You don't have to be in Asia to celebrate the arrival of the year of the dragon, January 23. From New York City to Vancouver, there are parades, performances and other events marking the Lunar or Chinese New Year in many North American cities.
In New York City, the Lunar New Year Parade & Festival takes place January 29 in Manhattan's Chinatown, 11:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. The event winds through parts of Lower Manhattan, including Little Italy, the Lower East Side and Mott and Canal streets in the heart of Chinatown; details on the route at http://betterchinatown.com/LUNAR-NEW-YEAR-PARADE.php.
In the city's Flushing, Queens, neighborhood, which is also home to a large Asian population, a parade is scheduled for February 4 kicking off at 11 a.m. Other holiday events include a Lunar New Year "Dance Sampler" with performers from all over Asia, February 4, 2 p.m. at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
In Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada, a parade is scheduled for January 29 at noon starting at Millennium Gate on Pender Street, with a cultural fair planned as well, http://www.cbavancouver.ca/parade.html. The neighboring city of Richmond, which is 65 percent Asian and easily reachable by train from Vancouver, is also a center of new year activities, including special menus at some of the 200-plus Asian eateries on Alexandra Road, along with performances, demonstrations and other events at the city's three large Hong Kong-inspired malls. Richmond's International Buddhist Temple also hosts new year events, including a flower bazaar January 18-January 23 and a chant and group prayer 10 p.m. to midnight January 22, http://www.buddhisttemple.ca/.
In California, San Francisco's events include a parade February 11, a flower market fair January 14-15, a 10K and 5K run on February 19 and a celebration at the San Francisco Zoo January 29. In Los Angeles, the Golden Dragon Parade is scheduled for January 28 at 1 p.m. along North Broadway in Chinatown, http://www.lagoldendragonparade.com/ . For something different, try L.A.'s "Great Chinatown Hunt," January 29 at 11 a.m., $35 to participate in this search for clues in alleyways, temples, shops and courtyards; ttp://www.racela.com/schedule.html. The Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles is hosting a lantern festival March 3. Just east of downtown Los Angeles, in Monterey Park, a Chinese New Year festival is scheduled for January 28-29, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Beverly Hills plans a celebration on Rodeo Drive on January 20, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., with performances including a lion dance and drum corps. Retailers and restaurants will be offering deals and themed specials, and the first 1,000 people to check in at the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau table that evening on the 400 block of Rodeo Drive near the Lladro boutique will receive a "good fortune" envelope with offers from local businesses. Details at http://www.lovebeverlyhills.com/dragon.
In Washington D.C., the Textile Museum is opening an exhibit called "Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep," February 3 through early 2013. The exhibition presents objects that portray dragons from all over the world, including the ancient Mediterranean, imperial China and contemporary South America. (A naga is a mythological being, half-human, half-serpent.) Also in Washington, a parade and festival are scheduled in Chinatown for January 29, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. From noon to 5 p.m., a Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival takes place at the Chinatown Community Cultural Center, 616 H St.
In Portland, Ore., the year of the dragon will be marked by lion and dragon dances, martial arts demos, feng shui talks, performances and other events, January 23-February 6 at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus is honoring the Chinese New Year with a new show called "Dragons" that premiered January 4 for a 90-city tour.