Happy Lunar New Year! February is bursting with ways to celebrate the Year of the Dog. Go to SF’s iconic Chinese New Year parade, sip on a few zodiac themed cocktails, or check out an all-day dumpling festival. Get festive and filled up on Chinese goodies all over the city. Here are a few spots, tips, and must-order items to get you started.
What to Do
Calligraphy, lion dancers, acrobats: the Asian Art Museum has a full day of celebratory Chinese New Year’s activities. Join an acrobatics workshop then have your name written in Chinese calligraphy. Take a crash course in the zodiac calendar and the traits and themes associated with The Year of the Dog. The celebration is included with admission to the museum, so wander around and enjoy their 2018 exhibits between the festivities.
On February 24th from 5:30 to 8:30pm, Chinatown is home to a brilliant, wildly colorful, firecracker-filled Chinese New Year Festival and Parade. If you want a great view of the action, pack up some snacks and snag a spot at the beginning of the parade, which kicks off at Second and Market Streets. You’ll want to get there between 3:30 and 4:00pm. Or guarantee a solid seat by buying tickets for bleacher seats, so you can sit and savor the sights.
Go on a wacky adventure during the Chinese New Year Parade. Wander through Chinatown, the FiDi, and North Beach as you track down clues and scavenge for information. Feel like a sassy underground detective and soak up arts, culture, and trivia about the holiday and the city. You’ll feel like a part of the parade action with your own sneaky itinerary.
Where to Eat
Work up an appetite celebrating? There are awesome food and drink specials all over the city that keep the Lunar New Year party vibe going.
The stellar St. Regis is offering a Year of the Dog themed version of their classic Art of Tea ceremony. Enjoy multiple courses of sweet and savory dim sum, including classics like pork sui mai, BBQ pork buns, and unexpected, delightful desserts like kumquat scones and creme brulee tartlets. Sip on pu-erh and oolong teas, or add a bottle of champagne to your order with the Art of Bubbles.
Grandma Wu Dinner at M.Y. China
Executive Chef Tony Wu is offering an eight-course Chinese New Year menu inspired by the delicacies that his Grandma Wu used to make him for the holidays. Feast on roast chicken with sticky rice, whole fried fish, sugar egg puffs, and more. Reservations serve six, so round up your crew for a family style dinner.
China Live New Menu Items
China Live’s restaurants and bars are going all out for the Year of the Dog. Cold Drinks, that snazzy retro bar tucked away upstairs at China Live, has created a cocktail for each zodiac sign so you can find your dream astrological drink. Market Restaurant has added a few rad new items to their menu for Year of the Dog—we’re most excited about their new red bean soft serve with chocolate mochi. Last but not least, splurge on a fun date night (maybe a Chinese New Year/belated V-Day hybrid?) at Eight Tables, where they’re featuring a decadent Year of the Dog tasting menu.
From February 16th through the 24th, E&O Kitchen and Bar is serving up Jiaozi Dumplings and Beijing-inspired mian alongside Year of the Dog themed beers. Try a Rogue Brewery “Yellow Snow” Pilsner, an Abita “Turbodog” Brown Ale, or a Flying Dog “Gonzo” Imperial Porter. On the 24th, they kick the celebration up a notch with lion dancers inside the restaurant. This would be a really fun spot to hit up after the Chinese New Year Parade.
Chow down on all your favorite dumplings. Vendors will be slinging freshly baked, fried, and boiled dumplings in a wide variety of styles as well as dim-sum treats like onion pancakes, fresh noodles, and more. A day of dumplings is even better when you throw in bottomless kumquat mimosas.