Hop Over to These Lunar New Year Celebrations

a dragon float on the water at Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland is part of the Chinese New Year, Lunar New year Celebration @lansuchinesegarden

Let’s just say these family-friendly Lunar New Year events are really hoppin’

2023 ushers out the year of the Tiger and introduces the year of the Rabbit, the luckiest of all 12 of the Chinese zodiac animals. While we hope plenty of luck finds you and your family this year, we can at least point you in the right direction for ways to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with the kids around Portland. Whether you’re looking for traditional events and activities that include lion dances, red envelopes, and lanterns lighting up the sky, or you think a little extra (we’re talking balloon animals and face painting) would entice your kids to get out and celebrate, we’ve got the scoop on happenings you won’t want to miss. Our tip? Make your plans now, as many of these popular festivals require tickets and they go quickly.

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1. Celebrate Chinese New Year at Lan Su Chinese Garden

Daytime Lunar New Year events

While some celebrations of the Lunar New Year only last a day, the Lan Su Chinese Garden celebrates the Chinese New Year for two whole weeks. That’s more than enough time to wrangle the kids into their winter gear and step out for the Pacific Northwest’s largest Lunar New Year celebration. Festive decorations, tours, crafts, and performances are just a taste of what you’ll experience if you visit during the daytime hours. Kids can have a bunny meet-cute, see Chinese lion dances and martial arts demonstrations, even learn calligraphy if they’re game. Storytimes, food, and musical performances are all part of the celebration too. Remember to get your tickets in advance for this popular celebration. 

Good to Know: The Lunar New Year Opening Lion Dance, featuring Portland Lee’s Association Dragon & Lion Dance Team, is free and open to the public. It kicks off the two-week long celebration on January 21, from 9:30-10 a.m.

Dates: Jan. 21-Feb. 5, 2023
Cost: $14/person; $11/kid (6-18); Free, kids 5 & under

Lunar New Year Evening Lantern Viewings 

If you really want to zhuzh up your Lunar New Year, bring the fam to see the glowing lanterns at Lan Su Chinese Garden in the evenings. It’s an area favorite for a reason. Glowing lanterns surround you while large lighted lanterns float on the pond nearby. An illuminated dragon procession will keep the kids entertained, as will a Chinese chopstick challenge you can try as a family. End your evening with a warm cup of tea and snacks in the Garden Teahouse. The evening viewings run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on select nights, and tickets are a must.

Dates: Jan. 26-29 and Feb. 2-5, 2023
Cost: $45/person; $15/kid (3-11); Free, kids 2 & under 

239 N.W. Everett St.
Online: lansugarden.org

a dragon outside at a lunar chinese new year portland event
Donny Hayardi via unsplash

2. Oregon 2023 Lunar New Year Celebration

What gets your kids excited? Live performances? Crafts? Magic? Come celebrate the Lunar New Year at Keller Auditorium, as it has all three and then some. Chinese Friendship Association of Portland (CFAP), the local non-profit hosting this year’s Lunar New Year’s celebration, is bringing in all kinds of talent to showcase. Performances range from an astounding magic show by Golden Wand Winner Eric Qiu to routines from international rhythm gymnast champs. Kids can dig in to the various activities at the arts & crafts workshops and even try their hand at calligraphy. Prepare to be awed by this year’s events celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for arts & crafts, and performances begin at 7 p.m.

Date: Feb. 4, 2023
Cost: $25-$115

Keller Auditorium
222 S.W. Clay St.
Online: portland5.com

3. Enjoy Chinese Storytime

Read books, sings songs, and recite nursery rhymes at this virtual Chinese storytime hosted by the Multnomah County Library. Best for kids six and under, it’ll be an engaging time and a special way to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit from home. Please register to receive the Zoom link.

Date: Jan. 22, 2023

Online: multcolib.org/events

4. Lunar New Year Celebration in Milwaukie

Say goodbye to the past year and welcome prosperity in the Year of the Rabbit at the Milwaukie Community Center. Lots of learning will take place at this celebration that includes dances, crafts, activities, and music. Light refreshments and exciting lion and drum dances will keep the kids engaged at this free, and very family-friendly event.

Date: Jan. 22, 2023

Milwaukie Community Center
5440 S.E. Kellogg Creek Dr.
Milwaukie, OR
Online: ncprd.com

Related: How to Support Local Asian American-Owned Businesses Now

a lion puppet hangs from the ceiling during a lunar chinese new year event in portland
Sandy Millar via unsplash

5. 2023 Chinese New Year Cultural Fair

Welcome the year of the Rabbit at this family-friendly Lunar New Year celebration held at the Oregon Convention Center. Expect plenty of traditional Chinese New Year activities like lion dances, folk dances, calligraphy, and martial arts demonstrations. There will be children’s activities and games to be played as well. Tickets are on sale for this event now.

Date: Jan. 21, 2023
Cost: $8/person; Free, kids 3 & under

Oregon Convention Center
777 N.E. MLK Jr. Blvd.
Online: oregoncc.org

6. Make Lunar New Year Postcards & Origami

If you’re up for an adventure, head north to the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia. Always a hot destination for toddlers and their grown-ups, it’s even more so on the Chinese New Year when kids can make rabbit origami and write postcards to friends and family, wishing them luck in the year ahead. These activities are included with museum admission or membership.

Date: Jan. 22, 2023

Hands On Children’s Museum
414 Jefferson St. N.E.
Olympia, WA
Online: hocm.org

a red lion dances with a masked person in the background during a lunar new year seattle celebration
Mick Haupt via unsplash

7. Lunar New Year Dragon Dance Parade & Celebration

Experience a dragon dance and parade when you celebrate the Lunar New Year with the Portland Chinese Museum and the Oregon Historical Society. The parade starts at N.W. 3rd and Davis Street and proceeds around Old Town, Downtown, and Oregon Historical Society Park Plaza as dancers weave in and out along the 1.4-mile route. Lion dancers and other performers kick things off around 10 a.m. before the dragon heads out for the trip.  

Date: Jan. 28, 2023

Portland Chinatown Museum
127 N.W. Third Ave.
Online: portlandchinatownmuseum.org

8. Lunar New Year Celebration

Make a wish on a red ribbon and snap a few selfies at Washington Square Mall to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Families can also crafts, stories, and dances in the center court from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of day’s activities. 

Date: Jan. 28, 2023

Washington Square
9585 S.W. Washington Square Rd.
Online: shopwashingtonsquare.com

9. Celebrate Lunar New Year at the Mac Market

You won’t want to miss this free community event that has all the usual Lunar New Year celebration activities like lion dances, calligraphy demonstrations, and martial arts performances. But this gathering, hosted by local Asian American residents in partnership with Mac Market and Unidos Bridging Community includes balloon animals (our money’s on the rabbit), face painting, and storytimes too. It’s the perfect mix of traditional elements and a little something extra that’ll get your kids excited for the day. 

Date: Jan. 21, 2023

1140 N.E. Alpine Ave.
McMinnville, OR
Online: eventbrite.com

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