Chinese New Year is a wonderful opportunity for travellers to see spectacular parades and other (free!) festivities. Many major cities around the world stage events, thanks to their Chinese communities; and of course China and Hong Kong have huge celebrations.
Chinese New Year: Background
For background about Chinese New Year, see:
See also Chinese New Year Parade: Photo Gallery
Chinese New Year Celebrations in Major Cities
Please check dates at websites carefully, in case a site hasn't updated for 2013.
San Francisco: Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade
A giant illuminated night parade has been a tradition here since just after the Gold Rush in the 1860's. Expect to see elaborate floats, martial arts, stilt walkers, lion dancers, acrobatics, a 201-ft.-long Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung"), and exploding firecrackers. The date of this televised parade is Saturday, February 11, 2013. Watch for the 250' Golden Dragon carried by a team of over 100 people. About.com's guide for California for Visitors has photos from past San Francisco Chinese New Year Parades.
San Francisco has other Chinese New Year celebrations also: a street fair, a Flower Fair, and more.
Seattle's Chinatown/International District is the setting for this annual celebration; the venue is Hing Hay Park, and admission is free to see lion and dragon dances, live cultural performances, children's activities, arts & crafts, and more. Kids will enjoy a Children's Costume Parade Contest.*
Los Angeles Golden Dragon Parade
Celebrated for over a hundred years, this parade takes place in LA's Chinatown and over 110,000 people line the route. Check out many other Los Angeles Chinese New Year Celebrations and Vietnamese New Year festivities, too.
Chinese New Year in New York City
About's Guide for New York City offers a roundup of the celebrations and also has pictures of the Dragon Parade.
Queens: Lunar New Year Parade
Flushing, Queens, is home to a large Chinese population, rivaling Manhattan's Chinatown. Other east Asian communities -- especially Koreans-- join in a major Lunar New Year Parade that features dragon dancers, steel drummers, and fireworks. About's Guide for Queens has details.
Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated in Chinatown with a parade, lion and dragon dances, and other festivities. Look out for a giant firecracker!
Honolulu's Chinatown, Oahu, Hawaii
Honolulu has many festivals and traditions for Chinese New Year, including a Lion Dance, Lantern Festival, and dragon boat races.
Chinese New Year in Vancouver, BC
A Spring Parade is held annually in Chinatown on the first Sunday of the Lunar New Year, with entertainment and a lion dance -- see Chinese New Year Parade info. Typically, following the parade is a "Cultural Fair" at the nearby beautiful Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden.
Chinese New Year in Canada: Overview
Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, and Montreal also have celebrations.
Round the World: Chinese New Year Celebrations
Chinese New Year - in China
About.com's Guide to China has background about Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival events, and also has photos, a calendar, and even a Q & A for travelers. Fireworks happen everywhere!
Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
Huge celebrations happen in Hong Kong. The International Chinese New Year Parade is a must-see, as are the fireworks over the harbor. Many celebrations around the world have spread by emigration from Hong Kong.
Major festivities happen here as well, including a giant night parade and spectacular fireworks. Past years have seen 3000 performers and pyrotechnic floats, an annual Chinatown "light up" with a month of celebrations, and a riverside carnival with cultural performances.
Singapore is not the only city in Southeast Asia with a large Chinese population. About.com's Guide for Southeast Asia Travel also highlights events on Malaysia's island of Penang. And the Vietnamese New Year Tet celebrations follow the same lunar calendar.
Chinese New Year in Sydney Australia
Sydney's Chinese New Year Festival is billed as "the largest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside Asia." 2013 festivities will include a Twilight Parade. About.com's Guide for Australia Travel has colorful photos from a previous Chinese New Year in Sydney's Chinatown.
About's Guide for London for Visitors covers Chinese New Year festivities in London, which include a grand parade and also many centered in Trafalgar Square.
Chinese New Year Celebrations Around the UK
Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham... many cities in the UK celebrate!
Chinese New Year in Paris
Paris has a large French-Chinese community, and Chinese New Year is one of the city's most popular annual events, with a parade and special performances.
Thanks to a cooperative arrangement between Helsinki and Beijing, this city celebrates Chinese New Year big-time, with fireworks, performances, a Chinese market, and live broadcasts of Beijing events. 15 days after Chinese New Year, a Lantern Festival is held with free entertainment.
*Always check for updates!