Go Metro to the Chinese New Year Festival and the Firecracker 10k

My free gift from last year's Chinese New Year Festival. Wonder what I'll get this year!

My free gift from last year’s Chinese New Year Festival. Wonder what I’ll get this year!

For firecrackers, great food and fun cultural performances, head over to Chinatown this Lunar New Year.

The Chinese New Year Festival will take place from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Central Plaza. In honor of the Year of the Snake, festival goers will have the chance to participate in a record-breaking attempt to fold 800,000 pieces of paper to make a giant snake structure, which will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for evaluation. There also will be plenty of food, drinks and live entertainment.

Go Metro to receive a free gift while supplies last. To claim a gift, simply present a valid TAP card or L.A. County employee ID at the Chinatown BID info booth located in Central Plaza.

The Golden Dragon Parade will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. The parade will feature floats, marching bands, various dignitaries and more. Both events are free to attend.

The following weekend, Feb. 23 and 24, is the L.A. Chinatown Firecracker 5k/10k Run, Walk, Kiddie Run and Bike Ride. The bike ride will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday while the runners will take to the streets starting at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Metro riders can get $3 off the race registration fee when they sign up online using the promotional code GOMETRO13. Registered participants who show their valid TAP card or L.A. County employee ID at the run will receive free bag check-in service.

The free Nite n’ Day Festival will take place the same weekend. It will feature music, food and cultural entertainment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and 8:15 a.m. to noon Sunday, Feb. 24.

All of these events are easily reached from the Metro Gold Line Chinatown Station. It’s the best option when it comes to avoiding traffic from street closures and dealing with limited parking spaces. For more route options, use Trip Planner.