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Smithsonian American Art Museum

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Washington, DC

Honor the turn of the calendar with these Lunar New Year activities and events in DC.

Lunar New Year, a celebration known in China as “Spring Festival,” begins on Feb. 10, 2024. With a variety of Asian cultures in the DC area, including Chinatown, the nation's capital 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 Dragon just right.


Winter Lantern Festival – Through Feb. 18

Explore Chinese myths, legends and zodiacs though a dazzling wonderland of over 1,000 handmade lanterns and displays. Discover designs featuring mammoths, polar bears, penguins and more. Plus, enjoy interactive light swings, see-saws and tunnels.

8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons, VA 22102


Lunar New Year at The Kennedy Center - Jan. 27

The Kennedy Center welcomes you and your entire family to this free Lunar New Year celebration on its Millennium Stage. Honor the “Year of the Dragon” with performances of The Lion Dance by the Tai Yim Kung Fu School and songs from the Concert Chorale of Washington.
6 p.m. |  Free admission
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566


Lunar New Year 2024 Family Festival at the National Museum of Asian Art – Feb. 3

National Museum of Asian Art

National Museum of Asian Art

The Smithsonian's free National Museum of Asian Art, known for an extensive collection of vibrant and colorful Asian art, will ring in the Year of the Dragon with a family festival filled with all kinds of fun dedicated to the Lunar New Year. Expect performances, talks, tours, hands-on activities and more.
11 a.m. |  Free Admission |  More Info
Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560


Embrace the Magic of the Lunar New Year with DowntownDC - Feb. 3

Join the DowntownDC BID in welcoming the Year of the Dragon with a free, family-friendly event . Engage in a day of unity and prosperity featuring Tai Chi, calligraphy art, lion dancers and traditional foods. The event will also feature live music, children’s activities and a flower market. The festivities continue down the street at New York Avenue Park with a lantern display and sidewalk chalk art.
11 a.m. – 4p.m. |  More Info
Chinatown Park, I Street between 5th & 6th Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001


The Stories Behind the Chinese Menu - Feb. 8

Learn the stories behind Chinese-American dishes, including the connection between scallion pancakes and pizza, how dumplings have cured frostbitten ears and wonton soup's role in the creation of the world, with this online evening lecture and seminar from Smithsonian Associates. Drawing on her new book, Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods, Newberry and Caldecott honoree Grace Lin will converse with journalist Lisa Ling on a range of topics relating to Chinese food. Expect to hear about squabbling dragons, magical fruits, hungry monks and much more. Note that there is special pricing for individuals 18 and under.


Savor the Flavors of China Chilcano - Feb. 8-11

Enjoy a specialty menu from renowned chef José Andrés' Peruvian-Asian fusion concept. Celebrate Chinese New Year with traditional dishes like seared turnip cakes, spring rolls and Cantonese poached chicken by head chef Daniel Lugo. Plus, experience a traditional Lion Dance led by the artists at Tai Yim Kung Fu at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

More Info
418 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004


Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lunar New Year Celebration – Feb. 10

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) honors the Lunar New Year with this free celebration presented in partnership with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America. Enjoy a plethora of Chinese and Korean traditions as well as dances, performances, arts and crafts, food and much more. The Kogod Courtyard Cafe will also offer a special Lunar New Year menu. Be sure to explore even more activities on SAAM’s Lunar New Year Family Zone.
11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. |  Free Admission |  More Info
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and G Streets NW, Washington, DC 20004


DC Lunar New Year Parade – Feb. 11

Join Mayor Muriel Bowser in downtown DC for the 2024 Lunar New Year Parade in honor of the Year of the Dragon. The annual parade includes colorful and diverse contingents, a ceremony with traditional performances and an exciting firecracker finale. The parade will step off at 2 p.m. at 6th and I streets NW and the staged ceremony begins at the end of the parade route at approximately 3 p.m. at 6th and H streets.
2 p.m. |  More Info
6th and I Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001


Lunar New Year Festival at DAR Museum - Feb. 17

Join the DAR Museum in collaboration with the Vietnam Society, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office and the Fairfax High School Korean Club for a celebration of Lunar New Year traditions. This free, family-friendly event will feature live performances, activities and games.

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. |  Free Admission |  More Info

1776 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20006


Explore the Penn Quarter/Chinatown neighborhood

Penn Quarter/Chinatown is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the District. There are plenty of restaurants nearby, as well as the shopping hub that is CityCenterDC. The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are housed in the same building across the street, while the National Gallery of Art is a short walk away. You can also check out a play at Ford’s Theatre or Shakespeare Theatre Company.


Check out the Kennedy Center's virtual Lunar New Year programming

Kennedy Center, Interior

The Kennedy Center offers a plethora of digital programming focused on the Lunar New Year, including performances from past celebrations, on its website. Enjoy videos and an array of virtual learning options from DC's most beloved cultural institution.

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