Happy (Chinese) New Year!

In case you didn’t already know, the Chinese New Year is this Sunday (2/10). Can you believe we’re headed into the year of the snake already? I know I can’t. Time flies when you’re having fun.

snake

And speaking of fun, there’s going to be plenty of excitement going on to celebrate! Although Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles is waiting to throw a big shindig until next weekend (the 16th and 17th – I’ll get to that in a bit), you can still get started on the festivities early by visiting the Hammer Museum at UCLA this Sunday the 10th at 2PM. It’s completely free and should be a good time for visitors of all ages. The festival will be providing live music from the Music of China Ensemble of UCLA, and will be teaching guests to decorate their own paper lanterns and write Chinese characters, amongst other things.

What I’m really excited for, is the Chinatown celebration. There’s no way I’m going to miss it! Again, I’ve got to emphasize the FREE aspect of this. There’s a whole weekend of awesome Chinese New Year-related activities and entertainment going on and it all kicks of on Saturday the 16th at 1PM with the 114th Golden Dragon Parade. First of all, who doesn’t love a good parade? And second of all, who doesn’t love to see a friggin’ giant dragon floating down the street! The parade starts at HIll/Ord and ends at Broadway/Cesar Chavez so be sure to get your seats along it route.

dragon

On both Saturday and Sunday you can expect to enjoy a wide range of entertainers on the main performance stage from singers to dancers, yo-yo-ers, hoop divers, and more! There’s going to be amazing food (even if Chinese isn’t your style, there’s a whole list of LA gourmet food trucks that will be on site) plus a beer garden! Duh, winning! Plus you can check out a number of artisans that will be hanging around making candy and dough sculptures, doing face paintings, doing magic, telling stories, etc. They’re even going to be attempting to break a world record for Chinese paper folding. There’s actually so much going on during this celebration that I can’t even begin to list it all.

Bottom line? I’m psyched.

china

Even without the Chinese New Year going on, Chinatown is still a super fun place to visit. While you’re there, be sure to check out all of the local shops and make a wish at the famous China Town wishing well.

wish

Don’t have a car? Don’t want to worry about parking? No problem. For those of you that have never “gone Metro”, the Metro Gold Line will literally dump you off right in the heart of Chinatown for cheap. Plus there are a number of busses that can get you there. Check out the Metro website to plan your trip.

Happy year of the snake to you all!

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