Lunar New Year begins Jan. 28, kicking off the year of the rooster. The holiday is observed in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, but a number of U.S. destinations from New York to Las Vegas also host celebrations. Events include parades featuring lion dancers, special holiday menus at Asian restaurants, cultural festivals and more.
Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, hosts a Lunar New Year celebration from Jan. 20 through Feb. 5. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will be costumed for the occasion, greeting guests and offering photo opportunities alongside other Disney characters like Mulan and Mulan's dragon sidekick Mushu.
Live performances at Disney California Adventure will include Chinese acrobats, dancers and musicians in colorful costumes, activities and crafts themed on the holiday and three new marketplaces offering food inspired by Asian cuisine. A new short feature called "Hurry Home" will be shown each night prior to the "World of Color" show, telling the story of a little lantern on a journey home for Lunar New Year, using projected animation, lighting, special effects and fountains. The park will also be decorated with lanterns and banners wishing guests a happy Lunar New Year in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Details at http://www.Disneyland.com/LunarNewYear.
In New York City, visitors have three Chinatowns to explore: one in downtown Manhattan, one in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn and one in Flushing, Queens. Check out the restaurants, food markets and shops selling everything from housewares to souvenirs. In Manhattan, holiday events include a Jan. 28 firecracker ceremony and cultural festival in Sara D. Roosevelt Park and a Feb. 5 Lunar New Year parade kicking off at 1 p.m., http://www.nycgo.com/events/lunar-new-year-parade-festival. There's also a parade and festival in Flushing on Feb. 4.
San Francisco has been celebrating Lunar New Year with a parade that dates back to the 1860s. This year's event rolls the evening of Feb. 11 with acrobats, lion dancers, floats and a 268-foot dragon, kicking off at Second and Market streets. Other events include a flower market fair, Jan. 21-22, and a Feb. 19 5K/10K run-walk.
In Las Vegas, Jan. 28 is the kickoff for a 15-day celebration at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, a new resort themed on Asian culture. Elsewhere in Las Vegas, at The LINQ Promenade, a four-day festival is scheduled for Jan. 27-30 including dragon dances at 6 p.m. nightly on the Fountain Stage. A Jan. 27-29 "Chinese New Year in the Desert" event includes performances, a parade on Fremont Street, a party at Downtown Container Park and the DragonFest Benefit Concert at The LINQ Theater.
Other Las Vegas venues hosting lion and dragon dances, parades, performances and more include the Cosmopolitan, ARIA Resort & Casino, The Palazzo Las Vegas and The Venetian Las Vegas, MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Palms Casino Resort and the Bellagio and Palace Station. The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at Bellagio will host a display that includes incense, red lanterns and a rooster perched atop a mountain. The Palazzo's Waterfall Atrium and Gardens will host a 15-foot, crystal-covered rooster and an 18-foot dragon. In addition, many restaurants offer holiday menus.
Lunar New Year parades also will be held in Washington, D.C., Jan. 29; Chicago, Feb. 5; and Orlando, Florida, Feb. 11.