Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chicagoland

Consider this your lucky red envelope of fantastic and free family friendly ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chicagoland. And if your family is like mine and constantly sick during the winter, there are also some fun ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year from the comforts of home. I’m just hoping that my little monkeys don’t celebrate the year of the monkey by constantly jumping on the bed.

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Chicago Where to Eat and What to See - www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com



Hongbao at 900 North Michigan Shops

February 6th

Enjoy giveaways from retailers (all involving lucky $8 denominations) as well as music, lion dance performances, calligraphy demonstrations, and food tastings.


Chinese Kickoff Celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center 

February 8th

Bundle up and head outside to enjoy beautiful displays of music, martial arts, puppets, traditional lion dances and more from the Chinese Fine Arts Society from noon until 1 p.m.


Brookfield Zoo Lunar New Year Celebration

February 6th

Head over to the Brookfield Zoo to enjoy family friendly indoor and outdoor year of the monkey fun. Activities include crafts, photo booths, a special scavenger hunt in the Tropic World house, face painting, cooking demonstrations, zoo chats, lucky red envelopes, costumed dancers, and much more.


Argyle Street Chinese New Year

February 13th

Head to Uptown to celebrate the year of the monkey and enjoy fireworks, lion dancers, floats, dragons, and more, starting at 1 pm. Insider Tip: Use public transportation.


Chinese Lunar New Year Parade

February 14th

Looking for the most upbeat and authentic Chinese new year celebration? Then celebrate in Chicago’s beautiful Chinatown. The parade runs from 1-2 pm, starting at 24th Street and Wentworth.


Chinese New Year Lantern Festival at the Navy Pier Crystal Gardens

February 21st

Want to celebrate the year of the monkey indoors? I don’t blame you. Be sure to visit the gorgeous Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier between noon and 4 pm to enjoy music, dance, martial arts, and get the kids involved in calligraphy, paper cutting, and lantern making crafts.




Purple Monkey Playroom

Purple Monkey Playroom in Bucktown is one of our favorite places to play everyday, but even more so on Monday, February 8th. Bring a friend to play and BOTH families gets ½ off regular admission price or receive $4 off a pass purchase.




Chicagoland is filled with delicious eats and treats, but I have to say that these are the absolute BEST for celebrating the Lunar New Year. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended, and remember that you can also enjoy these fabulous foods all year long.

Joy Yee Noodle—Chinatown, Evanston, Naperville, and Tinley Park

Ming Hin—Chinatown, Downtown, Naperville, and Rolling Meadows (opening soon)

Phoenix Restaurant—Chinatown

Lao Hunan—Chinatown

Lao Restaurants—Multiple Chicago locations, including Evanston




Don’t feel like take out? Then be sure to try my family’s favorite recipe and my favorite shortcut ever: Trader Joe’s frozen Chinese food.

Sweet and Sour Chicken (or Pork if you prefer)

-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-1 pound chicken or pork (cut into bite sized chunks)

-1 green pepper (cut into chunks)

-1 can drained pineapple chunks

-1 cup celery (cut into chunks)

-2 tablespoons ketchup

-2 bouillon cubes

-1/2 cup vinegar

-1/3 cup sugar

-2 tablespoon corn starch or flour

-Salt and pepper to taste


Brown chicken in vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper, Add celery, peppers, and pineapple for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ketchup, vinegar, sugar, and bouillon cubes to create a broth. Add corn starch or flour to thicken the sauce. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Serve with rice.



Be sure to check out all of the different frozen Chinese food options Trader Ming has for you. We love their fried rice (both veggie and pork fried rice) as well as their orange chicken, teriyaki chicken, and spicy beef with broccoli. All you have to do is open the bags, warm the food per packaged directions, and enjoy!

And to finish off your Chinese New Year Celebration, check out my Pinterest page to find some fun and unique arts and crafts for the entire family.


Looking for ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday and Valentine’s Day? No worries, I have you covered.

Happy New Year!



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  1. Pam says

    There is not much to do for Chinese New Year in our area. I would love to be in Chicago right now so I could participate in some of their festivities.

  2. Vera Sweeney says

    These are great ways to celebrate Chinese New Year! I love that so many places in Chicago have so many different things to do, my kids would love some of these events!

  3. Rebecca Swenor says

    These are all great ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chicagoland. The Purple Monkey Playroom sounds interesting and would be awesome for my niece’s kids. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  4. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green says

    I’m sure we have Chinese New Year celebrations are my area. DC is really good about sharing cultural events and that is one thing I love about this area.

    I’ve never tried to make dumplings or anything. I wonder if I can pull that off.

  5. Lashawn Wiltz says

    All of these events look like great ones to celebrate the Chinese New Year! I have never been to Chicago but this makes it sound like tons of fun.

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