The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade is the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. This massive annual event was started in the 1860s by San Francisco’s Chinese community to teach the city about Chinese culture. The parade begins at 5:15 p.m. at Second and Market streets, winding its way around Union Square and up Kearny. The whole event lasts two to three hours, and features elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, marching bands, Chinese acrobats, and a 268-foot-long Golden Dragon. Also lots and lots of firecrackers.
Bleacher seating is available for $30 per person, but you can find a spot for free any place along the parade route. If you have younger children, you can take the BART to Montgomery station, which brings you to the start of the parade. Get there early to see the big floats setting up (you can also use the bathrooms at the Sheraton Palace Hotel).
For more information, visit the parade’s website here.
If you can’t make it, the entire parade is covered from 6 to 8 p.m. on KTVU channel 2. Gong Hey Fat Choy! Gong Xi Fa Cai!