The Ultimate Guide to Lunar New Year in Los Angeles
The best ways to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, from luxurious dinners to street fairs and retail therapy.
Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations across Asia and the Asian diaspora. This centuries-old holiday is a time for families of many East and Southeast Asian cultures to gather, feast on traditional foods, give red envelopes stuffed with money, and usher in a new year of prosperity and good fortune.
This year, the festivities kick off on January 22. To welcome the Year of the Rabbit, we’ve gathered 18 ways you can celebrate in Los Angeles—from watching dragon parades to sharing a special meal with your loved ones.
Where to dine out
Lunar New Year celebrations are often dominated by large feasts as families come together. Every culture has its lucky foods—Chinese families serve a whole chicken to signify unity, Korean tteokguk (rice cake soup) symbolizes longevity, Vietnamese bánh tét (sticky rice cakes) promise luck—many of which you’ll find on these LNY menus.
From Jan 21-28, this legendary Beverly Hills fixture is serving up a Heaven & Earth Prosperity prix-fixe menu. For $180 you’ll receive eight courses, ranging from rabbit dumplings in honor of the Year of the Rabbit to founder/chef Helene An’s famous roasted crab and garlic noodles (topped with edible 24-karat gold for LNY) to represent longevity and wealth. On Jan 21, diners will also enjoy a lion dance, lucky red envelopes, edible art, and more entertainment as part of the restaurant’s celebratory kickoff.
How to book: Reservations available through their website.
Bistro Na’s specializes in Chinese imperial court food—meaning they employ a cooking style once reserved for the emperor that makes this cult-fave destination worth the splurge for a special occasion. From Jan 21-Feb 5, Bistro Na’s is offering five set Lunar New Year menus (starting at $336) for groups of two, four, six, or 10, with dishes that feature some of the most prized delicacies, such as braised abalone and sea cucumber.
How to book: Call 626-286-1999 to make a reservation.
Located on the Pendry hotel rooftop, Merois is one of Wolfgang Puck’s latest additions to LA’s culinary scene. From Jan 27-28, they’re commemorating the Year of the Rabbit with a $165 prix-fixe menu, which stars the celebrated chef’s signature Asian-inspired flavors with a king crab bao bun, star-anise-braised short rib, and barrel-aged black cod. Even better, your meal will come with live entertainment and stunning Sunset Boulevard views.
How to book: Reservations available through SevenRooms.
While Paradise Dynasty (the first U.S. outpost of a successful Singapore chain) is actually located in Orange County, its Lunar New Year menu is worth the trek. From January 16 – February 12, the restaurant’s serving its take on popular Chinese specialties to eat during the holiday—from stir-fried lobster ($78.88) to black-truffle-poached chicken (starting at $38.88) and steamed abalone ($13.88). Prices end in “88” as the number eight is a symbol of fortune and good luck in Chinese culture. They’ll also be giving out red envelopes with restaurant vouchers, while supplies last.
How to book: Reservations available through OpenTable.
Chef Jon Yao is hosting a nine course dinner series over five nights from January 24–28 at his celebrated tasting menu restaurant at ROW DTLA, but he isn’t hosting it alone—the team at Kato is also welcoming in two guest chefs, Chef Tam Debhakam of Bangkok’s Baan Tepa and Chef Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s in Brooklyn. Each chef will plate three courses inspired by the Lunar New Year dishes and traditions of their childhood, bringing their own unique perspective and personal history to the multi-course meal. The $325 also includes a wine or non-alcoholic drink pairing to go with it.
How to book: Reservations available through Resy.
Where to order takeout
Don’t feel like cooking for the holiday? Fortunately for you, some of Los Angeles’s best restaurants are offering take-home packages.
Cantonese favorite RiceBox is offering two Lunar New Year specials. Its renowned baked chicken—a whole bird stuffed with abalone, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried scallops, and more that requires hours of meticulous preparation by chef/owner Leo Lee—is available for $128 for pickup on January 20. If you’re hankering for a different type of bird, they’ve also got a dry-aged duck served with caviar from AAPI-owned Astrea, available for $268 for pickup on January 21.
How to order: Email email@example.com or send a direct message via Instagram at @riceboxla.
Since opening in 2021, Open Market—a neighborhood market, cafe, and wine shop beloved for its sandwiches—has highlighted Los Angeles’s rich cultural landscape through its food. Now they’re weaving that theme into an LNY dinner drop, starting at $90. Their take on Peking duck explores the intersection between LA’s Chinese and Mexican immigrant populations with a whole duck cooked in multiple ways, including a dry-aged breast and confit leg, accompanied by fermented salsa, Mejorado tortillas, and other sides. For dessert, there’s five-spice-flavored tres leches cake soaked in black forbidden rice horchata.
How to order: Order for pickup on Jan 26 through their website.
In collaboration with fellow Korean-owned businesses like MDK Noodles, Lucky Rice Cake, and Loaf Language, Seoul Sausage’s delicious Seollal kit ($69.99 for two people) includes tteokguk, dumplings, bulgogi udon, an array of banchan, black sesame macarons, and more.
How to order: Order for pickup on Jan 20 through their website.
Where to satisfy your sweet tooth
Because no grand feast is complete without dessert, check out these sweet treats for a sweet year from some of LA’s most beloved bakeries.
LA’s go-to cupcake purveyor Sprinkles is teaming up with Gold House, a nonprofit collective of Asian and Pacific Islander leaders, on a limited-edition Gold Bunny cupcake ($6). For its first-ever LNY creation, Sprinkles is paying homage to the almond cookies traditionally gifted during this time of year with an almond-studded red velvet cake sandwiched between almond cream cheese frosting and an almond cookie crust. The cupcake will also be a part of the Lunar New Year Red Box ($88), which includes other best-selling treats and red envelopes designed by a Gold House artist.
How to order: Order the Gold Bunny or Lunar New Year Red Box for local delivery or in-store pickup from Jan 16-29.
No one does artful pastries, cakes, and confections like Stephanie Fong of Go Cakes. Although the skilled baker has always specialized in Asian desserts, she’s taking it up a notch for the Year of the Rabbit. Her beautifully crafted Lunar New Year treats incorporate elements that are familiar in Asian cuisine—such as Sichuan peppercorn—but rarely used in sweets. For the holiday, she’s selling a set of four delicate desserts ($68) and an orange mandarin cream puff tower ($88).
How to order: Place an order for pickup on Jan 20-24.
The Korean-American pastry chefs behind MIL Bakery, Loaf Language, Ah. Nuk, and Kin Bakeshop are collaborating on an outstanding Seollal pastry set ($48). Inside the box, you’ll find six treats—including a brioche donut stuffed with Korean pear jam filling, a persimmon yakgwa (a traditional, deep-fried Korean cookie), and a roasted sweet potato buttercream macaron—all of which reflect a distinctly Korean-American identity.
How to order: Place an order for pickup on Jan 22.
What to do
Whether you want to catch a lion dance or learn how to make a traditional treat, there’s plenty to do for Lunar New Year.
Lunar New Year foods are rich with symbolism, and Chinese tang yuan—chewy glutinous rice balls—are no exception. Served plain or filled, these dumplings represent togetherness and the gathering of families. Now you can learn how to make them, thanks to a dessert workshop hosted by the mother-and-daughter duo behind Gu Grocery, a neighborhood market concept, and Rooted Fare, an LA-based small business. During class on Jan 28, you’ll make (and eat!) black-sesame-stuffed tang yuan.
How to attend: Sign up for the class via their website.
Hoof it over to Santa Anita Park on Jan 22, the first day of Lunar New Year, for a celebration hosted by the Diamond 100 Racing Club. When you’re not betting on your favorite mares, take in all the festivities: a blessing ceremony, costume parade, game booths, dragon and lion dances, two stages of singing and dancing, and a money tree, where red packet giveaways (including one that will contain $5,000) await. The day will culminate in the Lunar New Year Cup competition, so if you’re feeling the lunar luck, place your best bet.
How to attend: Purchase a ticket on their website.
On January 28 from 12-6 pm, LA Chinatown’s Chinese New Year Festival is a lively celebration with food trucks, craft vendors, eating competitions, and cultural workshops featuring Chinese seal carving and calligraphy. But the main attraction for the thousands of spectators begins at 1 pm, when the annual Golden Dragon Parade starts its procession down North Broadway—a display of lion dances and other performances from marching bands, dance troupes, and music groups.
How to attend: While this event is free and open to the public, limited grandstand VIP seating is available for purchase here.
On Jan 29 from 9 am – 6 pm, this family-friendly street festival takes over part of downtown Alhambra’s Main Street. You’ll find two stages: one dedicated to performances and exhibitions, including a lion dance, calligraphy instruction, and cultural dances from China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and more, and a culinary stage for cooking demos of traditional Asian dishes. While you’re there, explore more than 100 booths offering giveaways and activities.
How to attend: Free and open to the public.
Now through Jan 22, the L.A. Zoo’s marking the Year of the Rabbit with a slate of kid-friendly programming, including a Wall of Well Wishes to share hopes for the new year and Chinese-zodiac-themed arts and crafts. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, L.A. Zoo Lights will also showcase cultural performances—including kung fu and acrobatics, fan dancing, dragon parades, and Chinese calligraphy demos—while Asian food trucks serve up delicious bites.
How to attend: Lunar New Year activities are included with zoo admission. Tickets available through their website.
Where to shop
One of the oldest Lunar New Year traditions calls for buying new clothes before the new year in order to symbolize fresh beginnings and hopes, so go on and commemorate the holiday with a touch of retail therapy.
Now through Jan 31, several retailers at The Americana at Brand—like Nordstrom and See Eyewear—are offering exclusive specials and discounts in honor of the holiday. Plus, on Jan 29 from 2-5 pm, visitors will enjoy a festive lion and dragon dance parade. The Americana’s sister property, The Grove, is also celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with promotions from the property’s stores and restaurants.
On Jan 21 from 11 am-6 pm, Blossom Market Hall will host a Lunar New Year pop-up featuring goods by local AAPI makers. When you’re not browsing through all the trinkets available for purchase, treat yourself to food and drinks from the food hall’s vendors. Asian-inspired coffee purveyor AK Fresh Roast will pass out red envelopes with an offer inside, while beer/wine bar Angel & Mason will serve a special holiday beverage.
Not only is MAUM Market celebrating its one-year anniversary on January 22, it’s also hosting an inaugural LNY event after being tapped by the City of LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Created to showcase local Asian-owned brands and small businesses, the rotating craft fair will pop up at the historic Lankershim Arts Center from 11 am-3 pm. Entry is free to shop a curated edit of 28 AAPI makers and check out kids’ activities, food trucks, photo ops, and more.