Dragon dancers display New Year banners. Photo by Chris Stone
Lion dancers display New Year banners. Photo by Chris Stone

New Year’s revels don’t have to end just because it’s Jan. 20. It’s Lunar New Year on Sunday, the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit (or the Cat, depending on the tradition). Join in or head to other events, by the sea and to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Where to celebrate Lunar New Year this San Diego weekend (including Monday)? There’s multiple options, all free, two in Balboa Park:

  • City Heights – Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park, 5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with live music, food and lifestyle vendors and cultural exhibits.
  • House of China at the International Cottages – on Pan-American Road in Balboa Park, 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with lion dances and other cultural performances, food and crafts, including calligraphy.
  • Old Globe Theatre – in the outdoor Copley Plaza, 5:30 p.m. Monday, with cultural performances by local dancers and more.

For the Mickey, Simba or Moana fan in your life, Disney On Ice continues at 7 p.m. Friday at Pechanga Arena as part of the “Road Trip Adventures” tour. There are three shows Saturday, starting at 11 a.m., and two Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., at Pechanga Arena San Diego in the Midway. Admission starts at $15.

A fisherman ventures out close to the shoreline during the 2019 King Tides. See them this weekend. Photo by Chris Stone

It will be a little drier this weekend, so if you didn’t brave the elements for the waterfront King parade last weekend, try the free Community Celebration, Sportsfest and Parade at 9 a.m. Saturday. The event begins with a parade starting from Valencia Park Elementary, heading east on Skyline Drive and leading right to the 11 a.m. festival, at MLK Recreation Center and Park. Enjoy a kids zone, face painting and basketball showcase.

SeaWorld San Diego brings New Orleans out west with its Mardi Gras celebration, beginning Saturday. See entertainment that evokes Bourbon Street from a New Orleans jazz band and a Mardi Gras-style processional with multiple performers in colorful costumes. More? Indulge in a tasty menu that includes king cake, beignets and gumbo. Head out Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 26. Admission starts at $80.

San Diego has many memorable events, but fantastic natural phenomena too. One, the King Tides, returns Saturday and Sunday. Join nature lovers to capture the scene (and share on social media too as part of a statewide project).

  • Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve on Mission Bay – 7:30 a.m. for an overview on sea level rise, the birds that rely on disappearing marsh habitat and how to document and report the tides.
  • South Ponto Beach, Carlsbad – 8:30 a.m. Sunday, to see the highest tide of the year, followed by a corresponding low tide. Explore the tide pools and observe the creatures within, but no touching or disturbing them is allowed. Coffee and donuts will be served.


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Ellen Bullock