Experience San Francisco during its most colorful and festive time of year. On Feb. 16, Chinese New Year will kick off the Year of the Dog with a month-long wave of revelry featuring street fairs, exhibitions, restaurant specials and the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade. One of the grandest nighttime, illuminated parades in the U.S., the event started in the 1860s and has grown to be one of the largest celebrations of Asian culture outside Asia. This year, the parade will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 5:15-8 p.m. Highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, firecrackers and a new Golden Dragon. The parade route begins at Second and Market Streets, weaves its way around the perimeter of Union Square and then heads north on Kearny Street where it ends at Jackson Street. Other festivities include the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant (Feb. 22), Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt and the 5K/10K Chinatown YMCA Chinese New Year Run (March 4). A number of top restaurants also run special menus to honor the holiday. Try everything from long life noodles and crispy fish to a variety of delicious dumplings all to bring good health, joy and prosperity in the coming year. It’s also a great time to stroll through Chinatown’s vibrant streets and explore with all your senses. Take an informative tour with San Francisco City Guides, Wok Wiz Tours or All About Chinatown Tours. Or, enjoy your own self-guided tour through this storied neighborhood. Get an introduction to Chinatown from local tour guide and San Francisco native Linda Lee in this video.
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