Ringing in the Year of the Monkey the Vegas way

The paper lanterns are strung, the branches of the wishing trees are readied and we’ve got our most comfy dancing shoes on. It’s the Year of the Monkey, but you may know it as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, the Spring Festival, or that time of year Vegas rolls out those lush red and gold carpets. We’re about to usher in this vibrant, centuries-old holiday the only way we know how: by throwing a super-huge wild party. And please, don’t forget to mail us your red envelopes.

Traditional lion dance at Caesars Palace. Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment.

Traditional lion dance at Caesars Palace. Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment.

Dance

It ain’t a party ’til you hit the dance floor. And there are plenty of chances to get involved in the traditional dragon and lion dances. Ever wonder how to tell the difference between them? We’ve got you covered. The lion dances are typically performed by two people in the lion costume while the dragon dancers need multiple people to operate it. The longer the dragon, the more good fortune it brings to the community. Both are symbols of good luck.

Starting Monday, Feb. 8, there will be dozens of lion and dragon dances to attend. Here are a few we recommend:

On Saturday, Feb. 13 at 11 a.m., the 5th Annual Chinese New Year in the Desert will launch the Las Vegas Spring Festival Parade through downtown Las Vegas. Packed with intricate floats and vibrant costumes and dancing, the parade will make its way down Fremont Street and end with a party at Downtown Container Park. From 12 p.m. until 6 p.m., guests can celebrate with demonstrations by the Hunan Dance Troupe, Korabo Taiko drummers and the Lohan School of Shaolin, enjoy Chinese and Korean cultural costume fashion shows, and raffle prizes.

Peking duck at Spago. Photo courtesy of The Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.

Peking duck at Spago. Photo courtesy of The Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.

Eat

If there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s feed you. So many restaurants and celebrity chefs are flexing their culinary muscles with the creation of drool worthy menus, just for the occasion.

Feb. 8-17, Spago Executive Chef Eric Klein is creating a menu that features crisp pork belly and tiger prawn salad, roasted Peking duck, whole sea bass Hong Kong and more. The night of Feb. 18, Wolfgang’s WP24 Executive Chef John Lechliedner will take over and prepare a one-night only menu that features prawn Hargow dumplings, stir-fried Manila clams, soy glazed Kurobuta pork shanks and more.

Caesars Palace boasts several selections for authentic Chinese cuisine. Northern Chinese delicacies like dim sum, noodle and rice dishes, and chef specialty creations are being served up at Beijing Noodle No. 9. The recent opening of MR CHOW, which serves regional dishes from Beijing, means their world-famous Beijing duck, hand-pulled noodles, chicken satay and green prawns are available for all of us.

The M Resort’s Studio B Buffet has created a selection of Asian dishes including lion’s head meatballs, poached chicken with ginger and scallions, beef lo mein, sweet and sour pork and more. This special menu is served from Feb. 8-23.

Want to know where you can find the best Chinese food in Vegas? You’ll be glad you asked.

Chinese New Year 2016 in The Waterfall Atrium of The Palazzo Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of the Palazzo.

Chinese New Year 2016 in The Waterfall Atrium of The Palazzo Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of the Palazzo.

Celebrate

Thanks to the resort properties and Chinese New Year in the Desert partnering to make the Lunar New Year celebrations over the top, Forbes Magazine labeled Vegas in the top eight cities in the United States to celebrate the holiday.

For one thing, we’ve certainly got the decorations covered. If you haven’t seen the extravagant decorations at the Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and the Bellagio Conservatory, you don’t want to miss them. There’s also a custom-made illuminated dragon display at The Forum Shops at Caesars that sits upon a red carpet with hand-painted wood pillars and gold fencing. The dragon is 22 feet long, 12 feet high, and has a 950 pound steel frame with 30,000 LED lights.

Then there are the concerts. On Feb. 13, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is hosting XUÂN YÊU THƯƠNG, a huge event with entertainment icons like Dam Vinh Hung, Thu Phuong, Tran Thu Ha, Quang Linh, Duy Manh, Lam Vu, Phuong Trang, Quang Toan, Khanh Di, Phuong vu, Tan Hy Khanh, Viet Huong, Hoai Tam, DCP Dancers and MC Thanh Tung.

On Feb. 12, Taiwanese folk singer Tsai Chin will take the stage at Caesars. Singing in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese, Chin will undoubtedly sing her most popular hits like “The Forgotten Time,” “The Last Night,” “Just Like Your Tenderness” and “ The Spirit of Your Eyes.”

On Feb. 13 and 14, actor and TV personality Hacken Lee will reunite with singer and actress Joey Yung after an 11-year hiatus. These wildly popular entertainers from Hong Kong have won multiple awards and will grace the stage for a special concert series in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian.

Check out even more Chinese New Year events in Las Vegas.

 

Comments

Born a Buckeye - raised a Hoosier. I grew up in a one-horse town that straddles the Indiana/Ohio state line and until 2006, was in two different time zones. There were three stoplights and a whopping 48 students in my graduating class. Fast forward a few years later, I was bitten by the travel bug and decided to head west. It seems like no matter how long I live here, there’s always something that still makes my jaw drop. That’s what I love about Vegas; you never know what you’re going to see next and that’s what makes living here so much fun. Basically, if you’re bored in this town, there’s something wrong with you…not the city. I’m an avid traveler with an incurable case of wanderlust so stay tuned for all the tours, attractions and shopping adventures that Sin City has to offer.