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Friday, February 6, 2009

10 Tips to enjoy the Chinese Parade with your kids

Today, welcome guest blogger Lydie Thomas from Travel is More Fun with Kids. She covers a lot of great San Francisco area events, especially cultural ones. Check out her site!

I went to the Chinese New Year Parade years ago; my children must have been 2 and 5. I remember it as a very enjoyable experience with lots of colors, dragons, animations, firecrackers, and happy people. I am planning to take them again this year.

The Chinese Parade will unroll from Market and Second Street to Kearny and Jackson starting at 5:15 pm and going on til 8:00 pm

There are no more seats in the bleachers so if you did not get them beforehand; you will just have to enjoy it in the streets

Here are my 10 Tips to enjoy the Chinese Parade with your kids

Tip 1 Make it an afternoon in the city, arrive early and just enjoy long walks in Chinatown. Visit the Golden Gate cookie factory along the way! It is located down the oldest alley in San Francisco: Ross Alley at number 56. While you are there, grab a bag or two of fortune cookies for snacks. It is a hole in the wall, you will be done in 5 minutes but I am sure the kids and you will love that little place.

Tip 2 Do not arrive after 4:45 pm. You do not want to rush and you want to be first in line, especially with children.

Tip 3 Bring foldable chairs for you or your little ones to rest while waiting. If you are driving, just retrieve them at the last moment if you are spending the afternoon in Chinatown.

Tip 4 Print the Parade route: click here to see it. You will also find information about public transportation and nearby parking garages. The Parade organizers warn that the Chinatown area is the most crowded one.

Tip 5 Be prepared for cold weather: dress warm, good shoes, umbrellas (the parade will not be cancelled if it rains). Let your kids know that if it rains a lot, you may decide to postpone viewing the parade another year.

Tip 6 Bring food and drinks. You do not want to have kids waiting on an empty stomach (reread tip 1 if you forgot to bring snacks).

Tip 7 Do not forget to bring toys to keep kids entertained before the parade starts.

Tip 8 Prepare your children for what they are going to see and hear: firecrackers, lions dancing, and dragons can be very impressive for children. Tell them the meaning of each one: Dragon is the symbol of the courage and prosperity. It is made of the eyes of the rabbit, ears of a cow, antlers of a deer, mouth of a camel, whiskers of a catfish, body of a serpent, paws of the tiger, talons of an eagle, and scales of a carp. Guess who is under the dragon??? Spy each part of the dragon

Firecrackers: they keep the evil away
Lion dance: they bring joy and happiness. Two people form the lion: one for the head, the other one for the rear. They will be dancing all along the parade so look for them!

Tip 9 You do not have to stay and watch the whole parade, when everybody is done, just pack and go. It is a very long parade so it is normal if your little ones become antsy. Better leave before nerves break down and bring home happy memories.

Tip 10 Bring your camera and your camcorder and be prepared to be dazzled!

For more information, here's the parade's official website.

Thank you Lydie! And don't forget to check out Travel is More Fun with Kids.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! The parade sounds spectacular. Preparing your kids for the firecrackers is especially smart since they're setting off 600,000 of them during the finale alone!