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Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Philadelphia

January 9, 2020

Welcome the Chinese Year of the Rat with these Philadelphia celebrations and activities.

There are many ways to revel in the Lunar New Year in the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia Suns' Chinese New Year Parade. Photo by A. Lee.

Lunar New Year Celebrations

Settled in the 1870s, Philadelphia’s Chinatown is the second largest on the East Coast and is an exciting place to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Enjoy dinner in Chinatown and then follow the Philadelphia Suns lion dancers as they bestow good luck and good fortune with a Midnight Lion Dance on Friday, January 24 at 11:30 p.m. (10th and Race Streets) with firecrackers, martial arts performances, and more. There’s another opportunity to see the Lion Dance Parade featuring the Philadelphia Suns on Sunday, January 26 at 11 a.m. (also at 10th and Race Streets).

Penn Museum's Lunar New Year celebration. Photo by T. Stanley for University of Pennsylvania.

Outside of Chinatown, there are a number of other Lunar New Year celebrations throughout the Philadelphia region, including:

  • The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation partners with the Reading Terminal Market for a Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, January 18 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. with demonstrations, performances, activities, food and more.

  • The recently enhanced Penn Museum will host a Lunar New Year celebration in collaboration with the Asian Arts Initiative on Saturday, January 18, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. featuring arts and crafts, live dance performances, calligraphy workshops, a Mandarin language highlights tour, and more.

  • Fashion District Philadelphia will host a Chinese New Year Celebration in the building’s “Cube” (9th and Market Streets) on Sunday, January 19 from 12 – 5 p.m., complete with lantern making, traditional dances, acrobatic performances, live music, and special red envelope gift card giveaways.

  • The Philadelphia 76ers host a Chinese New Year Night on January 25, 8 p.m., while hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia Suns will perform at halftime and event details include Chinese calligraphy and themed giveaways for the first 5,000 fans in attendance.

  • Independence Seaport Museum’s annual Lunar New Year celebration is Saturday, January 25, 2019, 1 – 3:05 p.m. New this year, the museum will focus on how the moon and water influence calendars around the world with activities including creating rotating calendars, calligraphy lessons, coloring activities, and Lunar New Year traditions welcoming the Year of the Rat.

  • Center City District will hold its inaugural Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 25 at Dilworth Park from 5 – 9 p.m. The event will feature a special performance by the Philadelphia Suns, firework effects, Asian-inspired menu items, and other surprises. The first 50 guests will receive lucky red envelopes.

  • Rivers Casino will host a two traditional Dragon Dances throughout the casino floor on Saturday, January 25. The first show begins at 8 p.m. followed by another show at 11 p.m.

  • The Please Touch Museum is hosting a special Lunar New Year performance by the Penn Lions on Sunday, January 26.

  • The Rail Park celebrates the Chinese New Year on Saturday, February 9 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. with a Philadelphia Suns Lion Dance, family activities, a Philadelphia-style flower market, food trucks, and more.

  • The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting a series of Chinese New Year events at several of its branches — including the Parkway Central location — beginning January 25 and running through February 5. Festivities include traditional Lion Dances, educational programs, cultural performances, and more.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art's China Galleries are home to a full set of twelve animal figures — including a rat — representing the different Chinese zodiac signs. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Plan your own Year of the Rat scavenger hunt with these amusing ways to find rat or mouse-themed items all over the Philadelphia region.

Center City

West Philadelphia


  • A tiny pin version of The River Rat, the official mascot of the Brandywine River Museum of Art, is available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop. Meanwhile in the galleries, visitors can explore a collection of art by N.C., Jamie, and Andrew Wyeth.

Cover photo depicts Chinatown’s Lion Dance Parade. Photo by A. Lee.

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