San Francisco Lunar New Year parade brings boost to Chinatown restaurants

SAN FRANCISCO — Restaurants in San Francisco’s Chinatown saw constant lines Saturday night, especially before and after the grand parade.

Lion dancers from Lion Dance Me meant to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year dazzled the dinner crowd at China Live on Broadway. 

China Live in San Francisco
China Live in San Francisco.


The culinary complex was packed Saturday with visitors and locals like Mieke Fonteyn and her family. 

“We were just remarking that we’ve never been to Chinatown at night. And this was a wonderful opportunity to remember what’s so special about it, just the lighting and kind of the vistas,” she said.  

Fonteyn said after enjoying the parade, they lit fireworks and took photos in Chinatown. Celebrating the holiday has become a tradition for her family. 

“I work for Peet’s and it’s a part of our culture. Every meeting that we’re in has a rabbit in the background. So I don’t know, I feel like that’s why you live in San Francisco,” said Fonteyn. 

China Live said this final Lunar New Year weekend feels a bit like the Super Bowl for them. 

“What do they say? ‘Don’t let it rain on your parade,'” said China Live partner Doug Collister. “I think people came out in full force to support the community. The parade is one of the best things that San Francisco does every year so, so far so good.”

This is the first Lunar New Year celebration in San Francisco for Ramsay Suliman, who moved to the city from Scotland. 

“It was really cool! Really lively,” he said. “We just sat at a local bar, got window seats which was really cool. just kind of watch the parade go by, went out for the bigger floats. The firecrackers were really cool but also quite jarring.”

Among the Bay Area officials and representatives at Saturday’s parade were San Francisco Mayor London Breed, supervisors including Aaron Peskin and Myrna Melgar, and officials with SFPD and the Oakland Fire Department. 

“It’s just nice to see people back downtown. It gives you hope in a city you love,” said Fonteyn.  

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