San Diego Chinese New Year
Food and Cultural Fair

San Diego Chinese new year

What's the best way to celebrate San Diego Chinese New year? The Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair, of course! This street fair is in its 32nd year and is a barrel of fun for the uninitiated and for the seasoned regulars. The event is not very big (only 2 city streets blocked off) but it sure has a lot of heart. It is estimated that there will be 25,000 visitors.

What to Expect

Two streets are blocked off: along 3rd avenue and along J street. this is in the Asian Pacific Historic District of downtown San Diego.

Booths will be arranged along the two streets. Vendors show and sell their wares including jewelry, art, clothing, knick knacks, and other Asian paraphernalia. Some booths provide information on Chinese associations and upcoming events.

Be sure to stop by the Children's Arts and Crafts tent where children can make a lantern. Children are invited to participate in the lantern parade later in the day.

At the corner of 3rd ave and J street is a stage. Here you will be dazzled by young performers:

San Diego Chinese new year

San Diego Chinese new year

Folk Dancers

San Diego Chinese new year San Diego Chinese new year

Martial Arts, Lion Dancing, Dragon Dancing, and more!
San Diego Chinese new year San Diego Chinese new year

San Diego Chinese new year Lion vs. Dragon

Many people confuse Lion dancing with Dragon dancing. It's not hard to differentiate the two: lion dancing only takes 2 people (the head and the tail). Dragon dancing takes more than 5 people and may need 20 performers or as many as 40 performers (though, this is quite rare). An Eastern dragon is long like a snake.

Lion Dancing is first performed on stage but after that, the lions parade up and down J and 3rd streets. If you want to have a closer look, hold out a lucky red envelope with some money inside, the lion will come and accept your offering!

In the past, the San Diego Chinese New Year dragon was on display throughout the day; let's see if we get the same treat this year. It's a great photo op!


How can you imagine a Chinese festival without food? Food vendors will supply you with sweet pastries, dim sum snacks, and more substantial meals. Shows are free, but food is not. Snacks (about $1) can be purchased with cash but meals (about $8) require that you buy tokens first and then exchange the token for food at the counter.

Raffle Tickets: buy a raffle ticket and get a chance to win a prize. Who knows maybe 2014 (or in the Chinese calendar: 4712) is your lucky year. Tickets cost $3 each and are considered tax-deductible donations.

San Diego Chinese new year

San Diego Chinese new year Although San Diego does not have a formal "Chinatown", you can still enjoy an exciting San Diego Chinese New Year. This Food and Cultural Fair is small yet offers enriching, family fun. Expect to spend 2 hours here.

San Diego Chinese New Year activities will be along 3rd Avenue between Island street and J street; and along J street (between 3rd and 4th avenue). The stage is at the corner of 3rd Ave and J Street.

There are many paid parking lots in the downtown area. Metered, street parking is rare, but not impossible to find. Keep in mind that street parking is free on Sundays. You can also park in Horton Plaza (2 blocks away): 3 hour free parking with validation from the shopping mall.

Porta-potties are available at the entrance of the Fair: at the corner of 3rd and Island, and at the corner of 4th and J.

Information and First Aid booths available on site. If you love Chinese food and the excitement of Lion dancing, then consider having dinner at the Jasmine restaurant. They offer a special Chinese New Year menu plus lion dancing as entertainment. Go to San Diego Chinese New Year Lion Dancing at Jasmine restaurant for more information.

San Diego Chinese new year