upper waypoint

Your Guide to the 2024 San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

The Yau Kung Moon Richard Ow and Susan Yee Kung Fu lion dance teams perform during the Chinese New Year Flower Market Fair in Chinatown, San Francisco, on Jan. 30, 2022. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with San Francisco’s dazzling Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday, Feb. 24, with comedian and actor Awkafina as the Grand Marshall and a new dragon arriving in the city from China.

Harlan Wong — this year’s parade director — calls the Year of the Dragon the most “powerful sign” in the Chinese Zodiac.

Jump straight to:

“This is the Year of the Dragon and, more importantly, is the Year of the Wood Dragon,” he said, explaining the association with trees and the color green. “So this is definitely hoping for a new beginning. A new growth for the society, for the economy.”

A man wearing a red t shirt holds a dragon's head prop outdoors.
Dylan Gong leads Boy Scout Troop 201 during the Lunar New Year parade in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood on Jan. 29, 2023. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

The Year of the Dragon is also a lucky one. Those born under the dragon sign are considered to be innovative thinkers and have an inquisitive mind. Birth years that fall under the Year of the Dragon include 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 and 2012. (You can find five dragon sculptures throughout San Francisco.)

Keep reading for our guide to attending one of the biggest celebrations in the Bay Area to mark Lunar New Year 2024.

What is the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade route?

Saturday’s Chinese New Year parade will begin at Second and Market streets at 5:15 p.m. PT. (Remember, sunset will be just before 6 p.m. that evening.)

A map showing transit lines within a city.
A map detailing the Chinese Lunar New Year parade route and transportation reroutes. (Courtesy ofSFMTA)

Crowds will get busier as the route approaches Chinatown, so depending on where you’re hoping to watch from, you may want to get there early to secure a good viewing spot.

The parade then goes around Union Square and ends at Kearny and Columbus Avenue. The parade is around 1.3 miles and will last around two and a half hours.

Do I need tickets to the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade?

The parade is a free event. However, if you want to sit on the bleachers, you will need paid tickets to be assigned a specific section (but not a specific seat).

You can purchase tickets online or on the Chinese New Year Parade official website, which range from $41 to $70. The $70 tickets come with a gift bag. The bleacher seating is free for children under two years, as long as they are sitting on the lap of a caregiver. Organizers suggest that if you buy tickets, you’ll need to be seated close to 4 p.m. to be ready for the start of the parade.

People dressed in bright green costumes and pink hats with face masks walk in formation while holding red drums and drum sticks.
A group performs a waist drum dance followed by traditional fan dancers during the Lunar New Year parade in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood on Jan. 29, 2023. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

If you need accessible spaces, you will also need a ticket. All sections of the bleachers will have wheelchair seating, but you will need a ticket.

There are four bleacher sections, each on:

  • Washington and Jackson streets
  • California and Sacramento streets
  • Kearny and Grant streets
  • Stockton and Powell streets

Portable restrooms will be available near the bleachers.

How can I get to the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade? Are there street closures?

Chinese New Year organizers strongly encourage public transportation with their list of transportation options.

The SF Muni bus system has a page where you can view updates and changes to the MUNI service and reroutes.

Street closures for the parade will be on Saturday from 3 p.m. to around 9:30 p.m.

  • Second Street between Market and Mission (starting earlier, at 2 p.m.)
  • Market between Second Street and Geary
  • Geary between Market and Powell
  • Powell between Geary and Post
  • Post between Kearny to Powell
  • Kearny between Geary and Pacific
A map showing transit lines within a city.
A map detailing the Chinese Lunar New Year parade route and transportation reroutes. (Courtesy ofSFMTA)

Is there any parking for the Chinese New Year parade?

There are parking garages at:

  • Union Street at 123 O’Farrell Street
  • Chinatown at 250 Clay Street and 733 Kearny Street
  • North Beach at 735 Vallejo Street and 766 Vallejo Street

You can also get a parking pass on websites like SpotHero.

What will the weather be like on Saturday for the Chinese New Year parade?

The parade will be happening rain or shine, according to the Chinese New Year parade’s official website. The current forecast calls for a low of 51 F, with a mostly clear sky, so bring warm layers — this is San Francisco, you know the drill — and perhaps an umbrella, just in case.

You can also adorn yourself in lucky colors like red and gold to mark the Lunar New Year.

Sponsored

What can I not bring to the Chinese New Year parade?

The organizers say the parade is a public event, so you should not bring things like weapons, firearms, explosives or drones.

“In consideration of others. We also ask that no coolers, pets, selfie sticks or camera tripods are allowed in the bleacher sections,” the website reads.

What other events are happening to mark the Lunar New Year?

You can view the official Chinese New Year event calendar on their website.

KQED’s Caroline Smith contributed reporting to this story.

Sponsored

lower waypoint
next waypoint
State Prisons Offset New Inmate Wage Hikes by Cutting Hours for Some WorkersCecil Williams, Legendary Pastor of Glide Church, Dies at 94Erik Aadahl on the Power of Sound in FilmFresno's Chinatown Neighborhood To See Big Changes From High Speed RailKQED Youth Takeover: How Can San Jose Schools Create Safer Campuses?How to Attend a Rally Safely in the Bay Area: Your Rights, Protections and the PoliceWill Less Homework Stress Make California Students Happier?Nurses Warn Patient Safety at Risk as AI Use Spreads in Health CareSilicon Valley House Seat Race Gets a RecountRainn Wilson from ‘The Office’ on Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution