San Francisco, CA

Five San Francisco Ways to Celebrate the Year of the Ox in the Time of COVID

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Gung Hay Fat Choy!

A signature cultural event in San Francisco since the 1860s and the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia, the 2021 Chinese New Year Parade has been canceled due to public gathering concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Still people are looking for ways to celebrate the start of the Year of the Ox.

Here are five activities to safely celebrate.

1. Snap a selfie with each of the 11 life-sized Oxen statues designed by local artists to reflect the Chinese culture, people, and traditions. You can also enter a photo contest by tagging your selfies with #oxonparade, @chineseparade. After the celebrations, each Ox will be auctioned off to benefit local Chinatown non-profit organizations. Feb. 3-Mar. 14—Different locations around town (and the Oakland Airport).

2. Visit the Southwest Airlines Float Display that for the first time will be showcased for visitors to check out up close. Free of charge. Feb. 13-14, 20-21, from noon to 8pm—Pier 27, Cruise Terminal Plaza.

3. Watch KTVU’s special program highlighting many of the parade’s cherished moments from past parades and celebrations. Feb. 20, 2021 at 6 p.m.—FOX Channel 2.

4. Eat at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Even during a devastating pandemic, San Francisco remains a gastronomic capital, and you can find great restaurants in Chinatown and around town, at all price levels. One of my favorites is Mama Ji’s in the Castro. 4416 18th Street.

5. Take a walking tour of Chinatown. Steeped in history that has greatly shaped the city we live in today, San Francisco’s Chinatown is filled with major historic landmarks and not-well-known personalities that will make any other treasure hunt pale by comparison. Free self-guided and paid tours available from different providers.

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