Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year in Sydney

Celebrate Lunar New Year, aka the Year of the Tiger, in spectacular style in Sydney.

A celebration for many cultures in Sydney, including the city’s Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean communities, Lunar New Year begins on 1 February, with the city hosting exciting a number of events through to the end of the month. Think street parades, lion dancing, huge lanterns, pop up markets, art installations and plenty of delicious food.

Fun fact: 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, the third character in the Chinese zodiac, which embodies confidence, bravery and unpredictability.

Men playing drums and percussions for the lion and dragon dancers in Chinatown, Sydney during Chinese New Year 2018

Lunar New Year, Sydney

Sydney Lunar Festival

Each year the Lunar New Year celebrations in Sydney seem to get bigger – and are now said to be one of the biggest outside Asia. At the centre of the celebrations is the CBD’s Sydney Lunar Festival, running from 29 January until 13 February.

Lunar Lanes is a return favourite – when the streets of Haymarket come alive with live entertainment, roving performers, market stalls, food trucks, DJs and plenty of Insta-worthy moments. Entry is free, and the fun starts at 5pm on Saturday 29 January.

Dragon and lion dancer performing in Chinatown, Sydney during Chinese New Year 2018

Lunar New Year, Chinatown

Take a picture with one of the nine lion dancers set to weave in and out of crowds to thunderous drumming – the colourful 10m-long LED dragon is especially a sight to behold. Walk through an immersive artwork designed by ceramic artist Susan Chen at Dixon Street Mall, which will be transformed into a perfect balance of ying and yang. Keep an eye out for the 100 Good Wishes Quilt displays, scattered throughout six locations in Chinatown and based on children’s drawings. Watch live music on the main stage on Hay Street. And, once you’ve worked up an appetite, take your pick of delicious Asian restaurants for dinner.

Couple take a selfie in front of the Chinatown gates on Dixon Street, Sydney City

Lunar New Year, Chinatown

This year, as part of Lunar Lanterns, eight ‘Tigers’ have been created and dropped throughout the CBD at four locations: George St, in front of The Galeries; George St, in front of Event Cinema; Cnr Liverpool and George Street; and Little Hay Street, Chinatown.

Designed by artists Alexandra Sommer and Brad Clark, the giant, eye-catching artworks can be found on the Lunar Tour. The free, self-guided walk is available on the Sydney Culture Walks app – download from the App Store or Google Play.

A young boy enjoying a night out at the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival 2018, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.

Chinese New Year Lantern Festival, Sydney

Meanwhile, the Australian National Maritime Museum is hosting three weekends of cultural performances, art installations, family-friendly workshops and more. Each weekend, Mandarin-language tours and the Lunar Seas Kids Activity Trail will be available. The Chinese Garden of Friendship also puts on a program of events perfect for families, with tea ceremonies, brush painting workshops and more.


Lunar New Year at The Rocks

From 4-13 February, The Rocks will be putting on a celebration of sizzling Asian street food, lion dancers, live entertainment and bustling markets – all bathed in the glow of red lanterns.

The Rocks Lunar Markets in The Rocks, Sydney City

The Rocks Lunar Markets, Sydney City

Stop by for a free 10-min personalised Chinese horoscope reading on George Street; shop for handcrafted jewellery, textiles, homewares and art among the stalls; enjoy a calligraphy demonstration; refresh yourself with Tiger Beer’s pop-up bar on Playfair Street; or attend a fascinating talk with chef and television personality Adam Liaw on Asian cuisine’s huge influence in Australia.

Popcorn kiosk in Laneway Cinema at The Rocks

Popcorn kiosk in Laneway Cinema at The Rocks  - Credit: Place Management NSW

DJ sets by Mowgli May, Mark Matthews, DJ Nielsen, Fly Girl and Krystie Steve are also on the agenda. On Friday nights, classic film buffs should settle in at the Laneway Cinema at The Rocks – free open-air movie screenings on bean bags and deck chairs.


Chatswood Year of the Tiger Festival

From 27 January until 20 February, Chatswood also puts on a festival of art, music and food to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Events include a Comedy Showcase featuring legends from The Project, Triple J and The Chaser; The Magic Flute opera performance by Pacific Opera and Willoughby Symphony Orchestra; and a concert at The Concourse. Come Thursday, Friday or Saturday evenings to browse the 35 unique stallholders at The Golden Market, a foodie heaven.

Lion dance at Chatswood Year of the Tiger Festival in Chatswood, Sydney North

Lion dance at Chatswood Year of the Tiger Festival

While visiting, be sure to check out the ‘Curious Tiger’ – a giant white tiger mum standing 10m tall and peering over the edge of the Reflection Pool at The Concourse. At her feet are four tiger cubs, which can be seen playing from Chatswood Library.


More fun to be had

Many restaurants put on special menus and banquets for Lunar New Year. A few favourites include Spice Temple, Salt & Palm in Glebe, Ho Jiak Haymarket, Hyde Hacienda and Bodhi Restaurant, as well as the multiple venues by New Shanghai, The Lotus Dining Group and Din Tai Fung. On 11 February, the Sydney Fish Market organises lion dancers to entertain visitors enjoying a seafood lunch.

Couple enjoying Chinese dumplings at New Shanghai in  Chatswood, Sydney North

New Shanghai, Chatswood

Lunar New Year celebrations are also held at Bankstown’s Griffith Park on 29 January, complete with Chinese firecrackers and a watermelon eating competition, as well as Campsie’s Anzac Street Mall, which puts on a night noodle market on 18 February. Or head to Darling Harbour on 29 January for fireworks, multi-coloured LED lion dancing and pop-up performances around the bay, as well as a Lunar Block Party at the Pier Street Underpass.