10 ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the DMV

Here’s how locations across the region are celebrating the Year of the Rat.

friendship arch in chinatown washington dc
© jonbilous / stock.adobe.com

Lunar New Year 2020, also known as Spring Festival, starts on Saturday, Jan. 25 and ends on Tuesday, Feb. 4 this year, and the DMV is not missing out on celebrating accordingly. 

From DC’s annual parade to a Lunar New Year-inspired ice cream tasting, here’s how to make the most out of the Year of the Rat. 

KC Lunar New Year 2020
Wednesday Jan. 22 through Sunday, Feb.2, various times
In its first winter season, REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts will host a continuous Lunar New Year celebration, ranging from over 100 winter lanterns on display (with colored LED lights and crafted by Chinese artists) to multiple orchestra performances. Family Day will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, where attendees of all ages can enjoy free activities, such as arts and crafts, demonstrations of calligraphy, zodiac stickers and exciting performances. There are so many ways to celebrate, you’ll want to be sure to check out the schedule in advance. // John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC; Family day, free for all; Other performances require tickets

Lunar New Year Ice Cream Tasting Party 2020
Wednesday,  Jan. 22 through Tuesday, 28, 1-8 p.m.
At Ice Cream Jubilee in DC, Asian flavors play a big role in the way the sweet treat’s custom flavors are developed. In honor of the new year, the local ice cream shop will be hosting ice cream tastings with holiday-inspired flavors on a “flavor flight.” Enjoy flavors of roasted barley tea, red bean almond cookie, matcha green tea, citrus Sichuan peppercorn, chocolate yuzu and ume plum sesame leaf. It’s sure to be a sweet way to kick off a week of festivities or put a cherry on top to a great year ahead. // Ballston Quarter Market: 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 301 Water St. SE, Washington, DC; and 1407 T St. NW, Washington, DC; $16 per person

13th Annual Chinese New Year Festival
Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Now in its 13th year, the Asian Community Service Center’s celebration will be better than ever. Attendees can expect cultural performances including dragon and line dances, Asian food buffets, a New Year’s parade, health and business vendors, a local craft show, children’s activities and much more. The mission of the event is to return to tradition, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to kick off the Year of the Rat in a variety of ways, from stage performances to lots of great food. // Luther Jackson Middle School: 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church; $5 per adult, $2 children ages 6 to 12

Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 25, noon-5 p.m.
The Asian American Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the Lunar New Year in style. The organization’s annual celebration will include Chinese dance performances, Lion Dance, Chinese instrument and Gu Zheng performances, as well as other Asian cultural performances throughout the day. The event will be hosted in the Grand Court at Potomac Mills. // Potomac Mills: 2700 Potomac Mills Circle, Woodbridge; free

Chinese New Year – Year of the Rat
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2 p.m.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center is kicking off the new year with fun for the whole family. Celebrate with interactive games, live stories and hands-on crafts for the kids, while also participating in the Ribbon Dance and Dragon Parade that will have everyone on their feet with excitement. // Hidden Oaks Nature Center: 7701 Royce St., Annandale; $8 per person  

The George Washington University Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, Jan. 25, 5-8 p.m.
Welcoming faculty, staff, students and the wider community, the Mount Vernon campus of The George Washington University will be honoring the Lunar New Year with East Asian history to offer everyone the chance to network with community members, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, watch student performances and create long-lasting local connections. // The George Washington University: Mount Vernon Campus: 2100 Foxhall Road NW, Washington, DC; free

Lunar New Year Festival
Saturday, Jan. 25 & Sunday, 26, 1-5 p.m.
This two-day celebration will be filled with festivities and local entertainment to honor the Year of the Rat. Catch martial arts and dance performances from over 15 countries over the course of the weekend while bonding and connecting with community members. // Fair Oaks Mall: 11750 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax; free

Lunar New Year Celebration at Tysons Corner Center
Sunday, Jan. 26, noon-4 p.m.
What better way is there to start and celebrate the Lunar New Year than by seeing local performances and national brands, such as Bloomingdale’,s honor the occasion? Tysons Corner Center will welcome guests from near and far for an afternoon filled with entertainment from the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe and Jow Ga Shaolin, as well as timely activations from numerous retailers. // Tysons Corner Center: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons; free

DC Chinese New Year Parade
Sunday, Jan. 26, 2 p.m.
Marching their way down Eye Street, Eighth Street, G Street and Seventh Street, dozens of performers will light up the nation’s capital for the Year of the Rat. Catch the celebratory parade with appearances from the Chinese Youth Club Lion Dance Troupe, the Chinese Senior Citizens Association, the DC Chinese American Museum, the NBA Wizards’ cheerleaders and mascot, the Big Apple Circus and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. There’s so much more to enjoy and you won’t want to miss out on this once-a-year event. // Sixth and Eye Street NW, Washington, DC; free

Chinese Lion Dance
Saturday, Feb. 1, 10:30-11 a.m.
If celebrating with the kids, stopping by the Burke Centre Library is a great way to introduce them to Chinese Lion Dance, with a live performance that will demonstrate emotions such as fright, anger, grace and joy, as the lion dances and moves to the rhythm of a drum, gong and cymbals. // Burke Centre Library: 5935 Freds Oak Road, Burke; free

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