Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at These Dallas Lunar New Year Events

Lion dances. Lucky foods. Red envelopes. Here’s how to ring in the Lunar New Year.

lion dance at galleria dallas
Let the Lion Dancing commence. | Courtesy Galleria Dallas
Let the Lion Dancing commence. | Courtesy Galleria Dallas

The Year of the Dragon swoops in on Saturday, February 10, marking the Lunar New Year (and a potential endorphin rush for Game of Thrones fans). Also referred to as Chinese New Year, Tet (Tết Nguyên Đán in Vietnam), Spring Festival, and Losar (in Tibet), this year’s high-flying, flame-throwing symbol brings with it luck and good fortune. And lucky for you, Lunar New Year events in Dallas-Fort Worth commemorate the biggest celebration in Asia, particularly China, Vietnam, Korea, and Tibet without the need for a passport. Read on for 14 places where you can take part in joyous ceremonies and immerse yourself in some rich cultural experiences this weekend and throughout February.

February 9, 5–9 pm
SomiSomi, Frisco, Free
Musical performances, local food purveyors and retail vendors, lion dancers, a fashion show, calligraphy artist, and the centuries-old tradition of red envelopes highlight a night market presented in collaboration with the Frisco Inclusion Committee.

February 9, 5:30–7:30 pm
The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Free
The Guiyang Committee from one of Fort Worth’s sister cities, Guiyang, China, co-presents a Year of the Dragon celebration at the Kimbell Art Museum. Experience a trio performing on traditional guzheng instruments, learn more about the history and traditions of Chinese Art, and join in a scavenger hunt that leads visitors through the museum’s permanent collection. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

February 9, 10 pm
Uptown, Free
Ring in the Lunar New Year at midnight with a late-hours, 21-and-over party. Theory Nightclub Uptown will transform its interiors with elaborate decor, props, and special performances throughout the evening. A complimentary sake reception runs for the first hour of the event. Dress code is strictly enforced.

February 10, 9 am–noon
NorthPark, Free
All around NorthPark Center in collaboration with the Crow Museum of Asian Art, various Year of the Dragon activations take place throughout the morning. Highlights include storytime with Park Cities Chinese School, the Texas Songbirds Guzheng Ensemble by Uko Music Studio, numerous arts and crafts activities for children, and Lion Dancers by Rising Phoenix in the courtyard between Nordstrom and Macy’s. Plus, check out a special Lunar New Year art exhibition titled Kotodama (言霊) Converse by Nishiki Sugawara-Beda, represented by Cris Worley Fine Arts, on the first floor between ZARA and Vuori.

February 10, noon-3 pm
McCall Plaza, Free
The first 460 guests will receive Lucky Money envelopes, so plan to arrive early at this three-hour celebration. It starts with the Texas Womens Society performing traditional and contemporary dances, followed by a Happy Feet performance. The Shaolin Wu-Yi Institute will offer a Kung Fu demo, and the Plano Mayor and City Council members will make remarks. To cap off the event, a lion dance will wind throughout the Downtown Plano Arts District starting in McCall Plaza and ending on 15th Street.

lion dance performance at galleria dallas
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon at Galleria Dallas. | Courtesy Galleria Dallas

February 10, 2 pm
Galleria Dallas, Free
Snap a few photos in front of the magnificent display of nearly 250 ornate red lanterns hanging above the ice rink at Galleria Dallas. The lantern display will run through February 20 in celebration of Lunar New Year. On February 10, near Sephora on the first floor, the HD Lion Dance Foundation presents a traditional performance along with a high-energy drumming show.

February 10, 4–10 pm
Grandscape, The Colony, Free
Traditional and contemporary music and dance performances highlight a full evening of fun. Dine around a variety of food vendors, shop at a night market set up throughout the property, and participate in activities for the entire family. An immersive art experience by Dan Lam, the Dragon’s Throne, will be at The Homestead and shouldn’t be missed.

Wok Star JL Lion Dance Troupe
Courtesy Wok Star

February 10, 5:30 pm
Wok Star Chinese, Free
The JL Lion Dance Troupe takes the energy of the already-hopping Wok Star Chinese scene to new heights. Take plenty of pictures of your experience while you dine and enter their Instagram contest for your chance at winning one of five $25 gift cards. You can also enjoy a special Lunar New Year dessert, sesame balls, through February 25.

February 10–24
Elephant East, $14–$54
Through February 24 (excluding Valentine’s Day), enjoy a specially crafted Year of the Dragon food menu featuring pork spring rolls, Chinese dumplings, whole steamed snapper, and longevity noodles. Specialty cocktails include a spicy, tequila-based Dragon’s Breath, and a more traditional gin-fueled Singapore Sling.

February 11, 11 am–3 pm
Richardson, Free
The City of Richardson, the CORE District and the Dallas Chinese Community Center joined forces to present this year’s Lunar New Year festival. The all-ages event features dragon and lion dances and a variety of other cultural performances, martial arts demonstrations, art-making opportunities, music sessions, and calligraphy stations. Because it’s held at DFW Chinatown, you can shop and dine at the center’s many businesses, too. Free parking and a shuttle service will be provided.

February 11, 11 am–10 pm
Preston Center, West Village, Southlake, Fort Worth
All day long, you can sip on specially created red cocktails to coordinate with the Lunar New Year theme of luck and happiness. Special menu items include crispy Money Bag Dumplings, Longevity Lobster Noodles (a traditional New Year dish that symbolizes a long life and good health. Staff members will randomly award diners with one of 50 red envelopes, each containing a prize that could be a free appetizer, dessert, or something even more special.

February 11, 2–4 pm
Carrollton, Free
Members of The Carrollton Sun Ray Chinese School have created several activities and performances celebrating Chinese culture and the Lunar New Year in particular at this fun-for-all-ages event at the Carrollton Public Library.

February 11, 3 pm
Lower Greenville, Free
Ngon, the Vietnamese restaurant staple on Greenville Avenue, takes its Lunar New Year celebration seriously. Order a Tipsy Dragon (also available as a mocktail if you’ve extended your Dry January) then sit back to watch the lion dance and drum performances at 3 pm. Members of the staff will be wearing new Áo dàis (traditional Vietnamese long tunics), but guests who wear them on the day of the event will receive a special red envelope.

February 25, 5:30 pm–8 pm
Plano, Free–$80
If this weekend’s already booked with activities and you can’t make any of the Lunar New Year festivities, fear not. JS Chen’s DimSum & BBQ commemorates the Year of the Dragon with a variety of cultural performances: a dragon/lion dance, the Dun Hua orchestra, and various dancers. A special 10-course traditional New Year meal will be offered with selections including Peking Duck, General Tso’s Chicken, Shrimp with Chinese Broccoli, and a selection of wine. Feel free to BYOB wine and alcohol, too, if you wish. A portion of proceeds from the dinner event benefits the North Texas Food Bank.

San Antonio

San Antonio’s famed attraction, the River Walk, is always a place to celebrate any occasion, and as with previous years, a boat parade carrying lanterns in the shapes of animals in homage to the zodiac signs will float along the river on select nights over the course of two weeks. Walk along to the end of the River Walk to Pearl, where Best Quality Daughter awaits. The Asian-American restaurant is the hippest place in town for cocktails and a dripping-with-sauces char siu. You’ll most definitely need help to eat it, but that’s what dinner parties are for.

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Steven Lindsey loves to explore, whether it’s sampling the best restaurants around Dallas-Fort Worth, hot air ballooning over the Arizona desert, or climbing a pyramid in Mexico. He contributes to Thrillist and a variety of online and print publications.