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Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Philadelphia in 2023

January 9, 2023

Home to one of the largest Chinatowns on the East Coast and a vibrant Asian population, Philadelphia ranks as one of Thrillist’s 12 Best Places to Celebrate the Lunar New Year in the U.S.

Every year, the City of Philadelphia comes alive in celebration of the Lunar New Year. From authentic Chinese cuisine, traditional lion dances, family friendly festivals, and a parade, the city has it all. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year (January 22, 2023) and ring in the Year of the Rabbit, including everything from exciting events to unique cooking classes. Consider this your guide to some of Philadelphia’s best Lunar New Year celebrations.

The Year of the Rabbit

In Chinese culture, the rabbit symbolizes longevity, peace, and prosperity. Anyone born during the year of the rabbit is said to be vigilant, witty, and quick-minded. The kind and resilient animal is also a representation of patience and treating others with respect.

Sip cocktails in Chinatown

The colorful Chinatown Friendship Gate is in the middle of the frame, people walk on the sidewalks to the left and right of the gate, cars are parked along the street.

Chinatown Friendship Gate. Photo by S. Spitzer for PHLCVB.

Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) is hosting its annual Chinese New Year Banquet at the Crane Center on Friday, February 24, 2023. An awards ceremony will take place to honor those who have made a difference in the community. The event also serves as a fundraiser to support the Asian American Pacific Islander immigrant community in Philadelphia. 

Date: Friday, February 24, 2023 (5 p.m)

Make your own dumplings

Nothing brings people together quite like food! Celebrate the Lunar New Year with your friends and family by learning to make a dish that originated in China, dumplings. The Dumpling Academy is hosting a Hand Made Dumpling Making Event, a DIY dumpling cooking experience. Learn how to authentically fill, shape and cook your very own pot stickers. Then, savor the taste as you dig into your handmade dumplings. You’ll also have the chance to whip up your own Tangyuan, a Shanghai style Wonton Soup. Classes are offered on multiple dates throughout the 2022-2023 holiday season leading up to the Lunar New Year on January 22, 2023.

Watch a traditional lion dance and parade

People in yellow sweatshirts and black sweatpants perform a traditional lion dance with colorful costumes in celebration of the Lunar New Year, as onlookers line the street and stand off to the side and take photos with their phones and cameras.

Chinese New Year 2020 Sunday Parade. Photo by A. Lee.

The Philadelphia Suns, a long-time community partner of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, will be performing traditional lion dances in honor of the Lunar New Year. Members of the Philadelphia Suns Lion Dance Troupe preserve the cultural significance of the traditional lion dance. This year, the Suns will be performing in the Lunar New Year Eve Parade on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 10:00 p.m. to midnight at various establishments throughout Chinatown, starting at 10th and Spring Streets. The Suns are also set to perform Sunday, January 22, 2023 for the Lunar New Year Day Parade starting at 11:00 a.m. at 10th and Spring Streets.

Dates: January 21 & 22, 2023

Savor authentic Chinese flavors

Two white plates with a meal containing rice, cheese, and seafood sit on a wooden table.

Photo courtesy of Sang Kee Peking Duck House.

Philadelphia’s Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood with a wide variety of restaurants serving authentic Sichuan, Cantonese, Shaanxi, and other Chinese cultural cuisines, as well as other Asian specialties. Ocean Harbor, Sang Kee Peking Duck House, EMei, and Nom Wah Tea Parlor are just a few of the popular options available throughout the district currently offering take-out, delivery, and in some instances, outdoor dining in addition to indoor dining. 

Enjoy a live musical performance

Colorful decorations hang from the ceiling, the Philadelphia Orchestra performs on stage in celebration of Lunar New Year.

Orchestra Lunar New Year. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Orchestra.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is partnering with the Asian Performing Arts Council and the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a live performance – and the North American premiere – of Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems. The concert will feature ancient Chinese lyrical texts by young composers from all over the world. Artists from 10 countries from iSING! Suzhou International Young Arts Festival will perform. The show will also be a nod to the Orchestra’s 50th anniversary of its historic tour of China in 1973.

Date: Friday, January 6, 2023 (7:30 p.m.)

Skate into the new year

A performer in a yellow sweatshirt and white pants performs a traditional lion dance with a red and yellow banner that reads Happy New Year in front of the ice rink at Dilworth Park in celebration of the Lunar New Year. People stand around to watch the performance.

2020 Chinese New Year Celebration at Dilworth Park. Photo by M. Epps for Center City District.

Head to the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink in Dilworth Park to ice skate beside City Hall and enjoy a series of festive performances by traditional Chinese dancers, a prancing lion, and other Lunar New Year activities. The first 100 guests will receive a lucky red envelope containing secret prizes.

Date: January 21, 2023 (5 – 7 p.m.)

Attend Culturefest! Lunar New Year at the Penn Museum

Children in bright green and orange costumes perform with lanterns in celebration of the Lunar New Year

Penn Museum Culturefest! Lunar New Year. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

Hop into the Year of the Rabbit at the Penn Museum’s 42nd annual Culturefest! Lunar New Year event, hosted in partnership with The American Chinese Museum. The family-friendly festival will include live music and dance performances. Guests of all ages will also enjoy storytelling and artmaking, while learning more about diverse cultural traditions. A marketplace will be set up where visitors can shop from a variety of vendors selling unique goods. The traditional Lion Dance finale will be performed by the University of Pennsylvania’s premier lion dance troupe, Penn Lions. All CultureFest! Lunar New Year activities are included with Museum admission. Children ages five and under, teachers, U.S. military veterans with identification, as well as Penn Museum members visit for free.

Date: Saturday, January 21, 2023 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Attend the Lunar New Year Family Arts Festival

In Philadelphia’s Countryside, celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at Main Line Art Center’s Lunar New Year Family Arts Festival. Featuring an iconic Lion Dance performed by The Philadelphia Suns. The festival will also include festive traditions, games and artmaking for all ages. The event is free, but registration is required.

Date: Saturday, January 21, 2023 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture

The Free Library of Philadelphia is in the distance. In front, there are beautiful tulips and other colorful spring flowers in a garden.

Library of Philadelphia. Photo by J. Ryan for PHLCVB.

Head to the Parkway Central Library for a Lunar New Year Celebration. Hosted by the Pennsylvania Asian Institute and The Free Library of Philadelphia, this event will bring the Year of the Rabbit to life. The afternoon will feature Asian music and dance performances. Guests will also enjoy a Taekwondo demonstration and a cultural fashion show.

Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023 (1 p.m.)

Discover more things to do in Philadelphia here and save money while exploring the city! Take advantage of our Discover Deals Philadelphia program offering great discounts on Philadelphia events and attractions.

Celebrate at the Rail Park

Join Friends of the Rail Park, Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia Suns, and Callowhill Neighborhood Association for a Lunar New Year Celebration at the Rail Park. The outdoor event will offer free, family-friendly activities, light refreshments, and a traditional lion dance performance by the Philadelphia Suns at 2 p.m.

Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023 (1-3 p.m.)


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