In 2015 we ring in the year of the sheep, and San Francisco’s Chinatown will be celebrating all month long. The neighborhood is the oldest Chinatown in North America and is home to the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. February is one of the best months to visit, as the area will be alive with the sights and sounds of Chinese New Year festivities, which culminate in a spectacular parade on March 7. This San Francisco tradition dates as far back as the Gold Rush and has become the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Join the party and watch as lion dancers, elaborate floats, marching bands, stilt walkers and a 268-foot-long Golden Dragon take over the streets of Chinatown.
WHERE TO EAT:
LAI HONG LOUNGE
New in town, this spot has quickly become a local favorite for its traditional and affordable dim sum. 1416 Powell St., San Francisco, 415.397.2290
Celebrity chef Martin Yan serves traditional Chinese New Year dishes that reflect contemporary China. He’ll host entertainment and a live noodle pulling performance on Feb. 8. 845 Market St., 4th fl., San Francisco, 415.580.3001
This fusion restaurant located just off the parade route will ring in the New Year with lion dancers and a special menu featuring dishes associated with good luck and prosperity. 314 SutterSt., San Francisco, 415.693.0303
Known as one of Chinatown’s most authentic spots, Z & Y serves up northern Chinese dishes fused with spicy Schezuan flavors. 655 Jackson St., San Francisco, 415.981.8988
NOT TO MISS:
GOLDEN GATE FORTUNE COOKIE FACTORY
A San Francisco staple. Watch as some 20,000 fortune cookies are handmade each day by two women in this tiny factory. 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco.
This free tour is offered every Monday and Saturday of the month. Learn about Chinatown’s colorful history as you tour its alleys, temples, tongs and countless shops.