Dining precincts Haymarket and Darling Square will transform into vibrant and bustling centres of festivities to commemorate the Lunar New Year in February. As the Year of the Dragon unfolds, both precincts will be abuzz with plenty of celebrations and activities, showcasing the rich traditions of various Asian cultures.
A diverse gathering of thousands from different cultural backgrounds will unite to welcome the Year of the Dragon with both precincts teeming with exciting events and attractions for people to engage with and enjoy.
Fascinating Thaitown 2024 | Saturday 17 February | 11am to 8pm
Fascinating Thaitown is a vibrant, cultural event taking over a laneway in the heart of Thaitown on Saturday 17 February from 11am – 8pm. Highlighting the rich tapestry of Thai culture, cuisine, and traditions the event will feature a bustling market, live entertainment, a Thai gate art installation, drum procession and 10% discount across dozens of Thaitown venues. Entry is free and the program includes:
- Thaitown Lunar Market: 11 am – 8 pm next to Meriton Suites on Campbell Street: Explore the vibrant and bustling market, featuring a variety of stalls showcasing Thai handicrafts, souvenirs, food, desserts, and cultural artefacts. Discover unique items and take home a piece of Thailand’s rich heritage.
- Opening Ceremony at the Lunar New Year Thai gate at 11.30 am: Located at the start of Thaitown on the corner of Campbell and George Street, you can catch captivating performances including traditional dance, music, and a ribbon cutting ceremony will officially open the Lunar New Year Thai Gate and launch the ongoing festivities.
- Long Drum Procession at 11.50am in the laneway: Join in the rhythmic and energetic long drum procession parading around Thaitown. Feel the pulse of the drums and be part of this vibrant celebration as they honour the Year of the Dragon.
- Thai Beer Garden: From 11.30am to 8 pm at Cosy Corner Thai restaurant: Located at Cosy Corner Thai Corner, the Singha Beer Garden will be offering a selection of authentic Thai beverages and refreshments accompanied by live music, and DJs, with easy access to the rest of the laneway activities.
- Thaitown Restaurant Offer: Discover the many flavours and dishes of Thailand at participating restaurants around Thaitown offering an exclusive 10% discount on the day.
Market City | Monday 17 February to Sunday 25 February
To mark the Lunar New Year, Market City will come to life with an immersive display of installations and activity, ushering in the year of the Dragon with free, interactive and auspicious activities happening everyday from Monday 17 February to Sunday 25 February.
- View flying dragons as they chase a magical flying orb (symbolic of wisdom, enlightenment and spiritual energy) across all three levels, then snap a selfie in front of the traditional dragon door which represents the heart of the Lunar New Year — coming home and celebrating with the people we love most.
- High pole and dragon dance performances and giveaways: Saturday 10 February: 2pm & 6pm Sunday 11 February: 2pm. The incredible high-pole lion and dragon dance performances by Jin Wu Koon are performed on 3-metre-high poles and need to be seen to be believed. Plus there will be a massive giveaway of soft dragon toys, Lunar New Year décor and lucky red envelopes
- Kids lion and dragon dance workshops – Thu 18 Jan — Sun 21 Jan & Sun 18 February, 2pm and 3pm
- Bring the kids in for a free lion and dragon dance workshop at Market City where storytelling will introduce them to the concepts of courage, teamwork and physical activity.
- Chinese calligraphy – Tue 23 Jan – Fri 9 Feb and Fri 16 Feb – Sun 18 Feb, 10am – 6pm: Create a personal keepsake to bring lucky New Year wishes for health, wealth and prosperity to you and your loved ones (fee applies).
- Dragon tattoos -Tue 23 Jan – Fri 9 Feb and Fri 16 Feb – Sun 18 Feb, 2pm – 6pm: Get in the Lunar New Year spirit with a free temporary red and gold dragon tattoo.
- Collect a lucky red envelope – Friday 9 February — Sunday 11 February: 5,000 lucky red envelopes with unique Year of the Dragon coin and Market City gift vouchers are being given away.
- Celebrate with a traditional feast – Everyday, 10am until late: Enjoy a traditional feast at one of the great Asian restaurants in the Level 3 Dining Precinct, with many choices including yum cha, hot pot, noodles, sushi, Korean BBQ, traditional Chinese and more. The Lunar New Year is the most popular time of year for restaurant bookings, so make sure you book early. Restaurants include: The Eight, The Dolar Shop, Beijing Impression, Fugetsu, Kogi Korean BBQ, Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet, YAYOI Japanese Teishoku Restaurant
Chinatown Comedy Club Celebrates Lunar New Year | Friday 16 February at six:twelve
Laugh your way into the Year of the Dragon at Chinatown Comedy Club’s huge event, being held in a formerly abandoned Chinatown cinema on Friday, 16 February from 8pm until 11pm. Hosted by Soul of Chinatown, this hilarious night will feature Australia’s best comedians at Sydney’s event gem six:twelve – formerly known as the Harbour City Cinema.The lineup of Asian-Australian comedians includes Neel Kolhatkar, Alan Fang, Stella Wu, Guneet Kaur and Henry Zhu along with musicians, keeping you entertained all night. Tickets are $38 and include a complimentary Lunar New Year-themed drink.
Dragon Boat Festival | Friday 16 – Sunday 18 February at Cockle Bay Wharf
The largest dragon boat festival in the southern hemisphere will take over Darling Harbour from Friday 16 February to Sunday 18 February, for 3 action-packed days of competition on the water accompanied by music and entertainment, including DJs, roving street performances, martial arts demonstrations, food stalls, art installations and more. Enjoy the spectacle of more than 3,000 paddlers, 40 teams and 70 races as they churn up the waters and battle it out for line honours.
Sydney Lunar New Year Market | Saturday 17th February 2024 | 10am to 3pm at 1 Dixon Street, Sydney
This one-day market will feature over 20 local Asian-Australian artists and small businesses celebrating Lunar New Year through art, food and entertainment. Art created exclusively for the event includes ceramics of your zodiac sign and prints of all the specialty food enjoyed during the Lunar New Year festivities and so much more, plus there will be giveaways and other exciting activities throughout the day.
A portion of funds raised at this event will be donated to support the not-for-profit community group, Soul of Chinatown’s Rice Fund initiative, which aims to connect and support elderly Asian-Australians.
Find out more here
Cosmic Neighbour– Andrew & Chris Yee Exhibition | Friday 25 January to Monday 26 January 2024 at Blank Gallery, 2F/ 17 Valentine Street Haymarket
To welcome the Year of the Dragon, twin brothers Chris and Andrew Yee join hands once more in their graphically scintillating exhibition, Cosmic Neighbour, on show at Blank Gallery from Friday 25 January to Monday 26 January 2024. Known for fearlessly crossing the bridge between traditional Chinese and contemporary Asian-Australian design and culture, the Yee brothers leave no stone unturned for all leaf and litter to be hybridised. Ancient mythology, Saturday morning cartoons, fantastical beasts and the latest in footwear, all swirl together in a collaborative storm of shining colours, exuberant ideation, and hyperpop aesthetics. Whether you’re from the west of the Pearl River Delta or west of the Red Rooster line, the Yee brothers invite you to link arms with a neighbour and reimagine the world together this Lunar New Year.
Year of the Dragon Exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Art | Saturday 10 February – Sunday 31 March | 4A Centre for Contemporary Art
Year Of The Dragon is a group exhibition visualising the bridge between the living and the heavenly through contemporised mythology and symbolism. Those born under the fifth zodiac sign are said to be earthly connections to the celestial realm, the divine plane where dragons and gods reside. The artists included in the exhibition present glimpses into a reality beyond our own, remaking traditional tales of benevolence and enlightenment through contemporary art practice. Year of the Dragon is on show from Saturday 10 February until Sunday, 31 March featuring artists Shaun Daniel Allen, Fan Dongwang, WeiZen Ho, Jacquie Meng, Sin Wai Kin, Thirteen Feet Tattoo Studio and Yang Yongliang.
Soul of Chinatown Charity Art Auction | 21 February at 5.30pm | Banchō, 10 Thomas Ln, Haymarket
Join the launch of Soul of Chinatown’s 2024 Year of the Dragon charity art auction at Banchō on 21 February featuring artworks from leading and upcoming Asian-Australian artists including Louise Zhang, Guanwei, Pamela Leung, Andrew Yee, Chris Yee, Jacqueline Bui and Mitchell Tran.
Tickets are free and include snacks by the Banchō team and a Lunar New Year-themed cocktail. There will also be a raffle and entertainment from Asian-Australian musicians. Funds raised will be donated to support the not-for-profit community group, Soul of Chinatown’s Rice Fund initiative, which aims to connect and support elderly Asian-Australians.
Haymarket Chamber of Commerce 2024 Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Banquet | 15 February at 6pm | The Eight Restaurant
The Haymarket Chamber of Commerce extends a warm invitation to all to join their Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Banquet on Thursday, 15 February 2024 at the Eight Restaurant. This annual event is a favourite on the Lunar New Year calendar, bringing together more than 300 guests for a sumptuous, 10-course Chinese banquet accompanied by award-winning wines from Millon. Guests will also enjoy entertainment including traditional lion dancers and a live band, plus there are many lucky door and raffle prizes to be won.
City of Sydney – Sydney Lunar Streets – Haymarket Street Festival | Saturday 10 February from 5pm until 10pm | Dixon Street
Kick off your Lunar New Year celebrations at Sydney Lunar Streets, the opening street party event of Sydney Lunar Festival 2024. There will be 25 market stalls along Sussex St and Thomas St offering a range of Asian cuisines and specialty treats, along with a jam-packed schedule of entertainment including a 20 metre-long, traditional Chinese Dragon and other cultural and contemporary music and performances.
Darling Square | Friday 9 February to Sunday 25 February
Darling Square will celebrate Lunar New Year from 9 to 25 February with a series of cultural performances, live entertainment and festive food and beverage offers from retailers across the precinct.
The Lunar New Year celebrations include traditional lion dancing, with performances taking place on Saturday 10 February at 6pm and 8pm and on Saturday 17 February at 6pm, alongside DJs in the square to bring the vibes and ring in the New Year.
Anchored in the centre of the precinct, visitors will be immersed in a sea of light with hundreds of traditional New Year lanterns. This has become a tradition in Darling Square, with visitors heading to the precinct annually to view the brilliant lights.
On 10 February there will be a lantern giveaway. Every visitor who spends $50 or more at a Darling Square retailer will receive a free lantern. To make it even more special, a calligrapher situated in the Square will be offering a personalised message service for the lanterns from 5-10pm.
Darling Square’s retailers are joining in the celebrations with limited-time Lunar New Year offers, including:
- Dopa by Devon will have Spicy Karaage Skewers ($8) and Spicy Karaage donburi ($18) on offer for those keen to embrace their inner Dragon. Upgrade to a karaage set to get unlimited rice and miso soup! They will also be giving out fortune cookies on the 10 February.
- Lillianna will be selling its special new handcrafted red HongBao (red envelope). Handmade and designed to blend traditional and modern elements, each HongBao carries heartfelt wishes for the New Year and is the perfect way to spread luck and joy.
- Gelato Messina is offering its Asian-inspired classic flavours including coconut & pandan, coconut & lychee, and salted coconut & mango.