Your Guide to Melbourne’s 2020 Chinese New Year Festival

Beautiful traditional Chinese Lantern lamp in red color

Prepare your eyes for the richness of red and gold, for the Chinese Lunar New Year is almost upon us! Expect fireworks, festive dragons and plenty of delicious food at the various events throughout the city, celebrating the Year of the Rat.

Where to go to celebrate Chinese New Year in Melbourne

Melbourne’s vibrant Chinatown is where you’ll find much of the action from 24 January to 9 February 2020. Little Bourke Street is the perfect place to start your adventures, where you’ll be able to spot the Dai Loong Big Dragon, watch energetic lion dances and partake in delicious cuisine from hawker stalls. There’s also free entry to the Chinese Museum at the heart of Chinatown throughout the festival, providing the perfect chance to soak up the rich history of Chinese heritage and culture within Australia.

There’s the huge official Chinese New Year Eve countdown at Queensbridge Square on 24 January that you won’t want to miss, complete with an epic light show, traditional live performances and a chance to see beautiful ancient clothing from different dynasties. Celebrations start from 5pm, so be sure to get there early enough to experience it all.

If you’re a lover of music, then you might also make your way to Hamer Hall on Friday 31 January for the seventh annual Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Chinese New Year concert. This year will feature a stunning performance of the Yellow River Piano Concerto led by conductor Yi Zhang, together with performances by Pianist Jieni Wan and pieces by composers Julian Yu and Wanghua Chu.

In 2020 there are Chinese New Year celebrations in Southgate, Queen Victoria Market, South Wharf, Docklands and beyond. Docklands is set to be particularly thrilling on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February, as thousands of revellers watch the colourful dragon boats slice across the Yarra at the Lunar New Year Dragon Boat Festival. There’ll be food trucks, cultural performances and activities galore set to the sound of drumming.

Where to find accommodation in Melbourne’s CBD for Chinese New Year

If you’re planning to be in the city for the New Year festivities for two days or more, then it will be well worth your while to book into serviced apartments in Melbourne CBD. These are more cost-effective than you might expect and you’ll have your own kitchen, WiFi and spacious living areas to stretch out in ­– all within walking distance to Melbourne’s eateries and Chinese New Year celebrations. Punthill Apartments’ Melbourne locations couldn’t be better placed, with apartment hotels on Flinders Street, Flinders Lane, Little Bourke Street and Northbank as well as options in the inner suburbs.

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