Boasting one of the largest Chinatowns in the United States, Chicago plays host to a number of festivities to kick off the Year of the Rooster. Here’s some of what we recommend:
Parades and celebrations
DePaul Chinese New Year Gala DePaul University hosts its ninth annual Lunar New Year celebration, featuring a buffet dinner and a variety of cultural performances. Fri 1/27, 6-9 PM, DePaul University Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield, depaulchinesestudies.wordpress.com, free.
Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration Dance shows, art displays, and a performance by the China National Peking Opera at the Art Institute. Sat 1/28, 10:30 AM-4:30 PM, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, 312-443-3600, artic.edu, free with museum admission.
Chinese New Year Kickoff Celebration The Chinese Arts Society celebrates with an afternoon of Chinese dance, music, and martial arts. The event features some of Chicago’s greatest artists, as well as a showcase by Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe from Beijing. Mon 1/30, noon-1 PM, Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 773-935-6169, chinesefinearts.org free.
Argyle Lunar New Year Parade The annual celebration features colorful lion dances, traditional Chinese music, and other festivities. The parade route begins under the Argyle Red Line stop, and will move east along Argyle, south along Sheridan, west along Ainslie, and north along Broadway before returning to Argyle. Sat 2/4, 1-2:30 PM, 773-878-1064, exploreuptown.org, free.
CAMOC New Year Celebration The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago plays host to a lion dance, a selection of traditional foods, arts and crafts, and author Richard Lo discussing his book New Year. Sat 2/4, 2-4 PM, Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, 238 W. 23rd, ccamuseum.org, free for members, $5-$10 for non-members.
Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade A stream of lion and dragon dances, marching bands, and colorful floats travels through the streets of Chinatown for the annual Lunar New Year parade, attracting more than 30,000 spectators every year. The parade follows Wentworth Avenue from 24th Place to Cermak. Sun 2/5, noon-3 PM, 224-534-9034, chinatownspecialevents.com, free.
Neighborhoods of the World: China Dancers, musicians, artists, and vendors take over the Navy Pier Crystal Gardens for a festive afternoon celebration. Sun 2/12, noon-4 PM, Navy Pier Crystal Gardens, 600 E. Grand, chinesefinearts.org, free.
Food and drink
Duck Duck Goat’s Annual Chinese New Year Party The inaugural pop-up party at Stephanie Izard’s West Loop Chinese restaurant kicks off the Year of the Rooster with assorted foods and drinks. Mon 1/30, 6 PM, Duck Duck Goat, 1520 W. Fulton, 312-600-9601, duckduckgoatchicago.com, $100.
Dumpling Making Dinner Make your own dumpling dinner and learn the historical and cultural significance of the food at the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute’s annual dinner. Admission includes a full traditional Chinese meal, including crab rangoon, Mongolian beef, and more. Sat 2/4, 3-4:30 PM, Hing Kee, 2140 S. Archer, 312-842-1988, chicagocci.com, $35-$40.
Chinese New Year Brunch MingHin Cuisine in Chinatown hosts a celebratory brunch before the annual Lunar New Year Parade, including dim sum, shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, and more. Sun 2/5, 10:30-11:30 AM, MingHin Cuisine, 2168 S. Archer, minghincuisine.com, $25-30.
Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce Dinner This festive dinner celebrating the Lunar New Year features a traditional lion dance, a red envelope ceremony, and a variety of classic dishes, including braised ham hock, thousand island prawns, and more. Thu 2/9, 6-9 PM, Phoenix Restaurant, 2131 S. Archer, 312-326-5320, chicagochinatown.org, $75.
Music, film, and art
Chinese Lunar New Year 2017 The Art Institute’s galleries feature traditional Chinese art installations while the museum cafe offers Chinese cuisine. Through Sat 2/11, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, 312-443-3600, artic.edu, free with museum admission.
Chinese New Year Celebration Concert The Chicago Symphony Center showcases the vibrant history of Chinese music through the ages in a two-part celebration concert. The show begins with a performance by China’s Shaanxi Province Song and Dance Theatre National Orchestra, and closes with a presentation of The Butterfly Lovers violin concerto by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Robert Chen. Sun 1/29, 3 PM, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000, cso.org, $20-$75.
Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe Jackie Chan’s hand-picked kung fu troupe from Beijing combines bits of kung fu and traditional Chinese dance in the show 11 Warriors. Sat 2/4, 7:30 PM, Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress, 312-341-2300, auditoriumtheatre.org, $33-$155.
Arts and Culture Doc Fest The second installment of Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s Doc Fest features a total of seven documentaries celebrating Chinese music, art, dance, and history, including Seeking the Tibetan Melody and Fish Worship. Sun 2/5, 10:30 AM-4:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-315-6393, asianpopupcinema.org, free.
The New Year’s Eve of Old Lee Asian Pop-Up Cinema screens the Chicago premiere of The New Year’s Eve of Old Lee, a Chinese film about a woman who returns to her father’s home in Beijing to celebrate the New Year with her own daughter, and the conflict that breaks out among them. Thu 2/9, 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-315-6393, asianpopupcinema.org, free.