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Celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State

Enjoy Year of the Rabbit events in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver and beyond

For millions of people around the world, Lunar New Year is all about new beginnings. It’s a time for family parties, vacations and reunions, as well as cultural gatherings that connect the greater community. For anyone wishing to celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State, there are many events to choose from, including activities for kids and families.

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit—an auspicious year because it’s thought to be positive for all animal zodiac signs. This year, Lunar New Year begins Sunday, Jan. 22, with celebrations starting the week prior in Washington State. Festivities continue until early February.

In addition to the U.S., the holiday is celebrated in many countries including Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam. (In Vietnam, 2023 is the Year of the Cat.) While every celebration is unique, many events spotlight good health and good fortune, and the importance of community.

Here’s a sampling of free or lower-cost events where you can celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State.

Celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State at one of many celebrations, including Tết at Seattle Center.
Celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State at one of many celebrations, including Tết at Seattle Center. Photo is from the Seattle Center.

Greater Seattle

Lunar New Year Celebration at The Bellevue Collection

Saturday, Jan. 14: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Enjoy a full day of events and activities, beginning with live entertainment at 11 a.m. inside Bellevue Square. Don’t miss the Lion and Dragon Parade performed by the International Lion Dance and Martial Arts team at 2 p.m. Throughout the day, experience family-friendly activities: make your own masks, bookmarks and stickers; learn how to make a good luck knot; learn about calligraphy and much more. All events and activities are free.

Tết in Seattle – Vietnamese Lunar New Year at Seattle Center

Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Tết in Seattle showcases two days of festivities marking Vietnamese New Year. Usher in the Year of the Cat (as the Year of the Rabbit is known in Vietnam) with art, food, music, hands-on activities for kids, local vendors and more. This free event also includes a health fair offering free screenings and immunizations. Interpreter support will be available. 

Lunar New Year Celebration Show at Seattle Public Library

Tuesday, Jan. 17: 2-3 p.m.

Seattle’s downtown Central Library comes alive with Chinese dance, music and a variety of performing arts at its Lunar New Year Celebration. Co-presented by Seattle Sunshine Performing Arts Group and Huayin Performing Arts Group, this is a free, all-ages event.

Lunar New Year at Kirkland’s Peter Kirk Community Center

Saturday, Jan. 28: 2-4 p.m.

The city of Kirkland opens its doors for an all-ages, free Lunar New Year event. Learn how Lunar New year is traditionally celebrated, and enjoy activities including crafts, food and dancing. 

Year of the Rabbit Celebration in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District

Saturday, Feb. 4: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy live music and dance, plus a food walk in the Chinatown-International District. Visit for lunch and stay to shop and browse the unique shops.

Spokane Chinese Association presents a Lunar New Year celebration at the historic Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
The Spokane Chinese Association showcase at the historic Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox is one of many opportunities to celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State. Photo is from spokanechinese.org.

Spokane

Spokane Chinese Association Lunar New Year Celebration

Sunday, Jan. 15: 1 p.m. with live show at 5 p.m. (tickets required)

The Spokane Chinese Association presents a full day of events at the historic Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Beginning at 1 p.m., enjoy free admission to the cultural fair featuring activities such as Chinese calligraphy and painting, a Lunar New Year photo booth, and cuisine sampling. Tickets are required for a live performance showcase beginning at 5 p.m. Enjoy traditional Chinese folk dances, live music, Peking Opera, a lion dance and more. Tickets for the 5 p.m. show range from $8 to $23. Click here for ticket availability.

Spokane Lunar New Year and ANHPI Business EXPO

Saturday, Jan. 28: Doors open at 1 p.m.; Fireworks begin at 7 p.m.

Enjoy a free day of family-friendly activities and entertainment capped off by evening fireworks at the Spokane Lunar New Year celebration. The event also features an ANHPI (Asian Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander) business expo. Fun fact: the first Lunar New Year celebration on record in Spokane was in 1888.

Tet Xuan: Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebration at Tacoma’s Eastside Community Center is a free event for all ages.
Celebrate at Tacoma’s Tet Xuan Lunar New Year Celebration at Eastside Community Center. Photo is by Jefferson Mok/metroparkstacoma.org

Tacoma

Tet Xuan: Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebration

Sunday, Jan. 15: 1-4 p.m.

Come one, come all to the Tet Xuan: Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebration at Tacoma’s Eastside Community Center. Hosted by Chùa Phước Huệ Buddhist Temple, the Vietnamese American Community Association and Golden Bamboo, this free all-ages event features music, martial arts, calligraphy, a lion dance and cultural art exhibition, plus a red envelope ceremony. The event also includes a free vegetarian lunch.

Tacoma Public Library Lunar New Year Crafting Events

Make Your Own Paper Lantern
Begins Tuesday, Jan. 17 and continues while supplies last
The youngest members of the family will enjoy making paper lanterns with a free Chinese New Year craft kit from Tacoma Public Library. Visit the Main Branch or the Eastside Community Center to pick up a children’s craft kit and bring the fun home with you.

Create a Year of the Rabbit Craft at the Swasey Branch
Wednesday, Jan. 18: 5-7 p.m.
Create free Year of the Rabbit crafts to hide around Tacoma. The Swasey branch will host crafting stations, including button-making, stamping and exclusive rabbit art created by local artists. This all-ages crafting event is inspired by the citywide scavenger hunt known as Monkeyshines, an annual treasure hunt that takes place during Lunar New Year.

Lincoln District Lunar New Year Celebration

Saturday, Jan. 28: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Follow along as lion dancers weave their way through Tacoma’s historic Lincoln District, setting off firecrackers along the route. Grab a bite to eat at one of many local restaurants and food trucks, and shop at a pop-up marketplace featuring local makers. Free parking is available at Lincoln High School. 

Celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State at the Vancouver Chinese Association Gala.
Enjoy music and dance performances at the Vancouver Chinese Association Gala. Photo is by visitvancouverwa.com.

Vancouver

Chinese New Year Celebration Gala

Saturday, Jan. 28: 5-9 p.m.

Join in a celebration of Chinese culture at Skyview High School as the Vancouver Chinese Association ushers in the Lunar New Year. Tickets for the annual gala, which features live music and dance, are $15.

Celebrate Lunar New Year in Washington State and Beyond

These events are just a sampling of the many celebrations and happenings across the Pacific Northwest. If you’re interested in celebrating Lunar New Year in Washington State, be sure to check local event calendars, plus library and city websites, for events in your neighborhood.

Travel Tip: Some Lunar New Year celebrations include firecrackers and other loud sounds. For those sensitive to noise, call ahead to learn more about what to expect.


Road Trip Tips

Before you go: Get ready for your road trip with a AAA Membership. Get peace-of-mind on the road plus travel and insurances services and much more.

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Check discounts: AAA membership gives you access to exclusive entertainment discounts nationwide.

—Compiled by Suzanne Lee 

—Top photo is from Ksuklein/Dreamstime.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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