February 16 begins the Year of the Dog for all who follow the Chinese lunar calendar. That means: People born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018, it’s going to be your year! To celebrate, you should consider traveling to some of these cities across the world to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Whether it’s the Sydney Opera House going red to bring joy and luck into the new year or an incense-lighting ritual in a Shanghai temple from the year A.D. 242, there is no single best way to celebrate the Chinese New Year — it’s all amazing. From Singapore to San Francisco, there are festivals with good food, good fashion, and amazing city-wide spectacles and parades that you won’t want to miss.
So check out our gallery of the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year around the world, clean your house to get rid of unlucky spirits, cut your hair, and be sure to wish everyone a happy new year with either a “Gung hay fat choy!” or “Gong xi fa cai!”
Thailand’s biggest Chinatown is located in Bangkok. Every year the celebration is opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and the Thai-Chinese community comes together to watch the fusion of their cultures through parades and performances.
Celebrating Chinese New Year in Beijing is all about family. That means visiting loved ones, honoring ancestors, and praying in temples to gods. Most notably, people attend the Heaven-worshipping ceremony at the Temple of Heaven (a ritual since 1748). There are also long strings of carnivals across the city with parades, games, dancing, and of course food. There is also special attention paid to cleaning one’s home to get rid of any unlucky spirits, getting a new haircut, and buying new clothes all for the sake of good luck to come.
Singapore’s Chinatown hosts the International Lion Dance Competition, acrobatic carnival shows, and enormous parties with some of the best Chinese food in the world for the first 11 days of the New Year. Plus, if you’re buying new clothing for the new year, Singapore boasts some of the best shopping in Asia
Part of what makes Hong Kong so special around the New Year is Hong Kong Disneyland. The Far East location of “the happiest place on Earth” boasts a Mickey Mouse dressed in traditional Chinese attire as well as events and attractions for the holiday.
Malaysia has a thriving Chinese population, but Lunar New Year celebrations here tend to be more devout than debauched. A notable attraction is the six-tiered temple Thean Hou. Worshippers decorate altars with gorgeously intricate paper cutouts, candles, and incense for the gods and for their ancestors.
Las Vegas is known for going all out on holiday decorations, and Chinese New Year is no different. Restaurants, hotels, resorts, and even The Strip are decked out in red and gold. The city also offers events like dragon dancers and food vendors selling traditional lunar snacks like mooncakes, dumplings, and long noodles symbolizing a long life.
London is home to the world’s largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of China. There is a one-day festival across Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, and Shaftesbury Ave with traditional Chinese dancers, performers, and restaurants serving up Lunar New Year delicacies.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the oldest Chinatowns in America, and their festivities are steeped in tradition. The city’s Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade dates back to the 1860s (don’t let the name fool you). The sloping streets are lined with street fairs, traditional treats, and posters boasting the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. winner who rides a float through the area.
If you’re a tourist, Shanghai is the place to be on the Lunar New Year. The city holds a gorgeous lantern display in Yuyuan Old Town Bazaar, and you can ring bells and burn incense at temples that date back to A.D. 242!
The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge turn red in honor of the lunar celebration to bring good luck and fortune to Sydney’s Chinese population for a 17-day long festival.
There are two areas in Vancouver hosting enormous Chinese New Year celebrations, Chinatown and Richmond. Richmond is home to the second largest temple in North America and both the religious and the curious come for blessings and to light candles and incense. Chinatown has an annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner (a twist on “Gung hay fat choy,” the Happy New Year greeting in Cantonese) where those in attendance enjoy a 10-course banquet offering Chinese and other international (e.g., haggis) cuisine.