Image of a Chinatown street during the Chinese New Year parade with a dragon and NYPD

NYC’s Chinatown celebrates the Chinese New Year with a bang and dragons of course!

If you’re considering a trip to NYC this winter, a late January trip will coincide with the Chinese New Year, a festive time to explore the Chinatown section of downtown Manhattan or Main Street in Flushing, Queens where the energy and excitement of the Lunar New Year celebrations is in full force. With upwards of 629,000 Chinese residents, New York City has the highest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia.

Chinese Lunar New Year (also called Spring Festival) is the biggest holiday for the Chinese culture. This lunar year from Jan 25, 2020 to Feb 11, 2021 will be the year of the rat which represents wisdom. Be wise and read on for our favorite reasons to visit NYC for Chinese New Year…

Aerial view of a Chinatown street with a parade for Chinese New Year with signs in Chinese characters

In the streets of Chinatown NYC you can immerse yourself in another culture

1. Explore NYC’s Multiple Chinatowns

NYC has multiple Chinatown areas; Manhattan’s Chinatown, Flushing in the borough of Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn are the three biggest, so stop by and immerse yourself in the culture, you’ll feel transported to another continent! In these neighborhoods you can find markets selling typical Chinese goods, foods, spices, and teas. You’ll notice the signage on stores and even restaurant menus are often entirely in Chinese characters, so if you’re not a native speaker, finding what you want might take a bit of creative expression.

Image of dumplings and Chinese dim sum in steamer boxes

Savor the tastes of NYC’s Asian cuisine for Lunar New Year (Photo credit: Unsplash)

2. Savor NYC’s Chinese Cuisine

NYC is undoubtedly a foodie paradise, with the largest variety of ethnic restaurants anywhere in the world. Sample ethnic Asian foods that venture beyond your local Chinese take out. You can find Chinese cuisine ranging from budget-friendly take out to trendy dumpling and noodle shops and upscale fine dining. Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine, generally considered Cantonese, prepared in bite-size portions, served in steamer baskets or on small plates, and eaten with the traditional chopsticks, a spoon or your hands. Peking duck is another delicacy you won’t find everywhere, but in Chinatown crispy ducks hanging in a restaurant storefront window is the norm.

Han Dynasty with locations in Brooklyn, the Upper West Side and the East Village, offers authentic Szechuan cuisine served family-style where several dishes are shared with the table. At Peking Duck House the specialty of the house is carved tableside with flair. Chinese Tuxedo in Chinatown Manhattan is a two-story venue in a former opera house offering a Lunar New Year banquet menu. Hakkasan, a high end London-based chain, in Midtown West serves modern Cantonese cuisine in an upscale setting with a New Year set menu.

Image of living room of 1 bedroom furnished rental NY-17716 in the East Village with city views

This stylish 1 bedroom furnished rental in the East Village (NY-17716) has city views

If you love Asian cuisine, you’ll have lots of dining options when you rent this 1 bedroom furnished apartment in Manhattan’s East Village and you’ll still be within walking distance of Chinatown. This stylish furnished apartment with private balcony gives you views over the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan. The East Village houses an array of restaurants serving all types of Asian cuisine from Japanese to Vietnamese so you can knock yourself out sampling them all.

Image of Asian women in traditional dress with parasols dancing

Immerse yourself in Asian arts and culture in NYC Photo credit: IQRemix [CC BY-SA ]

3. Experience Chinese Traditions

The two week long New Year celebration runs from Jan 17-Feb 9 and features fun and excitement for the whole family with parades, performances and a Firecracker Ceremony. The 21st annual Chinatown Parade on Sunday Feb 9th runs from Mott & Canal Streets to Chatham Square to East Broadway and ends near Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Aside from all the celebrations and the boom of fireworks, there are thousand-year-old traditions taking place during this time that are filled with history and meaning:

Image of cartoon child and mother cleaning with asian designed window and lanterns

Sweep out the old and bring in good fortune for the Chinese New Year (Photo credit:

Sweeping the House – People clean up their homes and throw away old things. This signifies sweeping away bad luck and welcoming the New Year. Just don’t do it on the first day of the holiday which means sweeping away the good luck and wealth of the new year!

Spring Festival Couplets – Spring Festival couplets are written in red paper with ink or gold paint, and were originally intended to scare away evil spirits. Chinese people put the couplets on both sides of their gates to add to the festive atmosphere.

Image of 1 bedroom furnished rental NY-1581 in Manhattan’s East Village with sleeping loft, red walls and chandelier over the dining table

Host a reunion dinner with your family in this 1 bedroom East Village furnished rental with extra sleeping loft (NY-1581)

A new year marks new beginnings, a time to change your environment to enjoy a new and different life. What better way to partake than to rent a furnished apartment and discover NYC? Get acquainted with lower Manhattan when you rent this 1 bedroom furnished rental in the East Village with an additional sleeping loft area with red accent walls (for good luck) and an elegant chandelier above the dining table, perfect for gathering friends or family for a New Year’s meal. You’ll also be close to Chinatown to partake in all the action and absorb the culture.

Image of a Chinese decoration hanging with red and gold with fish

Shop for Chinese designed decorations in NYC’s Chinatown markets Photo credit: IQRemix [CC BY-SA ]

The color red signifies China and good luck for the Chinese, why not join in the tradition and add some red throw pillows, a doormat or small rug at the entrance of your furnished rental? Hang a Chinese knot symbolizing luck and prosperity at the entrance to your apartment. Jazz up your furnished rental’s balcony or garden with red paper lanterns. Potted plants like kumquat, orange trees or chrysanthemums symbolize peace, health and luck so add one to your apartment.

Image of Lower East Side 1 bedroom vacation rental NY-15300 with bed, red decor and exposed brick

This Lower East Side 1 bedroom vacation rental (NY-15300) is close to Chinatown with red accents for good luck in the New Year

This 1 bedroom vacation rental on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is designed with touches of red decor for good luck and its location near Rivington & Chrystie St. gives you the good fortune of being close to the parade route and all the exciting festivities. The apartment features classic exposed brick while the building offers a lobby area where you can lounge, a gym to get your workout in after indulging at all the festival food vendors, and it also has convenient laundry machines as well.

Exchanging Red Envelopes/Presents – Luckily NYC has world class shopping to assist you with this tradition. Browse Chinatown markets or shops and department stores all over the city offering special Lunar New Year gifts to find the perfect item. Don’t miss the special Lunar New Year Lion Dance performances on Jan 26, 2020 while you shop at The Shops at Columbus Circle.

Image of a red and gold card with rat design for Chinese Year of the Rat 2020

2020 is the Chinese Year of the Rat (Photo credit: publicdomainpictures)

4. Connect with Family & Friends at a Reunion Dinner

A reunion dinner is an important holiday event, a gathering of all family members no matter how far the distance to travel may be. The meal is traditionally prepared by all family members together and dumplings are always part of it. Renting a furnished apartment for the whole family is a great way to celebrate the new year together. Shop the local Asian markets such as Fei Long Market in Brooklyn, or Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown to find Asian ingredients difficult to find elsewhere, and prepare your own family gathering.

Image of living room of Lower East Side 3 bedroom furnished rental NY-16964 with large curved sofa and TV

There’s room for the whole family at this 3 bedroom furnished apartment on the Lower East Side (NY-16964)

This 3 bedroom furnished rental on the Lower East Side of Manhattan is a great option if you’re staying in NYC for an extended time with the whole family or a group. The apartment is spacious to accommodate everyone in a location close to the holiday action while a fully equipped kitchen allows you to shop the local Chinatown markets for fish, produce and other original ingredients to prepare a family meal or reunion dinner to enjoy together. Gather in the living room with a roomy sectional sofa and flat screen television to catch the live New Year’s Eve Gala coverage.

Image of someone holding two unique ice cream cones

Grab some unique treats at Chinatown’s dessert shops (Photo credit:

Visiting friends and family is also part of the traditions of Chinese New Year, so head to a Chinese bakery such as Taipan Bakery, Lung Moon or New Golden Fung in Chinatown and pick up some pork buns, sesame balls, egg custard or moon cakes to bring along on your visit. Dessert cafes throughout Chinatown offer unusual and Instagram-worthy treats, so gather up your friends or family for an outing for something sweet.

Image of Asian dancer kicking her leg and holding a parasol with purple lighting

Catch an Asian cultural performance while you’re in NYC for Chinese New Year (Photo credit: Unsplash)

5. Experience the Arts with a Asian Twist

The fun and excitement isn’t limited to Chinatown, there are plenty of events all over NYC to celebrate the Year of the Rat. On January 28th the New York Philharmonic presents a Lunar New Year Concert conducted by Long Yu. Lincoln Center has the Shanghai Ballet performing Grand Swan Lake with musical accompaniment by the New York City Ballet Orchestra. On the other end of the music spectrum is The Year of the Metal Rat at Abrons Arts Center, a party featuring DJ’s and karaoke among other performances.

With so many exciting activities and events going on, NYC is the place to kick off the Chinese New Year. Maybe you’ll come for a short vacation or decide to make the Big Apple your home for new beginnings in the new year with a longer-term stay. New York Habitat has an apartment to suit every situation so book early by sending a request through our website for the best selection of furnished apartments in NYC.