Lunar New Year is upon us, and celebrations in Melbourne are kicking off in style. See traditional lion dances bring in prosperity and good fortune, take part in festivals and see some incredible installations. This year, Lunar New Year will take place on Sunday January 22, and there’s plenty of cool things to do around Melbourne, both on the day, and in the weeks before and after. Are you ready to celebrate?
1. Visit Chinatown for the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival
For over 160 years, the Chinatown Community and supporting organisations have celebrated Chinese New Year in Chinatown. And after a three-year hiatus, the festival is back in full swing, running from 10am until late on Sunday January 22. Feel amazed by the Millennium Dragon Parade, roaming lion dancers, art installations, market stalls featuring traditional foods and crafts, live music and cultural dance and street art performances. Find more details here.
📍Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
2. Experience Lunar New Year at QV
QV Melbourne has heaps of ways for you to welcome the Year of the Rabbit. Check out an installation of eight Dancing Bunnies. These 4.5 metre tall bunnies are taking over QV Square from 10am to 10pm. The first 50 visitors to spend $20 and visit the Dancing Bunnies each day will also receive a lucky red envelope. See the installation from January 20 to 26.
After taking photos with the bunnies, keep an eye out for lion dancers as they move from the square to Old Beijing on Artemis Lane. The lion dancers will perform at 7pm on January 21, 7pm on January 22 and 7pm on January 26. While you’re there, be sure to try the Lunar New Year Banquet at Old Beijing.More info here.
📍Cnr Lonsdale Street and, Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
3. Take part in Lunar New Year at NGV
Welcome the Year of the Rabbit with a day of art, food, activities, music and lion dance performances at NGV International. It’s all happening on Sunday January 22, from 10am to 3pm. Learn more here.
📍180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006
4. Listen to a festive performance from Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
This concert by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is inspired by the natural beauty of Sichuan Province. Conducted by the Artistic Director of the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, Darrell Ang, this will be the MSO’s 10th annual Chinese New Year Concert. Listen to this performance at Hamer Hall on Saturday February 4 at 7:30pm.
📍100 St Kilda Rd, Southbank VIC 3004
5. Celebrate Lunar New Year at Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum will have a heap of fun programs to help usher in the New Year. Watch lion and dragon dances, find out what your zodiac animal is, eat Lunar New Year cuisine at the Museum Café and more during the day. Then, from 5pm to 11pm, head out to the Museum Plaza for Vietnamese food trucks, Lunar New Year-inspired DJ sets, ice cream and cocktails. It’s all happening on Saturday January 21.Learn more here.
📍11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
6. See the Lunar New Year zodiac display at Crown Melbourne
The Atrium in Crown will have a dazzling display cascading down the grand staircase. This Zodiac Spectacular installation will represent the twelve zodiac signs, with large and luminous animal sculptures. Crown will also have a traditional Lion and Drum show in the Atrium at 7pm and 9pm daily, from Friday January 20 to Sunday January 29. See more here.
📍8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
7. Check out the Lunar New Year Lion Dance at Queen Vic Market
Head to this iconic destination to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. On Sunday January 29, there will be a traditional lion dance that will make its way through the market. More info here.
📍Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000
8. Have fun with the Lunar New Year Dragon Boat Festival in Docklands
Head over to Victoria Harbour in Docklands for the Lunar New Year Dragon Boat Festival. Watch the dragon boats race their way down the harbour and cheer on the paddlers. While you’re there, check out some cultural performances, lion dances, family activities and food trucks. This festival will take place on Saturday February 18 and Sunday February 19.Find more info here.
📍Victoria Harbour, Docklands VIC 3008
9. Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at Fed Square
Head to Fed Square on Sunday January 22, and welcome the Year of the Rabbit with a range of performances and activities. Join a Tai Chi or Gentle Chinese Dance class, go to a Chinese brush painting workshop and watch the colourful dragon dances. There will also be free, lunar-themed ice cream available to try from 12:30pm in the Main Square until sold out. More details here.
📍Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
10. Visit Preston Market for food and more
Preston Market is celebrating with a traditional Lion Dance from the CMS Lion Dance Team. There will also be a live dumpling workshop from 11am by ex-MasterChef contestant, Christ Tran. After the demonstration, there will be free tastings and fortune cookies while stock lasts. Walk through the market and find something delicious to eat from traders like South Melbourne Dim Sims and 888 Street Food. There will also be Tai Chi sessions, live entertainment, and arts and crafts activities for the little ones. The Lunar New Year celebrations will take place on Sunday January 29, from 10am to 3pm.
📍30A The Centreway, Preston VIC 3072
11. Find your creativity at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
There’s a whole heap of Lunar New Year activities that are fun for the whole family at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Guests will receive a free Lunar New Year set to build in the Creative Workshop and take home. This 4-in-1 set features a rocket, panda, fish and spinner, which can be put together to create a Lion Dancer.
While you’re there, head into MINILAND Melbourne and spot a Lunar New Year parade, created by Master Model Builder Miller Keys. Team members will give out red envelopes, and showbags will be available for purchase. There’s also festive sets for sale, including the LEGO Lunar New Year Ice Festival and LEGO Lunar New Year Traditions.
The celebrations will run from Friday January 20 to Sunday January 29. Entry is from $36 per person. More info here.
📍 Level 2/1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone VIC 3148
12. Explore the Garden of Tranquility at Chadstone
While you’re out shopping at Chadstone, be sure to check out their Lunar New Year installation, The Garden of Tranquility. This peaceful space is a lovely spot for you to pause and relax, with live piano performances from 11am-2pm on Mondays to Wednesdays, 5pm-9pm on Thursdays to Saturdays and 4pm-7pm on Sundays. This installation will stay until Sunday January 29.
This year, on Thursdays to Sundays, visitors that spend $2888 or more at participating luxury brands in one day, sign up as a Chadstone First member, and present their receipt will receive a $50 gift card.
For more details, click here.
📍1341 Dandenong Rd, Malvern East VIC 3145
13. Check out the 2023 Golden Age Lunar New Year Festival in Box Hill
If you live in the east, you’ll definitely want to head to Box Hill for this free, community festival. This event will stretch from the side of Whitehorse Road to all around Box Hill Central. Expect performances, live music, a martial arts showcase, food trucks, arts and crafts, pop-up bars, activities for the kids and more. The festival will start at 11am and run until midnight on January 28.Find more info here.
📍Box Hill Mall area, Main and Market Street & Whitehorse Road