Time to gather with your loved ones and feast on fish, fruit, and dumplings to welcome the Lunar New Year.
Which U.S. cities are best for ringing in the Year of the Rabbit?
To find out, Lawn Love ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities to determine 2023’s Best Cities for Lunar New Year Celebrations.
They looked for cities with a large Asian American population, plenty of Asian restaurants, and numerous Lunar New Year festivals and events. Lawn Love awarded bonus points to cities with a Chinatown district.
Lawn Love also considered weather forecasts, fireworks legality, and safety, among 11 total metrics.
Set your best foot forward for the Lunar New Year (beginning Jan. 22) with the help of our rankings below.
New Year in New York
For the second year in a row, New York lucks out as the Best City to Celebrate Lunar New Year.
Home to a whopping nine Chinatown neighborhoods, NYC has the largest population of Chinese and Chinese Americans out of all the cities in our ranking. Paint the town red in Manhattan’s Chinatown, which has the largest concentration of Chinese people in America (and all of the Western hemisphere).
There’s always something going on in The City That Never Sleeps, especially around holidays like the Spring Festival. NYC has the highest number of Chinese and Asian Meetup groups and the third-highest number of Lunar New Year events and festivals.
All that glitters is not gold
Out of 43 California cities represented, only 11 landed in the lower half of our ranking. It’s no surprise California cities fared so well — Asian communities have played a significant role in building the West Coast since the Gold Rush.
This year, San Francisco (No. 2) has the most Lunar New Year events — tied with Houston — and the highest concentration of Asian restaurants. SF also has the second-biggest population of Chinese Americans, while Los Angeles (No. 3) has the nation’s largest population of other East Asians.
Unfortunately, neither of these cities has a great safety record, especially for Asian Americans. Anti-Asian violence has plagued California and escalated since COVID-19 began. Hate crimes against Asian Americans in California rose 178% in 2021.
Today, many cities along the West Coast, including Seattle (No. 8) and 19 California cities, have high rates of hate crimes. For a safer celebration destination, head down to San Diego (No. 10).
Some cities in the South and Midwest aren’t ready to ring in the Year of the Rabbit.
Apart from Chicago (No. 6), only two other Midwestern cities — Cleveland (No. 61) and St. Louis (No. 84) — landed in the top half of our ranking.
Other cities like Kansas City, Kansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Shreveport, Louisiana, fell to the very bottom, alongside Springfield, Missouri, in last place. Each of these four cities has low scores across the board, with few or no celebrations planned and poor safety records.
Southern cities are scattered throughout our ranking. For memorable Lunar New Year celebrations, places like Houston (No. 4) and Austin (No. 9) are your best bet. These two Texas cities have large populations of Asian Americans and plenty of festivals and events to attend.