How to celebrate Lunar New Year in Sydney

This February, celebrate Lunar New Year – aka the Year of the Dragon – in spectacular style in Sydney with a number of exciting events across the city, from art installations to lion dancers and concerts.

What is the Lunar New Year?

A celebration for many cultures in Sydney, including the city’s Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Korean communities, this year's Lunar New Year falls on 10 February, with the city hosting an exciting number of events from 10 – 25 February. Think street parades, lion dancing, huge lanterns, pop-up markets, art installations and plenty of delicious food. 

Fun fact: 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, the fifth character in the Chinese zodiac, which is a symbol of good luck, honour and success in Chinese culture. 

Chinese Gardens, Darling Harbour - Credit: Anna Kucera

Lunar New Year celebrations at the Chinese Garden of Friendship - Credit: Anna Kucera |

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. Street parties, live entertainment, delicious food, lion dances, dragon boats, and art and light installations will dazzle crowds during the 16-day festival starting Saturday 10 February.

Dragon Boat Races, Sydney Lunar Festival - Credit: City of Sydney

Dragon Boat Races, Sydney Lunar Festival - Credit: City of Sydney

Sydney Lunar Streets is a return favourite – when the lanes of Haymarket come alive with live entertainment, roving performers, market stalls, food trucks and plenty of Insta-worthy moments on 10 February. From 5pm, head to the main stage at Hay Street for performances from Sydney’s Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Japanese community groups. 

Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship for tea ceremonies, fortune readings, a Twilight Garden Party and more, and continue your journey to Darling Harbour for exhilarating jet pack shows (10 and 24 February), lion dances (10 and 17 February) and dragon boat races (16-18 February). Of course, it wouldn't be a celebration without food, so be sure to round up your loved ones for a cosy dinner or bustling banquet. There are over 150 places to eat and drink in Darling Harbour, including authentic Asian eats in Darling Square and Darling Quarter. 

Jetpack show in Darling Harbour, Sydney Lunar Festival - Credit:

Jetpack show in Darling Harbour, Sydney Lunar Festival - Credit:

On 17 February, a number of cultural groups will take to the Centennial Hall stage for the Lunar Spectacular in a vibrant celebration of dance, music and song. Free tickets will open for booking on Friday 2 February. 

In tribute to Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese architecture, Haymarket's Chinese Gateway (intersection of Thomas Street and Hay Street), Korean Gateway (intersection of Ultimo Road and Thomas Street), Thai Gateway (intersection of Campbell Street and George Street) and Vietnamese Gateway (intersection of George Street and Barlow Street) will be handpainted and illuminated at night through the duration of the festival as part of Lunar Gateways.

Lanterns lining the streets for the Sydney Lunar Festival

Lanterns lining the streets for the Sydney Lunar Festival - Credit: City Of Sydney

Countless pieces of art will also feature throughout the city, including lanterns designed by artist Erika Zhu leading people down George St and into Haymarket, the light rail dragon designed by artist Andrew Yee and a takeover of Dixon St Mall with a beautiful installation. 

Throughout the festival admire the lion dancers set to weave in and out of crowds to thunderous drumming at Town Hall and throughout Haymarket. For dates and times, click here.

Lunar New Year Celebrations

Lunar New Year celebrations, Chinatown

Chatswood Year of the Dragon Festival 

From 1-25 February, Chatswood puts on a festival of art, music and food to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Headline events include the main Celebration Day which features lion dancers and stalls selling Asian food and wares; a Lantern Parade complete with marching bands, performers and, of course, hundreds of lanterns; and the Lunar Comedy Gala, returning after three successful years at The Concourse Concert Hall

Chatswood Lunar New Year Celebrations

Chatswood Lunar New Year Celebrations

Lunar New Year in Burwood

Burwood hosts a two-day extravanagnza to celebrate Lunar New Year, called New Impressions. The weekend will be packed with performances, rides and entertainment, as well as face painting, chinese calligraphy activities, food stalls, market stalls, kids craft activities and more. Outside of this celebration, head to Burwood Park's open-air cinema on 17 February to catch screenings of Monster Hunt 2 and Lucky Grandma; watch a number of cultural and musical performances in the streets of Burwood on 10 February and 24 February; and join a game of Mahjong at Burwood Hotel from 15 February.

Couple enjoying Burwood Chinatown at night, Burwood

Burwood Chinatown, Burwood

More fun to be had 

Many restaurants put on special menus and banquets for Lunar New Year. A few favourites include Spice Temple, Ho Jiak Haymarket, Kitchens on Kent at The Langham and Aria, as well as the multiple venues by New Shanghai, The Lotus Dining Group and Din Tai Fung. 

On 10 February, head to Parramatta Square and Centenary Square to join Parramatta's Lunar New Year festivities, a night filled with decorations, celebrations, delicious food and live entertainment. Lunar New Year Celebrations are also held at Bankstown’s Chang Lai Yuan Chinese Gardens in Nurragingy Reserve on 10 February, complete with a fireworks display, dragon dance, free kids craft workshops, and food and market stalls.

Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown

Lunar New Year Celebrations, Blacktown - Credit: Lunar New Year Celebrations

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