Lunar New Year celebrations in San Diego

From downtown San Diego and Balboa Park to City Heights and Mira Mesa — there are many fun community celebrations of the Lunar New Year in 2024.

Lion dancers at the San Diego Tet Festival celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

The 2024 San Diego Tết Festival is Friday, Feb. 16-Sunday, Feb. 18.

The Lunar New Year is upon us. Around the world — especially in East and Southeast Asian cultures — communities will celebrate the Year of the Dragon (or, in some cultures, the Year of the Naga) starting Saturday, Feb. 10. In San Diego, you can partake in the fun at several local festivals — many of which are free.

San Diego Public Library: Lunar New Year Programming | Monday, Feb. 5-Wednesday, Feb. 28 | Local library branches, locations vary | Free | SDPL will offer Lunar New Year Storytimes like Dragon Storytime with Park Rangers at the Mira Mesa branch Friday, Feb. 9, and Stay & Play Storytime at the College-Rolando branch Wednesday, Feb. 28. There will be Lion Dances across four branches on Friday, Feb. 9, and themed arts and crafts sessions at several libraries on select dates through Wednesday, Feb. 21.

San Diego Lunar New Year Festival | Friday, Feb. 9-Sunday, Feb. 11 | Times vary | Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, City Heights | Free | The Little Saigon San Diego Foundation will host this community fest featuring lion dances, folk dancing, art exhibitions, kid-friendly activities, and food vendors.

A stage lined with yellow flowers and colorful lanterns at the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa.

One of the stages at the San Diego Tết Festival in 2023, ready for performances.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Lunar New Year Dumpling Party | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 1:30-4:30 p.m. | Taiwan Center | $10 | Head to the Convoy District to enjoy an afternoon of dumpling making, origami, and games presented by the Taiwanese American Community Center of San Diego.

AXIS: Lunar New Year | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 3-6 p.m. | The Old Globe | Free | Enjoy live performances by local guest artists, live music, arts and crafts, and food vendors; register ahead of time.

Lunar New Year at SeaWorld San Diego | Saturday, Feb. 10 + Sunday, Feb. 11 | 10 a.m.-7 p.m. | SeaWorld San Diego | Included with admission| The theme park’s Wild Arctic Plaza will brim with decorations, local performers, and specialty food and beverages.

Red lanterns strung at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego in honor of Lunar New Year.

The Lunar New Year celebration at Fashion Valley is on Friday, Feb. 16.

Photo via Monica Garske + SDtoday

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon | Friday, Feb. 16 | 7-7:45 p.m. | Fashion Valley | Free | This Lunar New Year celebration will include dragon and lion dances, a Jong High Pole routine, and a parade through the mall; retailers like Ding Tea, LEGO, and Parfait Paris will hand out dragon bracelets and red envelopes as a gift with purchase.

San Diego Tết Festival | Friday, Feb. 16-Sunday, Feb. 18 | Times vary | Mira Mesa Community Park | The Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation of San Diego will highlight the Year of the Dragon with lion dances, live entertainment, a pageant, vendors, and arts and crafts.

Red landerns in the Gaslamp Quarter at the Chinese New Year Fair with the san diego convention center in the background.

There’s lot of food, fun, and entertainment at the Chinese New Year Fair.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

Chinese New Year Fair | Saturday, Feb. 17 + Sunday, Feb. 18 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | International Cottages, Balboa Park | The House of China will lead this celebration filled with entertainment, fun activities, and vendors in the heart of the historic, multicultural hub.

A past Chinese New Year celebration at the House of China in Balboa Park

A past Chinese New Year celebration at the House of China in Balboa Park.

Photo via @sotnwaffle

Lion Dance Performance | Saturday, Feb. 17 | 11 a.m. | The Alley San Diego | Free | Enjoy a live performance in the Convoy District — 5665 Balboa Ave., Ste. 104A.

San Diego Wildlife Alliance: Lunar New Year | Saturday, Feb. 17 + Sunday, Feb. 18 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park | Included with admission | During this special weekend, visitors can expect Lunar New Year-inspired foods, activities like hanging your wish on a wishing tree, experiences with wildlife care specialists, crafts, and the spotlight on the organization’s Asian Rainforest Conservation Hub.

San Diego Chinese New Year Fair | Saturday, Feb. 24 + Sunday, Feb. 25 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Third Avenue and J Street, downtown San Diego | This 41st annual fair will fill the streets with performances, crafts, a lantern parade, art displays, and food vendors aplenty.

Three macarons filled with mango, garnished with edible gold, served at Animae restaurant in San Diego for Lunar New Year 2024.

Lucky Fruit Macarons crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Laura Warren will be served to guests at Animae on Saturday, Feb. 24 + Sunday, Feb. 25.

Photo via Animae + James Tran

Lunar New Year at Animae | Saturday, Feb. 24 + Sunday, Feb. 25 | During dinner service | Animae, downtown San Diego | Cost of purchase | Executive Chef Tara Monsodahem, a 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: California — will craft a special Lunar New Year dinner menu this weekend, complete with lion dancers and a complimentary dessert of Lucky Fruit Macarons (garnished with edible gold for prosperity) crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Laura Warren.