14 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Seattle

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

These Lunar New Year events have everything you need to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit or Cat

The Lunar New Year is a celebration of Asian cultures, and even though it doesn’t exactly feel like it (what’s with this Seattle winter?), it is also known as a spring festival. This year’s festivals celebrate the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Cat, and they’re coming up soon, so get out your calendars. It is not only a time of family celebrations honoring ancestors, but for many families it’s a chance to learn about the culture through performances, immersive experiences, and of course, food. Whether your family has plans to head out on a secret scavenger hunt to celebrate the Lunar New Year, or you want to find crafts, storytimes, and lion dances, we’ve got the scoop on all the kid-friendly events around the city. Gong xi fa cai!


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a girl paints a red card for luck during lunar new year seattle activities
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1. Watch a Lion and Dragon Parade in Bellevue
Presented in partnership with Seattle Chinese Culture and Arts Association, The Overseas Community Affairs Council and Republic of China, The Bellevue Collection celebrates the Year of the Rabbit in style. Come early to enjoy the special decorations, take a selfie at the photo “pop spot,” view traditional Chinese garments and artifacts displays, try your hand at traditional calligraphy and painting, and enjoy live performances, including a lion and dragon parade at 2 p.m. Jan. 14, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

2. Celebrate Tết in Seattle   
This year marks Seattle’s 27th Annual Tết Festival. The two-day festival celebrates the Vietnamese Year of the Cat through art, food, music. and a sharing of traditions. Held at the Seattle Center, families can enjoy live performances, lion dances, local food vendors, art exhibits, a fashion show, and plenty of hands-on, family-friendly events over the two days. Jan. 14 & 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

3. Sit for Storytime in Kirkland
Begin the Year of the Rabbit with a special story time at the Kirkland Library. A special storyteller will be sharing stories and songs in English and Mandarin while the kiddos create a special craft. Don’t be surprised if you walk home with a few new Mandarin words in your vocabulary. Jan. 17, 6:30-7:15 p.m. Free. Ages 3-12. Event details.

4. Lunar New Year on the Pier
Pier 62 is where you’ll find this celebration to welcome the Year of the Rabbit. Join in the tradition to bring luck and ward off evil spirits with a traditional lion dance, performed by the Mak Fai Kung Fu Club. Drums, cymbals, and jongs (poles performers balance on) are all part of the action. Once the show is over stay to shop the PRSVRNC market where you’ll find a creative clothing line that aims to “bring Asian American pride, cultural items and the meanings of Asian American culture into clothing.” Jan. 22, 2-4 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

5. Lunar New Year Celebration Show
Held at Seattle’s Central Library, the Lunar New Year Celebration Show is a celebration of Chinese dance, music and a variety of performing. In one hour, your family will experience a costume showcase, an accordion duet, a martial arts demonstration and an ensemble choir presentation. Jan. 17, 2-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

6. Make Light Up Lanterns
Sign up to cut and construct lanterns that actually light up at KidsQuest Museum in Bellevue. Kids will learn about the importance of lighting lanterns during the Chinese New Year during this hands-on workshop, created in partnership with the Chinese Information Center. You’ll need to register in advance. Jan. 20. 5-7 p.m. $25-$40/kid; Free for adults. Event details.

7. U Village Lunar New Year Celebration
The Mak Fai dancers will be performing a traditional lion dance around U Village. Bring the kids, enjoy the day, and maybe even check out a few of the Lunar New Year deals while you’re there. Jan. 19, 1 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

8. Chinese New Year Lantern Festival
It’s the first on-site festival since the pandemic happened, so you know this celebration at the Seattle Chinese Garden is going to be good. Bring the kids to explore the garden where you’ll find a craft table out for kids, games for them to play, and Lunar New Year storytime. Parents and caregivers can enjoy Chinese music, tea, demonstrations, and lion dances. Feb. 5, 1-4 p.m. $5 suggested donation. All ages. Event details.

Related: Explore Seattle’s Chinatown-International District with Kids

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

9. Attend the 2023 Lunar New Year Fair at Wing Luke Museum
This year’s annual Lunar New Year Fair includes a lion dance in front of the Wing Luke Museum’s entrance to bring good luck for the New Year. After the lion is done dancing, partake is a variety of family activities including craft-making, games, art, exhibitions and a special story time. Jan. 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

10. Kirkland’s Lunar New Year Celebration
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kirkland Parks and Recreation at Peter Kirk Community Center. Not only will this celebration be a chance for families to learn what Lunar New Year is and how its traditionally celebrated, but they’ll also be able to enjoy crafts, food, dancing ,and cultural demonstrations. Jan. 28, 2-4 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

11. Kirkland Urban’s Lunar New Year Celebration
Enjoy KU’s second annual event celebrating the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit. Mak Fai dancers will be there to perform captivating lion dances. There will also be Vietnamese fan dances, a lantern display, calligraphy demos, and giveaways (while supplies last). Feb. 3, 6-8 p.m., Free. All ages.

12. Seattle Chinatown-International District’s Year of the Rabbit Celebration
One of the highlights at the Chinatown International District’s New Year Celebration is the Food Walk featuring a variety of delicious choices. Visit at least five locations on the walk and you can enter to win a CID gift basket. This celebration is one of the largest events of its kind which includes traditional dragon and lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, Japanese Taiko drumming, arts and crafts vendors and a great variety of family-friendly activities. Feb. 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details. 

13. PhinneyWood Lunar New
The PhinneyWood Lunar New Year is a new annual event celebrating with the Asian community in Northern Seattle. This inclusive and diverse event is set to honor Asian cultures, while also supporting local Asian-led businesses and organizations. Feb. 5. Free. All ages. Event details.

14. Celebrate with the Asia Pacific Cultural Center
The New Year is the biggest event of the year for the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, so if you only go to one of their events, this is the one not to miss. This community-based arts and culture festival is filled with over 20 performances, cultural demonstrations, martial arts, art displays, authentic food, plus about 100 vendors and resources thrown in for good measure. Celebrating 25 years, this celebration is being held at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. Feb. 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Event details.

Related: Shop These 19 Asian American-Owned Businesses Today

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