A Guide to 2024’s Chinese New Year Celebrations in San Diego

Attend one of San Diego’s largest street fairs and learn what other events are planned for Chinese New Year celebration, also called Lunar New Year, in 2024.
Jess Tucker
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Chinese New Year in San Diego
What is Chinese New Year?
Where to Celebrate?
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Attractions and More
Year of the Dragon
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What Exactly is Chinese New Year?

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum in the Gaslamp Quarter San DiegoThe Beautiful Salt and Whiskey Bar at the Horton Grand Hotel

San Diego’s diverse culture is never easier to see on display than around the holidays! Its large Mexican population contributes to its history of Dia de los Muertos parties, while Chinese residents and many other Asian cultures in particular celebrate the Lunar New Year.

If this is your first time celebrating Lunar New Year, it’s important to know how it differs from other New Year’s celebrations in San Diego.

In 2024, the Lunar New Year falls on February 10, 2024. In China, residents celebrate a 16-day Chinese New Year festival culminating in a lantern festival which will be held on February 24 this year. Most events in San Diego are held on and around the 24th.

How to Celebrate

Most New Year Festival celebrations include traditional elements like lion dance performances, a fireworks display, and gifts from family members in red envelopes.

Many celebrations have decorations and parade floats themed around the current Chinese Zodiac year. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, so expect to see lots of them!

Local Tips
Good Hotel Option!
If you're celebrating the Chinese New Year in San Diego, don't miss the opportunity to stay at the Horton Grand Hotel. Class, luxury and a perfect location makes Horton the ideal place to stay and fall in love with this charming city.

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Where to Celebrate the Chinese New Year 2024 in San Diego?

From local libraries to the Chinese New Year Fair and themed activities at the San Diego Zoo, there are many ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year Festival.

Sidwalk in East Village
Sidwalk in East Village

Chinese New Year Faire San Diego

The largest Lunar New Year celebration is the annual Lunar New Year Faire. This parade and street fair has been held for over 40 years.

This year, the party will be held on February 24th and 25th from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Vendors will set up shop on 3rd Ave & J St in Downtown San Diego, near Balboa Park and within walking distance of the Gaslamp Quarter.

Outside the Horton Grand Hotel
Outside the Horton Grand Hotel

Where to Stay Near the Celebrations

Experience the vibrant Chinese New Year festivities in the heart of San Diego. Nestled in the bustling downtown, I recommend staying at the Horton Grand Hotel.

This boutique stay offers a unique blend of historical elegance and modern luxury, making it an ideal base for your celebration. As you step into this charming urban boutique hotel, you'll be transported back to the Victorian era of the 1880s, with each room boasting handcrafted antique furniture, cozy marble-framed gas fireplaces, and intricate architectural details.

Along with these timeless charms, enjoy contemporary comforts like complimentary wireless internet, personal coffee/tea machines, and flat-screen televisions.

The Horton Grand Hotel is not just a place to stay; it's a gateway to fully immersing yourself in the cultural richness of San Diego's Chinese New Year celebrations.

Nighttime Show at the San Diego Zoo
Nighttime Show at the San Diego Zoo

Other Area Celebrations

The San Diego Library will hold dozens of events for the Lunar New Year between January 18th and February 21, 2024. They include arts and crafts workshops, storytimes, and kid-friendly lessons on what the holiday is and why it’s important. These activities are an excellent resource for parents.

Another celebration will be held at the San Diego Zoo on February 17th and 18th, 2024, with a focus on animals of the Asian rainforest and a dedicated Asian rainforest conservation hub.

Don’t forget to grab a Go City San Diego pass before you arrive and use the discount code GVSD50FF to save on San Diego Zoo admission!

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What attractions are included with a Go City San Diego pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Attractions, Events & Performers are at This Year’s Festivities

The New Year Festival draws in large crowds excited to browse the offerings of dozens of vendors lining the streets and to watch or partake in singing and dancing. Here are some of the events and live performances you’ll see when you visit.

The Field Irish Pub Outdoor Dining in the Gaslamp
The Field Irish Pub Outdoor Dining in the Gaslamp

The Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony starts at 10:30 am on February 24th. Its centerpiece is the performance by the Lucky Lion Dancers, which is a huge crowd-pleaser. The large lion dances and weaves through crowds, inviting everyone to take part and kicking off the rest of the festivities.

Local Performers

Many of the cultural performances scheduled for the fair showcase traditional Chinese culture through song and dance. Appearances scheduled for 2024 include shows by the Chinese Dance Association and Naruwan Taiko, a taiko drumline.

Displays of different types of martial arts are also common. Previous years have included performances of Tai Chi, Qigong, and other forms that have been practiced in China for centuries.

2024 is the Year of the Dragon

Get ready to roar into 2024, the Year of the Dragon, with a dash of dragon-style flair!

In the grand parade of the Chinese Zodiac, the dragon dances in as one of the 12 star animals. If you're a Dragon, you're in the cool club with traits like dazzling confidence and brave-hearted courage. But hey, it's not all fire-breathing; dragons also bring a touch of wisdom and honor to the party.

Sidewalk in Front of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
Sidewalk in Front of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

Join the Party

Speaking of parties, 2024's special guest, the Wood Dragon, is all about sprouting new ideas and stretching those creative wings. Think of it as the universe's way of saying, 'Go on, paint the town red (or any color you like)!'

So, why not join the celebration in San Diego? Whether you're a local or just flying in, come for the vibrant festivities and stay a few days for the unique charm of our city. San Diego is not just a spot on the map; it's where the dragon's heart beats in the rhythm of joy and celebration.

Let's welcome the Year of the Dragon with open arms and a spirit of adventure. See you there!

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