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16 Ways to Celebrate the 2024 Lunar New Year in San Diego

Join in on the festivities and ring in the year of the Dragon with these local events
San Diego 2024 Lunar New Year Festival event
Courtesy of Rove

On Saturday, February 10, fireworks, paper lanterns, and cheerful tidings will usher in the Lunar New Year. This is the Year of the Dragon, a powerful and passionate symbol that will have millions of people come together to celebrate. To join in the festivities, here are citywide Lunar New Year events, fairs, and community gatherings taking place in San Diego over the next few weeks. 

Kids Lunar New Year Lantern Craft workshop from the San Diego Chinese Heritage Museum
Courtesy of the City of San Diego

February 6

San Diego Chinese Heritage Museum Presents: Lunar New Year Lantern Craft

On Tuesday, February 6 from 5 to 5:30 p.m., the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library is hosting a lantern-making craft event for ages 5 to 11. No registration is required. This free celebration is a great way to ring in the Lunar New Year for the whole family.

5148 Market Street, Emerald Hills

February 7

Lunar New Year Community Celebration & Mini Night Market

On Wednesday, February 7, the San Diego LGBT Community Center will be holding a Lunar New Year celebration in The Center’s Auditorium. No prior registration is required, so everyone is welcome to attend from 6 to 8 p.m. to enjoy refreshments, meet community members, and watch performances. 

3909 Centre Street, University Heights

February 9

Lunar New Year Lion Dancers

Witness the excitement of traditional lion dancing with music and stunts on February 9 at the College-Rolando Library. The performances are free and open to all ages, taking place from 10 to 11 a.m. 

6600 Montezuma Road, College Area

Lunar New Year Dragon Storytime by Los Penasquitos Preserve

The Mira Mesa Library is hosting the Los Rancho Penasquitos Preserve Rangers on February 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The rangers will tell stories about dragons at this free, all-ages event to celebrate the upcoming year of the dragon. 

8405 New Salem Street, Mira Mesa

Lunar New Year’s Eve: Evening of Mindfulness (Tet)

The Deer Park Monastery is hosting a free Evening of Mindfulness to kick off the Lunar New Year on February 9 from 3 to 10 p.m. Activities include a walking meditation, Dharma talk in Vietnamese, and Lunar New Year’s Eve ceremony. Registration for the event is required in advance, and they ask that all guests dress modestly (long sleeves and long pants or skirts) to respect their dress code.

2499 Melru Lane, Escondido

February 9–11

2024 San Diego Lunar New Year Festival

One of the largest annual Lunar New Year celebrations in San Diego, this free festival goes all out with traditional performances, firecrackers, and boba-drinking and dumpling-wrapping contests. It’s a three-day event, starting February 9 and ending February 11. 

4455 Wightman Street, City Heights

Lunar New Year Dumpling Party in San Diego hosted by the Taiwanese American Professionals center
Courtesy of Taiwanese American Professionals

February 10

Lunar New Year Dumpling Party

The Taiwanese American Community Center is organizing a dumpling party on February 10 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Stop by for play games, practice origami, and make (and, of course, eat) dumplings. Tickets are $10 per person

7838 Wilkerson Court, Convoy District

SeaWorld Lunar New Year

SeaWorld is celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 10 and 11 with local performers, Taiko drumming, and a wide variety of Asian-inspired food in the Wild Arctic Plaza. A one-day ticket costs $70, but if you want to indulge in the cuisine throughout the day’s celebrations, you can purchase an all-day pass for $110.

500 Sea World Drive, Mission Bay

2024 San Diego Lunar New Year promotional flyer for the Linda Vista Farmers Market
Courtesy of Linda Vista Farmers Market

February 15

Linda Vista Farmers Market 2024 Lunar New Year

The Linda Vista Farmers Market will be celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 15 from 4 to 7 p.m., where all ages can come to participate in arts and crafts, learn Chinese calligraphy, and listen to live music for free. Plus, there will be a free bouncy house open from 2 to 7 p.m.

6939 Linda Vista Road, Linda Vista

February 16

Traditions of the Chinese Lunar New Year

The San Carlos Public Library is hosting a celebratory event on February 16 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Winer Family Community Room and Art Gallery. They are welcoming guests from the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum who will tell traditional stories of the holiday. This event is free and open to all ages.

7265 Jackson Drive, San Carlos

February 16–18

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon

Fashion Valley is ringing in the Lunar New Year on February 16 from 7 to 7:45 p.m. with live performances, including a jong high pole routine, dragon dances, and a parade around the mall. From February 16 through 18, shoppers can also receive dragon bracelets and red envelopes with any purchase from Ding Tea, LEGO, and Parfait Paris, along with a complementary sweet with a purchase from Devil & Angel and Läderach Chocolate. 

7007 Friars Road, Mission Valley

San Diego Tet Festival

The annual San Diego Tet Festival is back to celebrate the Year of the Dragon from February 16 through 18 with many traditional Vietnamese dances, carnival rides and games, and the highly anticipated Miss Vietnam San Diego Pageant. This festival is free and open to all ages, though tickets for the carnival rides will need to be purchased upon arrival.

8575 New Salem Street, Mira Mesa

February 17–18

San Diego Zoo Lunar New Year

On February 17 and 18, the San Diego Zoo is commemorating the Lunar New Year in their Asian Rainforest. You can write your wish for the new year and hang it on one of the zoo’s wishing trees, create your own paper lantern, and enjoy unique delicacies at the Hua Mei Café. Day passes at the zoo start at $72 for adults and $62 for children. 

2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park

Chinese New Year Festival

Lion dances, Chinese food, arts and crafts, calligraphy, and cultural performances are offered at this year’s Chinese New Year Festival. Located at the International Cottages in Balboa Park, this free event will take place on February 17 and 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

2191 Pan American Road West, Balboa Park

February 20

Southwestern College Inaugural Lunar New Year Celebration

Southwestern College is celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 20 at the Mayan Hall Patio. This free event runs from 12 to 3 p.m. and features live performances, food, interactive stations, and vendor booths from local Asian-American-owned businesses

900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista

February 24–25

San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair 

With more than 50 commercial booths, plus arts and crafts, Asian food vendors, lantern parades, and martial arts, this cultural fair celebrates the Lunar New Year from February 24 to 25. The events begin at 10 a.m. and go until 5 p.m., and there is no entrance fee. 

3rd Ave & J Street, Downtown San Diego

By Amanda Parmele

Amanda Parmele is a third year undergraduate student at UCSD and works at SD Magazine as a Photography/Visual Editing intern. She takes photos for her school newspaper, is a writing mentor, and loves surf photography, though she cannot surf to save her life.

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