When living in San Francisco, the influence of Asian culture cannot be denied: from the Japanese Gardens to Chinatown, Asian cultures are definitely an important part of San Francisco’s mosaic. With such a strong influence from Eastern cultures,  it is no surprise that San Francisco’s Chinese New Year festival has been rated one of the top ten parades in the world. The event is also free!

The parade began in the 1860s, and today it is one of the few remaining night parades. Its use of lights with floats and performers sets it apart from day parades and makes it a can’t-miss event. Over 100 groups participate in the parade, including floats, school marching bands, martial arts groups, and Chinese acrobats. The parade ends with the Golden Dragon: a 200-feet long dragon that is accompanied by thousands of firecrackers. It is quite the impressive sight!

For information about the parade route, check out the map below. According to the Chinatown San Francisco website, the best places to view the parade are as follows:

  • Bleacher seats you can buy along the parade route.
  • TV broadcasters area along Union Square.
  • Many people line the area around Portsmouth Square.
  • Review stand area at the end of the parade, where floats are judged

The parade will be held on Saturday, February 23 from 5:15 to 8:00 pm. There is no cost to attend.

CISL San Francisco students might notice that the route is very close (less than half a mile) from our Broadway campus!