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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coming Up: Chinese New Year - Parade and Celebration in SF

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year to you! This holiday has been a big deal in San Francisco ever since the gold rush in 1847 started bringing Chinese immigrants into California in large numbers, and is a great cultural event to bring your little ones to. Lots of colorful costumes, firecrackers and yummy food to boot! Although the actualy Chinese New Year is on Valentine’s Day this year, most of the festivities take place on Saturday, February 11th. Here’s how to get the most out of the celebration:

Chinese New Year’s Parade – Did you know that the idea of a Chinese New Year’s parade was actually concieved in San Francisco during the 1860’s? Before then, parades in honor of the holiday didn’t exist in China or anywhere else. Now the city’s is one of the largest of its kind worldwide. Attend the parade to see dragons, dancers and firecrackers exploding over the streets. While the most scenic place to watch is in the heart of Chinatown, it can get pretty crowded, so you might be better off watching from the starting point at Second and Market. Here are 10 tips to watching the parade with your kids.

Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt – A great way to see the parade from a different perspective, this scavenger hunt tests your knowledge of San Francisco, your ability to work as a team, and your ingenuity passing back and forth through the parade route as you work to gather clues. This hugely popular treasure hunt is difficult but fun – and there’s no need to be a local. But don't bring young kids. The hunt begins at 4 p.m., just before the parade (giving you more than four hours to complete it). If you don’t come with your own team, you can always join a team of four to nine players when you arrive.

Asian Art Museum
WhatThe Year of the Dragon Celebration
Where: Asian Art Museum in SF
When: Sunday, Feburary 5, 11-4 p.m.
Cost: Free (thanks, Target!)

SF PARK and REC/YMCA
The SF Park and Rec and YMCA are sponsoring a celebration on February 11 from noon to 3. It will have live entertainment, face painting, lion dancers, bounce houses, tai chi, crafts and line dances. The celebration will be held at the Minnie and Lovie Ward Rec Center - 650 Capitol Avenue & Montana in SF.

SF Symphony - Chinese New Year Festival and Concert 

When: Saturday, February 11; pre-concert festival starts at 3; concert starts at 4
Tickets: $15-68 - buy them at the SF Symphony website, by phone (415-864-6000) or at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office (Grove between Van Ness and Franklin)
More info: here



Chinese Dim Sum – And of course – what’s a holiday without a festive meal? Chinatown is always a good choice of yummy grub, although it’s probably best to avoid it while the parade is still on. Clement Street in San Francisco’s inner Richmond district (my old hood) has plenty of restaurants that are popular with us locals. Try take-out dim sum from Clement Restaurant at 621 Clement Street. They’re known for their barbecued pork buns, and the lines out the door. For sit-down dim sum, try the House of Banquet at 939 Clement. 

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