As someone of Asian descent, any time I’m in the area – my family and I make sure we make the trip to San Francisco for the Chinese New Year Parade and Festival. It happens approximately 2 weeks after the Lunar New Year, since the celebrations take up to a month in a lot of the Asian cultures. The Chinese New Year Parade is the oldest and largest celebration outside of Asia. It is also the largest Asian event in North America. It’s a fun day of different booths, lots of eating and one of the most amazing parades.
Parking was a nightmare and we tried to get up there early! We ended up parking alongside the parade route, so we wouldn’t be able to leave until after the parade was finished and cleaned up. We were able to walk through the festival, and check out the different booths. The kids were able to grab some stuffed animal dogs, since this is the Year of the Dog.
My dad had heard of a restaurant that he wanted to check out. So for lunch, we checked out China Live SF. It’s a huge 30,000 square foot marketplace, which was pretty fun to walk through. You enter in through a tea bar, walk through a retail marketplace (you get a discount after you eat!), and then you get to their restaurant, with their fully stocked bar. The concept is a lot of fun – it’s extremely roomy and the majority of the kitchen is through a glass wall. I love being able to see the kitchen from my seat. I love watching the chefs make my food.
The food was actually pretty good! The serving sizes were a bit on the small side – with what the kiddos were willing to eat, sometimes the adults didn’t even get a taste of some of the dishes. We were also seated in an area that had no server – so we had to get up and find someone to get our drink orders after sitting for half an hour. We were way too full to even think about ordering dessert. They did have an awesome tea selection, which we drank during our entire meal.
After our meal at China Live, we walked down Grant Street to check out the different shops. Birdie wanted some authentic clothing, since she was performing with her Mandarin Club at the Lunar New Year Assembly that they have at school. Tot wanted all of the firecrackers that he could get his hands on. We stood in line at a bakery to grab some pastries to bring home. During our walk through, we could hear the parade starting up, so we walked over to see the many different floats that they had. My kids loved the dragons – those were their favorite.
We decided to eat again, after the parade. I love the food options here – so even though we weren’t quite hungry, we wanted some soup and tea to warm us up before we ended up in traffic, leaving the city. We stopped by the famous Sam Wo restaurant, which had an extremely long line. So we walked over to our old favorite, the Grant Place Restaurant. It’s a little homey restaurant with some great homestyle dishes.