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10 Ways to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Washington, DC
Honor the turn of the lunar calendar with these Chinese New Year activities and events in DC.
Chinese New Year, also known in modern Chinese as the “Spring Festival,” begins on Jan. 25, 2020. The nation's capital is rich with Chinese culture, so it’s no wonder that the city features numerous ways to celebrate the holiday. We’ve detailed events and activities in Washington, DC that can help you kick off the Year of the Rat just right.
The REACH will celebrate its first winter season and the Chinese New Year with weeks of programming and an installation of stunning Winter Lanterns. Approximately 100 of these lanterns will live at The REACH, showcasing the incredible work of Chinese artists. In total, the lanterns are made up of 10,000 colored LED lights. Supporting festivities include musical performances (including a show from Grammy winner Tang Muhai and the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra), artisan demonstrations, food trucks, cultural activities like Korean calligraphy and sugar painting and so much more.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566
The Kennedy Center welcomes you and your entire family to this free Lunar New Year party in honor of the Year of the Rat. Activities include a calligraphy demonstration, face painting, a dress-up photo booth featuring outfits from Cantonese opera, marionette puppets and red lantern-making. Guests will also be able to enjoy traditional Cantonese music demonstrations and an opera costume exhibit.
1:30 p.m. | Free admission
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 2056
The Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler, known for an extensive collection of vibrant and colorful Asian art, will ring in the Year of the Rat with its annual Lunar New Year celebration. Expect live musical performances, acrobatics, puppetry, a chance to sample spicy dishes and the opportunity to view Chinese art exhibitions.
11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Free admission
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560
This annual parade is one of DC’s signature Chinese New Year celebrations. With dozens of entries, this year’s parade promises to be the largest and most diverse yet. Expect Chinese folk dancers, beauty queens, firecrackers, kung fu demonstrations, floats (including lions and dragons) and plenty of pageantry as the procession winds through Chinatown.
2 p.m. | Free admission
Meet at Gallery Place Metro Station
The Smithsonian American Art Museum honors the Lunar New Year with this free celebration held right in the center of Chinatown (make sure to check out the Friendship Archway along the way). The list of activities is long: traditional paper cutting, dough sculpting, calligraphy demonstrations, mask coloring and New Year card and paper lantern-making. There will also an acrobatic troupe from China and a scavenger hunt during this cultural extravaganza.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004
The hometown Wizards have 16 home games in January and February, playing right in the heart of Chinatown at the Capital One Arena. On Thursday, Jan. 30, the Wiz will rock special jerseys in honor of Chinese New Year. The celebration will feature talent all over the court, as the Wiz look to Bradley Beal and this year's first-round draft pick, Rui Hachimura, to lead them to victory against the Charlotte Hornets.
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
The Capitals also play in Chinatown's Capital One Arena. The 2018 Stanley Cup champs take the ice 13 times in January and February. You won't want to miss superstar Alex Ovechkin, known around DC as “The Great 8," send the crowd into a frenzy or centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov make some of the game’s flashiest plays.
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
One of DC’s premier hotels resides on Pennsylvania Avenue and gifts charming views of Georgetown and the C&O Canal. The Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. is a must-visit destination this winter, with an après-ski experience at ENO Wine Bar and the option for kids to sleep "under the stars" in their own glow-in-the-dark domes. For Chinese New Year, the hotel will be celebrating by creating a tree of good fortune in the lobby and inviting guests to share their good wishes, while guests enjoying afternoon tea on Jan. 25, 2020 will be able to order a Chinese New Year cocktail made with rice wine liquor and green tea.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C., 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Join Ice Cream Jubilee for special tasting parties at its Navy Yard, T Street and Ballston Quarter locations. In honor of the Lunar New Year, the local sensation is offering up tasting flights of six two-ounce scoops and a pint for you to take home. The flavor flight is Lunar New Year-themed, of course, featuring innovative flavors such as Citrus Sichuan Peppercorn, Red Bean Almond Cookie and Roasted Barley Tea. Reserve a date and time to enjoy this flavor explosion.
Ice Cream Jubilee Locations
301 Water Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
1407 T Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
4238 Wilson Boulevard, Level C, Arlington, VA 22203
Westfield Montgomery shopping center in Bethesda, Md. invites you to its vibrant annual Lunar New Year weekend celebrations, happening Jan. 25-26 and Feb. 8. Highlights include a performance of famous Chinese music by the The Young Artist Music Society (Jan. 25, 12 - 2 p.m.), a red envelope decorating activity with special performances (Jan. 26, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.), paper dragon puppet-making with Maryland's KID Museum (Jan. 26, 1-3 p.m.) and a two-hour performance by the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center featuring a dragon and lion dance and calligraphy demos (Feb. 8).
Westfield Montgomery Mall, 7101 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817