Chinese New Year 2017 in Singapore: best events and activities for kids – and where to see the lights!

Hello! You’ve found last year’s guide to all the Chinese New Year fun! For the 2018 guide to what’s on for Chinese New Year head here!

Chinatown is already bustling with lights and festive bazaars which means just one thing: Chinese New Year is just around the corner! So if you aren’t jetting away for a cheeky CNY holiday, and are looking for fun ways to usher in the New Year in Singapore with the kids, then look no further. We’ve found the best family friendly events happening across the island to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, so get the kiddos decked out in their prettiest cheongsams or coolest Chinese-collar shirts and join the festivities. Check back regularly, folks, as we’ll be adding to the list as new parties, activities and events are announced!

We've found an underwater dragon dance over at S.E.A. Aquarium

We’ve found an underwater dragon dance over at S.E.A. Aquarium

Gong SEA Fa Cai at S.E.A. Aquarium
It wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without dancing dragons, and we’ve found an underwater dancing dragon this festive season! Reel in the celebrations over at S.E.A. Aquarium where kiddos will love joining the Trail of the Rooster (Hogfish) to uncover cool facts about the wonderful marine life on display. Look out for the Rooster (actually a Hogfish!), the Leafy Sea Dragon and the Abalone: all considered to be auspicious in Chinese culture, and then head to the viewing gallery to catch the fin-tastic underwater show. Expect live music and a dazzling submerged dragon in this choreographed production the whole family will love. We’re also loving the awesome interactive activities going on, plus the chance to hang out with the Ancient S.E.A. Guardian and lucky mascot, Mai the Manta. Gong SEA Fa Cai!
When: 21 January – 11 February
Where: S.E.A. Aquarium, Resorts World, Sentosa
Cost: From $22 per person. Book online to bag yourself a special offer: buy two adult tix from $34 each, and enjoy free admission into the Pokemon Research Exhibition. Gotta catch ‘em all! Promo available until 5 March (check website for date restrictions).

Lantern displays in Chinatown
Dazzling lights, colourful lanterns and giant roosters are what it’s all about over in Chinatown. Head to Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and Garden Bridge to check out the spectacular displays adorning the whole area.
When: From 7 January
Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street

Chinatown Festive Street Bazaar
With a variety of stalls lining up the streets of Chinatown, visitors can feast on mouth-watering New Year delicacies and get ahead of the CNY shopping game at stalls selling everything from traditional goodies to waxed duck! Start at Pagoda Street for a colourful feast of paper lanterns, lion puppets, giant paper pineapples and bright rooster-themed decorations. Pick up a cheongsam or Chinese-collared shirt while you’re there!
When: 6-27 January, 6-10.30pm daily (extended hours over CNY weekend)
Where: Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street

Istana CNY Open House
The Istana is throwing open its doors to the public for Chinese New Year, and we’re all invited for a sticky beak around Singapore’s most famous home and office! Visitors can take a tour around the main building, and also join a guided walk through the gardens for the chance to learn some history in a gorgeously green setting.
When: 29 January, 8.30am-6.30pm
Where: The Istana, Orchard Road, Singapore 238823

Rooster in the Roo-Nar New Year at Singapore Zoo
Head over to the zoo for the Roo-Nar New Year celebrations and join the Zoo-Diac Trail, find out all about chickens at the Fowl Facts sessions, watch a lion dance (not the real lions we hasten to add), and see the animal residents get their festive treats.
When: 27 January – 11 February
Where: Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Road, 729826
Cost: Activities are free but admission costs apply

Festive Activities at Jurong Bird Park
Flock over to Jurong Bird Park with your little chicks and celebrate CNY with festive goings on including a Zoo-Diac Trail, a Parrots Got Talent session, lion dances and meet-and greet ops, plus the Wings of Asia: Pheasant Edition guided tour.
When: 27 January – 11 February
Where: Jurong Bird Park, 2 Jurong Hill, 628925
Cost: Activities are free but admission costs apply

Festive Activities at Night Safari
Join the after-dark fun at the Night Safari where the kids will love the colourful LED dragon dance, the Zoo-Diac Trail and meet and greet sessions with auspicious special guests.
When: 27 January – 11 February
Where: Night Safari,
Cost: Activities are free but admission costs apply

Chinese Zodiac art ‘n’ craft at PIP’s PLAYbox
Kids will love learning all about the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac as part of the interactive sessions happening over at PIP’s PLAYbox throughout the Lunar New Year. Expect print rubbings, tangrams and other fun activities galore: all for free!
When: Now until 28 February, 11am-6pm daily
Where: PIP’s PLAYbox, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

Chinese New Year Countdown Party
Usher in the Year of the Rooster with awesome family-friendly live performances, music, games, firecrackers and fireworks at a street party we’re all invited to!
When: 27 January, 9.30pm-12.30am
Where: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street

Free stage shows galore
Head over to Kreta Ayer Square to catch colourful Chinese cultural performances by local artists and international troupes from China.
When: 7-27 January, 8-10.30pm nightly
Where: Kreta Ayer Square

Expect performances, workshops and giant roosters at this year's River Hongbao

Expect performances, workshops and giant roosters at this year’s River Hongbao

River Hongbao 2017
It’s big, colourful and full of family fun: yep, River Hongbao is back! We’re talking dazzling performances, traditional handicraft stations, a carnival with over 30 rides and game stalls and workshops suitable for all ages. Refuel after all that fun at Food Street where you’ll find stalls galore dishing up local eats. See you there!
When: 26 January-4 February, open daily 2pm-11pm
Where: The Float@Marina Bay, 20 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039805

Chingay Parade
The end of the Lunar New Year celebrations come to a spectacular finale with the 45th edition of the annual Chingay Parade. Kids will be in awe of the pyrotechnics, dazzling floats, fireworks and special effects in a parade that promises to be bigger and bolder than ever.
When: 10-11 February,
Where: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Blvd, Singapore 038975
Cost: From $28.50 per ticket

Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts
Take the kids along to Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts for fun theatre shows and workshops with a big dose of CNY culture, language, and art immersion. Kids can get crafty at free workshops and join interactive storytelling performances while learning all about the origins of Chinese New Year. For the thesps amongst you: make sure to catch a Chinese adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Anthony Wong and Candice Yu.
When: 3-12 February
Where: Esplanade, 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
Cost: Free and ticketed events (from $15)

Paint a prosperity egg at the Spring Surprise celebrations at Gardens by the Bay

Paint a prosperity egg at the Spring Surprise celebrations at Gardens by the Bay

Spring Surprise at Gardens by the Bay
Celebrate Chinese New Year amongst the Spring blooms where you’ll not only find colourful floral displays and traditional performances, but also the world’s biggest LED Phoenix. Kids will love the God of Fortune meet ‘n’ greet, and the whole family can take part in a free calligraphy or prosperity egg painting workshop too.
When: 30 January-12 February, 9am-9pm daily
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Cost: Activities are free but admission charges to the Dome apply.

Dahlia Dreams at Gardens by the Bay
Usher in the Lunar New Year with the family at Gardens by the Bay’s first floral display of 2017: Dahlia Dreams! Expect dazzling hues of yellow, orange and red Dahlias and Begonias and then take a stroll through the Chinese garden inspired landscape, complete with a three-tier pagoda, pavilion, moon gates, and, of course, roosters!
When: now until 19 February, 9am-9pm daily
Where: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Cost: From $12 per person

Fortune Blooms at ION
Combine a spot of shopping with some CNY fun over at ION where tots and adults alike will love hanging out in the Chinese Garden watching the animated digital fish pond! There’ll also be lion dancing, the roving God of Fortune and calligraphy demos to catch while indulging in some retail therapy.
When: 4 January-12 February
Where: ION, Orchard Road


10th International Lion Dance Competition
Drums, stunts and lions? Sounds like a heck of a competition to us! Head over to Banda Street to watch a small army of colourful lions showing off their acrobatic tricks at this international comp sure to be a roaring success for the whole family.
When: 14-15 January, 6.30-10.30pm
Where: Carpark at Banda Street (off of Sago Lane)
Cost: $10 for one day, $15 for two.

Rojak Festival at Asian Civilisations Museum
Kick-start your CNY celebrations with a free weekend full of Rojak, art and music by heading over to the ACM for free ice balls, fortune telling, cultural performances, and carnival rides! Get your CNY shopping done and dusted at the art market before refuelling at a food bazaar and picnic ready to chill out on the ACM Green for a movie under the stars.
When: 14-15 January
Where: Asian Civilisations Museum, 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555

Chinese New Year Celebrations at IKEA
IKEA is making shopping for plastic pots and Swedish meatballs even easier with a whole heap of Chinese New Year fun planned in stores over the Lunar season. Learn how to FengShui your home from a professional master, whip up a floral arrangement, try your hand at a spot of Chinese calligraphy or even design a festive photo frame: all for free! Look out for lion dancers and the roving God of Fortune amongst the rows of ready-to-assemble wares.
When: 7 & 14 January & 4 February, various timings
Where: Tamines and Alexandra IKEA

Chinese New Year Farmers’ Market at Loewen Gardens
The first Farmers’ Market of 2017 is hitting the Loewen Gardens in Chinese New Year style where you can expect tons of goodies from the likes of Perk Coffee, ESO Tea and Cafthos by Clarine. Stock up on organic veg, breads, jams and cheeses for your New Year feast and reward your efforts with a slice of cake in the Pantry with the kiddos.
When: 14 January, 9am-2pm
Where: Loewen by Dempsey Hill, 71 Loewen Road, Singapore

PlayLah! Let’s Celebrate Chinese New Year 2017
Giant inflatable rooster slides, bouncy obstacle courses, workshops and performances are what it’s all about over at the awesome PlayLah! Let’s Celebrate Chinese New Year 2017 festivities.
When: 19-22 January, 12-9pm daily
Where: Singapore EXPO Hall 5, 1 Expo Drive, Singapore 486150
Cost: Free admission but some activities are chargeable. Sign up for $5 of free credits at

Puppetry Showcase for the Chinese New Year
We can’t wait to catch this performance by Children Puppet Castle where two tales will be told through puppetry: Who Will Call Back the Sun? And The Legend of the Nian Monster are sure to be a hit with the whole family. No registration needed.
When: 21 January, 2-3pm
Where: Cheng San Public Library, Open Stage, 90 Hougang Avenue 10, #03-11 Hougang Mall, Singapore 538766



Lead Image: Emilie Art Photography