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The Lunar New Year—also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival—is full of traditions. It honors deities and ancestors, and brings families together for a special meal known as the Reunion Dinner. Also, each year gets named for one of the 12 animals featured in the Chinese zodiac (2017 is all about the Year of the Rooster). Here are eight cities where you can join in the Lunar New Year festivities.

RELATED: Where your zodiac sign says you should travel this year

 

Credit: GBCVB

Photo courtesy of GBCVB

Boston
As the only historic Chinatown surviving in New England, this Beantown neighborhood has a thriving commercial, cultural and community feel. It also puts on a massive Chinese New Year celebration with lion dances and traditional musical performances. Year-round, this locale has enough to keep visitors engaged: restaurants, bakeries, markets, herbal shops and the tranquility of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway’s Chinatown Park. Other picks include Hong Kong Eatery, with standard Chinese fare at steady prices, and Winsor Dim Sum Café’s made-to-order service. Admirers of Asian arts and crafts will happily browse through Essex Corner.

Where to Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Boston – Downtown

 

Lunar New Year Parade, Chinatown, Manhattan Credit: NYC & Company

Lunar New Year Parade, Chinatown, Manhattan | Photo courtesy of NYC & Company

New York City
In Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, the Lunar New Year comes in with a bang, with a New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. A few days later, the Lunar New Year Parade & Festival happens along Chinatown’s main streets. Afterwards, go for dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, or Sichuan at 456 Shanghai Cuisine, or Cantonese at Great N.Y. Noodletown. As for shopping, Canal Street is lined with small stores selling “designer” goods. Instead, wander along Mott Street and buy teas from Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Co. and Asian treats at Aji Ichiban. Further your experience by heading out to Brooklyn’s Sunset Park or Flushing, Queens.

Where to Stay: In Manhattan, Wyndham Garden Chinatown

photo-credit-philadelphia-chinatown-development-corporation

Photo courtesy of  Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation

Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love’s Chinatown is comprised of a spectrum of cultures (Hong Kong, Korean, Taiwan, Burmese and Malaysian, among others) as diverse as Asia itself. Its Lunar (or Chinese) New Year celebrations are just as grand with cultural and educational events held at the Independence Seaport Museum, International House Philadelphia and Penn Museum. Other events include a Lunar New Year Parade, presented by the Philadelphia Suns, and an evening New Year’s Eve Lion Dance Performance. For eating ops, get some hot pot at Nine Ting, or dim sum or sushi at Sakura-Mandarin and a souvenir from Asia Crafts.

Where to Stay: Le Méridien Philadelphia

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Photo courtesy of Bruce Guthrie / Smithsonian American Art Museum

Washington, D.C.
The Chinatown in our nation’s capital rings in this season with a Chinese New Year’s Parade along H Street, NW. There’s also an interesting footnote in American history found here. A building that now contains a restaurant called Wok and Roll was once the boarding house owned by Mary Surratt where John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators plotted Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Dine at Chinatown Express, a noodle shop noted for Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), or China Boy, with yummy rice noodles. Pop into Da Hsin Co., a grocery store stocked with Chinese teas and herbs, and decorative objects. Plus, check out The Smithsonian American Art Museum‘s Chinese New Year event.

Where to Stay: Washington Marriott at Metro Center

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Credit: San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

San Francisco
The City by the Bay’s Chinatown is made up of two thoroughfares running parallel to each other: Grant Avenue (for visitors) and Stockton Street (where locals go). Be sure to hit the neighborhood’s Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, which dates back to the 1860s. This evening parade dazzles with floats and special guests such as Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Other related happenings include a community street fair and a flower market fair. On Grant Avenue, spot herbal stores, trinket shops and finds like Chinatown Kite Shop. Foodies can explore Asian restaurants spanning from Cambodian to Vietnamese, including dim sum at Good Mong Kok Bakery, salt and pepper crab from R&G Lounge, or a sweet bite at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

Where to Stay: Omni San Francisco Hotel

 

Credit: Alabastro Photography

Photo courtesy of Alabastro Photography

Seattle
The Emerald City’s Chinatown-International District puts on an annual Lunar New Year Celebration with traditional dragon and lion dances and cultural demos. Other highlights include a “$3 Food Walk,” in which the district’s restaurants offer small bites of various Asian cuisines. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience celebrates with a series of family-friendly programs and presentations. The Vietnamese Lunar New Year is honored at the Tết Festival at Seattle Center. With the C-ID’s food scene, perhaps try potstickers at Szechuan Noodle Bowl or bánh mì sandwiches at Saigon Vietnam Deli. And browse through Kinokuniya Bookstore or Tuesday Scarves.

Where to Stay: The Arctic Club Seattle – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

 

lan-su-garden-011-portland

Photo courtesy of Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland
Known as Old Town Chinatown, Portland’s oldest neighborhood is a juxtaposition of contemporary and Chinese eateries and attractions. One sight definitely worth seeing is Lan Su Chinese Gardens, which schedules many Chinese New Year festivities, including a Chinese New Year lantern viewing with a dragon performance. Also, the Chinese New Year Cultural Fair at the Oregon Convention Center is a must-attend event. Also spend time in the Jade International District, with places to eat like Pure Spice Chinese Restaurant. Or head to Red Robe Tea House & Cafe for teas or Chen’s Good Taste for wontons. Comic book fans should run to Floating World Comics, while the stylish can get street wear fashion at Compound Gallery.

Where to Stay: Courtyard by Marriott Portland City Center

 

chinesenewyearparade2-credit-oahu-visitors-bureau

Photo courtesy of Oahu Visitors Bureau

Honolulu
On Oahu, this Chinatown in Hawaii’s epicenter is a hodgepodge of bars, restaurants, marketplaces, temples and shops. It holds a number of New Year celebrations, too. “A Lunar Chinese New Year’s Multicultural Festival” is held along the streets of Pauahi and the Mauna Kea River. Other happenings include a Chinese New Year’s Parade on Richards Street and a two-day Chinese New Year Celebration on Chinatown Cultural Plaza. For dining out, consider Royal Kitchen, with Asian and Hawaiian dishes, and Little Village Noodle House. Shoppers will have fun browsing through Oahu Marketplace and the curated/vintage shop, Hound & Quail.

Where to Stay: Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele writes about women's travel, destinations, culinary, and cultural topics for various outlets and has ventured as far as Fiji, to date. She also muses her tales on She Is Going Places.

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