San Francisco's Chinese New Year
If you have always wanted to take a trip to San Francisco, consider visiting the city during the Chinese New Year. The city's Chinese New Year festivities are a great addition to the year-round sites and activities that delight visitors to the city. San Francisco has one of the absolutely best and largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China.
The Chinese New Year falls on February 14 in 2010, so if you're able to travel to the city then, you're in for not only a great New Years festival, but you can enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day vacation as well. As the clock strikes twelve on February 13th, the year of the ox will come to an end and it will usher in the year of the tiger. Throughout the month of February, visitors to San Francisco can enjoy some of the most unique and interesting festivities the city has to offer.
This year's celebrations start on February 6 with the Southwest Airlines Mini-Procession and Ribbon Cutting. The Mini-Procession features lion dancers, stilt walkers and more. At the end of the processions route is the Chinese New Year Flower Fair which lasts for the weekend. The Ribbon Cutting at the end of the procession marks the official start of the New Years festivities.
At the Flower Fair, visitors can purchase a variety of symbolic flowering plants such as oranges and tangerines. The event also features auspicious foods for sale and live Traditional Chinese entertainment, including lion dancing, on stage both days of the fair.
After the Mini-Procession and the Flower Fair come a few more fun and interesting New Years events. On February 20th visitors can buy tickets to the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Pageant, which brings together young women from all over the United States to compete for scholarships and become the goodwill ambassador for the Chinese Community for the year. The Harrah's Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Coronation Ball is held on February 26th, featuring the crowning of the 2010 Miss Chinatown U.S.A and her court. If you are looking for exercise instead of evening events, register for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce/Chinatown Run, held on February 21. Runners can register through the Chinatown YMCA for the 10K/5K Run/Walk, and there are even gifts and random prizes for participants.
One great event that visitors to San Francisco won't want to miss is the Chinese New Year Community Street Fair. There will be music and dance as well as a variety of modern to ancient Chinese traditions and art.
All of these events lead to the grand finale of the San Francisco Chinese New Years Celebration: the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade. The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco has a very long history spanning all the way back to the 1800s. It is considered to be one of the worlds best parades, and it is even more spectacular since it is an illuminated night parade. Today the parade has dancers, floats, acrobats, children and of course, the magnificent Golden Dragon, which is carried by over 100 people.
Beyond the Chinese New Year celebration, San Francisco has plenty to offer its visitors. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic images of California and the west. The cable cars are also worth a ride, climbing up the steep Nob Hill and back down to Fisherman's Wharf.
Fisherman's Wharf is a great place to spend some time during a visit to San Francisco. The wharf is near the Aquarium of the Bay and the marketplace and restaurants of Pier 39. From Fisherman's Wharf, visitors to the city can also catch cruises to Alcatraz Island. Of course, what trip to San Francisco would be complete without the harrowing drive down the amazingly crooked Lombard Street?