Parades, authentic meals and spectacular light shows mean there’s no shortage of ways to ring in Chinese New Year in Las Vegas. Get the whole family involved with activities that will get you roaming the city all month long and are sure to bring good fortune.
Chinese New Year in the Desert
Indulge in a family-style dinner catered by Kona Grill, including fresh salad, flavorful macadamia nut chicken and pork tenderloin, creamy mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and chewy fudge brownies or carrot cake. Watch a traditional lion dance and a blessing, plus a cultural performance from a troupe traveling all the way from China. Looking for even more? The sixth annual Las Vegas Spring Festival parade and after-party the next day will keep your weekend busy. Fashion Show, $88, 6 p.m., Feb. 16–17; parade, free, Downtown between 11th St. and 7th St.; after-party, Container Park, cnyinthedesert.com
Lion Dance at Palace Station
Palace Station welcomes a lion dance to its newly reopened casino floor with the hope that it’ll bring prosperity to all of its guests. The Lohan School of Shaolin, which has brought lion and dragon dances to audiences throughout Southern Nevada, is responsible for the performance. Those looking to continue the festivities can enjoy Chinese delicacies, such as Emperor’s wonton soup, shrimp and lobster sauce, Hong Kong chow mein and Mongolian beef at the Grand Cafe. Test your luck after the meal in the Asian table-games pit, where popular games—including Dynasty Baccarat, Bad Beat Baccarat and Fortune Asia Poker—abound. If you want to win big, check out the $75,000 Chinese New Year Baccarat Tournament on March 2 and 3. You might just win the grand prize: $20,000 in promotional chips. Free, 7:15 p.m., Feb. 15, 2411 W. Sahara Ave.
Dragon at The Shops at Crystals
The glittering space at The Shops at Crystals is made even more special with the arrival of a special guest: a towering 24-by-53-foot dragon made of more than 100,000 LED lights. Though it’s up through March 1, you’re in for a special treat if you visit on February 17 between noon and 1 p.m. That’s when dance troupe Yau Kung Moon performs a lion dance under the dragon’s gaze. Bhante Sujatha, a monk from Blue Lotus Las Vegas, is also on hand to bless the property in a private ceremony on February 15, so you’ll be walking on lucky grounds—which just might bring more fortune into your own life.
Bellagio goes all-out with its garden displays every season, and this month’s Year of the Dog theme is no exception. Eighteen dogs, including a towering husky, frolic through beds of flowers, while children play with lanterns and fireworks near lush vegetation and a tranquil pond with live koi fish. The creatures and all of their surroundings are made from living flowers and vegetation. Be sure to drop coins in any of the five fountains found throughout the garden for good luck as well as to breathe in the smell of incense, which spews from vessels found by the garden’s edge. And even better, 90 percent of the conservatory’s materials will get recycled when it comes time to make way for the spring season on March 3. Now, talk about good fortune. bellagio.com/en/entertainment/conservatory-botanical-garden
China Lights Lantern Festival
Get your fix of festive lights to celebrate the season at Craig Ranch National Park. Hundreds of larger-than-life, fully illuminated lanterns are on hand to dazzle guests of all ages until February 25. Come to North Las Vegas on February 16 for special activities, such as parades, additional displays, free gifts, fireworks and special cultural performances to celebrate the festival’s first-ever stop in the city. 5:30–10 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday, 628 Craig Rd., chinalightslv.com
Fan Dance at The Grand Canal Shoppes
Behind the brightly colored costumes lies a special purpose for this dance that goes back more than 2,000 years. The fan dance passes down stories that have been told in Chinese culture for generations, giving you a glimpse into the country’s rich roots. Watch the dance over the waterfall at the Grand Canal Shoppes at 4 p.m., and stay for a chance to receive one of 250 red envelopes that will be handed out. The envelopes will contain goodies ranging from gift cards to chocolate gold coins, plus store incentives for participating Grand Canal Shoppes businesses. Free, 4 p.m., Feb. 16., venetian.com/entertainment/cny.html
Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen at SLS
You can’t forget about the food when you celebrate the holiday. Two traditional Chinese dishes at this Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen on the north side of the Strip help bring good luck for the Lunar New Year: Steamed whole fish with ginger, scallions and soy or spicy seafood-flavored XO sauce is available for a limited time February 15 to 28. The cafe’s regular Chinese menu, featuring dim sum, is available daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. slslasvegas.com/restaurants-bars/northside-cafe-chinese-kitchen