Celebrate Chinese New Year
The Golden Dragon Parade with its incredible marching bands, bright floats, and gorgeous costumed performers are all a lead-up to the Chinatown Central Plaza non-stop party. Entrance is free (unless you opt for grandstand seats). Now in its 118th year, the February 4th event starts at 1 p.m. and is the perfect way to take part in over a century of Chinese tradition right in the heart of Los Angeles.
Thousands flock to town just for this event, which includes over 24 floats, dignitaries and celebrities, and a heated float competition. It’s a way to celebrate the Lunar New Year and promote diversity for Angelenos. Ancestors are remembered, families give thanks for the year’s blessings, and red envelopes of money (known as Lai see and Hung bao) are exchanged. Firecrackers end the night with a festive vibe.
What to Expect
Hosted by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce, around 110,000 spectators attend every year. Arrive to the parade route in Chinatown early for a good spot. Since 1989, the Chinese lion and dragon procession have been called the most beautiful in the country. Today’s dragon cost $1,500 to originally purchase and requires 25 men to move.
New dragon heads have since been imported from Hong Kong, and a variety of local families were recruited for cultural dances. Post-Vietnam War, a number of refugees arrived in Los Angeles and became vital to the parade. Grand Marshals have included Bruce Lee and David Carradine, and there are also surprise celebrity appearances.