s dinner. Stop by your favorite dumpling place to sample unique New Year’s flavors this weekend, pick up a cheap bag of frozen dumplings at Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown or make your own at the Museum of Chinese in America’s dumpling making workshop on Feb. 4th. Student tickets are $35, but the price includes a copy of the “Pocket Chinese Almanac.”
Ring in the Year of the Rooster at Prospect Park Zoo
If you don’t want to celebrate with a traditional party, you may enjoy the smaller celebration at Prospect Park Zoo. Reserve an $8 ticket online and show your confirmation email at the gate to enjoy a self-guided scavenger hunt, complimentary fortune cookies and the zoo’s regular exhibits — be sure not to miss the sea lions and the red pandas!
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 30 print edition. Email Taylor Nicole Rogers at [email protected]