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2024 Lunar New Year: Embrace the Year of the Dragon in Costa Mesa 

Posted on February 5, 2024 | 5:28pm | Travel Costa Mesa

2024 Lunar New Year: Embrace the Year of the Dragon in Costa Mesa 

Lunar New Year is nearly here, and Costa Mesa is one of the best places to spend it. From dining to unique experiences, the city is brimming with ways to join in the festivities and welcome in the Year of the Dragon. 

About Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays in China, and it is also widely celebrated by other cultures. It is a fifteen-day celebration marked by many traditions in the home, auspicious wishes, shopping and spending time with family. The fifteenth and final day of the holiday is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, marked to end the celebration. Lunar New Year is part of a larger cycle, moving through the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, bringing us out of the year of the rabbit into the year of the dragon. The only mythological creature of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon symbolizes good luck, strength, and power. 

In 2024, Costa Mesa will kick off with several celebrations and special events on the weekend of February 9–11th, providing cultural experiences that will entertain, educate, and allow you to explore with family and friends. But it doesn’t end there—many places will have ongoing opportunities to celebrate throughout the month.

The Lunar New Year Experience at South Coast Plaza

Shop, Dine, and Celebrate

South Coast Plaza eateries will feature unique menu options, special offers, and activities to immerse you in the festive spirit of the Lunar New Year. Expect thematic decor, special shopping deals, and events throughout the month. Be sure to visit Jewel Court for a themed year of the dragon installation.

South Coast Plaza Lunar New Year Flavors

Paradise Dynasty 

Paradise Dynasty will offer six specialty dishes designed by their chef, including Singapore-style stir-fried black pepper lobster, steamed Chilean sea bass, braised pork, Paradise salted duck, and Dynasty sticky rice. Specialty dishes are available through March 31st. Hot Tip: If you arrive for the Lunar New Year, you will receive a lucky red envelope with a certificate for 20% off a future visit.

Afternoon Tea at Knife Pleat

This Michelin-starred restaurant is adding Lunar New Year-inspired additions to its Saturday afternoon tea service on February 10th, 17th, and 24th. Some of the unique items will include mini mooncakes, black sesame balls with mandarin filling, and chocolate gold coins. Hot Tip: For something stronger try their commemorative year of the dragon cocktail.

Lucky Dishes at Din Tai Fung

Known for its xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Din Tai Fung is a great stop for the whole family, where they will be serving up lucky Lunar New Year dishes. Adding to the luck, every guest will receive a red envelope with a surprise inside. Hot Tip: Arrive early to put in your name then explore South Coast Plaza while you await your call back. 

For Sweet Temptations

Laderach, Sugarfina, and See’s Candies will all feature limited-run Lunar New Year sweets. All make great gifts to take home to share the Lunar New Year cheer with friends and family.

More Year of the Dragon Specials

  • Terrace by Mix Mix: Offering a three-course prix fixe menu with Asian fusion flavors throughout February. Featuring shrimp spring roll lettuce wraps, glazed duck breast, and coconut panna cotta.
  • AnQi: Featuring a prix fixe Good Luck Menu February 10–11th, either as six courses or à la carte. Dig into crispy quail, Wagyu “pop tarts,” shrimp and lobster money bags, and more.
  • Water Grill: An immersive experience with festive decor, symbolic à la carte dishes, and garlic noodles (for luck and a long, joyous life). Ongoing from February 8–24th.

Lunar New Year Cultural Events

Pacific Symphony Lunar Year at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, February 10th


Experience a celebration of communities coming together with performances of Eastern and Western music and dance at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. A total of more than 200 performers will showcase their talents, including distinguished soloist Fei-Fei Dong performing Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. Other performers of note include:

  • Acclaimed pipa player Yu Liu
  • Zither player Brian Bùi
  • Pacific Choral
  • The American Feel-Young Chorus
  • Armonia Singers
  • The Ya Ya Dance Academy 
  • Wendy Hua’s Violin Studio at Orange County Music and Dance

Tết Festival at OC Fair & Event Center

February 9th–11th

Hours vary by day

Experience the largest Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival at the OC Fair & Event Center from February 9th through the 11th. This family-friendly celebration offers a memorable experience where you can merge fun and education, learning about Vietnamese culture in the best ways possible—through delectable food, traditional performances, and cultural exhibitions. General admission is $8, and children 2 years old and under get in for free. 

Event parking is $12.

OC Lantern Festival at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Saturday, March 2nd


At the tail end of the Lunar New Year celebrations on March 2nd is the OC Lantern Festival held at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Free for the whole family, the event marks the end of the Lunar New Year season. Be dazzled by a lobby transformed with floating lanterns and the dive into the array of events, including music, dance, art making, food, riddles, and more. Then, it all culminates with a thrilling dragon dance held in the plaza!

Shen Yun at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

March 13th–17th

If the Lunar New Year celebrations have sparked your interest in learning more about the vibrant cultures across the continent of Asia, a performance of Shen Yun is a must see. This performance explores China’s rich 5000-year history through inspiring performances of classical Chinese dance and music with stunning costumes and backdrops. 

Stay the Night to Continue the Celebration

With Lunar New Year celebrations lasting fifteen days it’s a beautiful time of the year to extend your stay to experience everything this holiday has to offer. Start the Year of the Dragon with comfort and extensive amenities when you book an overnight stay at one of our eleven Costa Mesa hotels.