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Fun Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year With Kids in D.C. and Baltimore

Things to Do DC/MD/VA Holidays

Millions of people around the world will ring in the Year of the Dog beginning on February 16, 2018, coinciding with the first new moon of the lunar calendar. While commonly referred to as “Chinese New Year,” Lunar New Year is celebrated by many countries, principally in East and South Asia.

Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Phillippines all celebrate the Lunar New Year. Each country has their own unique traditions and customs, but common to all celebrations are coming together with family and friends, festivals, gift giving, and preparing and eating traditional foods.

Korean Seollal Lunar New Year
South Koreans celebrate Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year, with traditional games.
Photo Credit: Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han)

Join in the Lunar New Year fun this year at one of these family-friendly celebrations in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Washington, D.C.

DC Chinese New Year’s Parade | Sunday, Feb. 18th at 2 p.m. The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) is holding its biggest and most diverse parade ever to ring in the Year of the Dog! This dynamic community-based parade will include traditional lion and dragon dances, Kung Fu demonstrations, firecrackers, live music, marching bands and more. Take the METRO to Gallery Place/Chinatown.

DC Chinese New Year Parade
Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection at the Library of Congress

Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Dog | Saturday, Feb. 18th 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. | Chinatown Community Cultural Center. Performances, Chinese lessons, face painting, kids crafts, and more. $5/person.

Lunar New Year Ice Cream Tasting Party at Ice Cream Jubilee | Feb. 7th - Feb. 18th 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Navy Yard and 14th St. Stores. Enjoy a tasting flight of 6 mini-scoops and an ice cream pint to take home! Flavors include: Roasted Barley Tea, Red Bean Almond Cookie, Matcha Green Tea, Thai Iced Tea, Kiwi Lemongrass, Citrus Sichuan Peppercorn. YUM!

The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Lunar New Year Performances:

  • Chengdu Puppets | Thursday, Feb. 15th 6 p.m. Characterized by beautiful sculpture, exquisite performance, and colorful music, Chengdu Puppets sing, dance, and even perform acrobatics. The performance showcases a variety of genres from the region, including shadow puppetry and marionettes.
  • Chengdu’s Traditional Folk Music | Friday, Feb. 16th 6 p.m. Experience the allure of Chengdu’s traditional folk music, with its flowing stringed instruments and otherworldly bamboo flutes. World-class artists from the region guide your journey in a diverse musical program.
  • Sichuan Opera | Saturday, Feb. 17th 6 p.m. Witness Sichuan Opera’s famed mask-changing technique, which reveals changes in a character’s emotion in the blink of an eye. This sleight of hand, combined with stunning acrobatics and dance, will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Kennedy Center Family Day: Lunar New Year Celebration | Saturday, Feb. 17th 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Watch footage of Bao Bao (who recently moved to Chengdu from the National Zoo) and write her a letter. Turn yourself into a panda or wear a traditional Chinese costume at the dress-up photo booth. Learn the arts of paper umbrella coloring, paper cutting and block printing. Observe masters at work with calligraphy, sugar painting, and Chinese makeup. Surround yourself with performances in folk dancing, acrobatics, and shadow puppetry. Enjoy hands-on fun at the traditional Chinese instrument “petting zoo,” dog and panda mask coloring, and more.

Washington Wizards vs. Charlotte Hornets | Friday, Feb. 23rd at 7 p.m. The hometown Wizards will rock special jerseys in honor of Chinese New Year as they take on the Charlotte Hornets in the heart of Chinatown at Capital One Arena. 

Washington Wizards Chinese New Year Game

The George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum Family Day: Chinese Lunar New Year | Saturday, Feb. 24th 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Enjoy music performances, create colorful zodiac animals from paper, and design your own jewelry inspired by the traditions of China's Guizhou Province. Visit the galleries to see the exhibition Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China during its opening weekend. 


Port Discovery Children’s Museum Chinese New Year Celebration | Saturday, February 24th 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Chinese Lion Dancers of Tai Yim Kung Fu School will perform the lion dance throughout the center of the Museum. Watch amazing performances of traditional and modern Chinese Dance by children, teens and adults from the Gina Ling Chinese Dance Chamber. Learn the art of calligraphy and chopsticks with the Xiamen Chinese Sister City. Plus, learn about animals with a live petting zoo from Wildlife Adventures, enjoy music and dance, and make festive art projects and more.

Chinese New Year

The Walters Art Museum Lunar New Year Celebration | Sunday, February 18th 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Celebrate the Year of the Dog with art-making, a scavenger hunt, and traditional Lunar New Year performances by the Baltimore Chinese School, the Johns Hopkins Lion Dance Troupe, and Korean Culture and Art Center of Maryland. Activities include themed crafts and scavenger hunt, dance performances, photo booth and more. 

City of Rockville Lunar New Year Celebration | Saturday Feb. 24th 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. | Richard Montgomery High School. The City of Rockville, in partnership with the city’s Asian Pacific American (APA) Task Force, hosts an annual Lunar New Year celebration, bringing the community together to celebrate Rockville’s Asian cultures. Celebration features a variety of performances, games and crafts, and cultural displays.

Taiwanese Association of America-Greater Baltimore Chapter Lunar New Year Celebration | Saturday, Feb. 17th 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus, Glass Pavillion. Co-sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Taiwanese Student Association, this will be a joyful night with good food and fun programs for both kids and adults. Tickets are $16 Adult / $9 Student. Kids 6 and Under are free.


Tysons Corner Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration | Saturday, Feb. 17th 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Fashion Court – lower level outside of Nordstrom. Enjoy cultural performances, tea sampling from MeiMei Fine Teas and participate in arts and crafts that celebrate the Year of the Dog! Chinese language teachers from the Confucius Institute at George Mason University will lead a papercutting workshop and even teach some simple Chinese phrases. Shoppers can also enjoy traditional Chinese music in the Spring House in the Greenbrier Concierge Lounge, located outside of Macy's on the lower level. 

Chinese New Year Drum
Chinese Drum, Photo Credit: Garry Knight from London, England

Fair Oaks Mall 15th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration | Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17th & 18th 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Traditional Chinese Dragon dance, spectacular music and dance performances from countries around the world, hundreds of performers, martial arts demonstrations, children’s arts and crafts.

Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets Lunar New Year Celebration | Saturday, Feb. 17th 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. | Food Court. Enjoy cultural performances, kids’ activities and special discounts to celebrate the Year of the Dog! 

CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. 

Tags: Chinese Lunar New Year Kids Family Fun Events Washington, DC Maryland Virginia