If you didn't manage to escape the city this year, don't worry: There are plenty of activities within the city to impart a festive mood.
Tazi Shan Park
If you're fascinated by pretty lights, the Lantern Fair at Tazi Shan Park is the place for you. Named after the pagoda that resides there, Tazi Shan Park is also the site of an annual Lantern Fair, an event highlighted by illuminated lanterns of all shapes and sizes. At night, these lanterns come to life with a vivid assortment of colors, from the golden mane of a dragon to the brown feathers of a sparrow. The lantern theme of 2010 revolves around tigers, as this is, after all, the year of the tiger. Tazi Shan's lantern festival runs from February 14 to March 8.
Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Chengdu's panda center will be hosting a Panda Carnival that will focus around, you guessed it, pandas. An event that seeks to recruit volunteers from all around the world, the Panda Carnival seeks to promote the image of the giant panda through an exhibition of artistic forms such as painting, calligraphy, photography, animation, handicrafts, and so on, with the giant panda as the theme. As well, panda-oriented performances will be sure to entertain, such as panda face changing, panda gymnastics, panda parody, and others.
Once a bustling street of the Qin Dynasty, Jinli Street has transformed into a tourist attraction but has retained much of its sense of history. And with the upcoming arrival of the Spring Festival, Jinli is sure to be dazzling. With initiation ceremonies commencing on the night of February 11 at neighboring Wuhouci, Jinli will host its annual temple fair through the 28th. Activities will include vibrant reenactments of Chinese operatic performances, extensive exhibitions of intricate Chinese art and crafts, stalls of tantalizing Chinese delicacies, and beloved Chinese traditions such as lantern riddles.
The Wenshu Monastery, the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu, houses a plethora of cultural relics, and is well known for its exquisite gardens and solemn halls. Similar to Jinli's fair, the Wenshu Temple Fair will feature performances, crafts, and snacks in a spacious and traditional setting.for the duration of the New Year holiday (February 14 to 28).
In the mood for food? Pay a visit to Kuanzhai Xiangzi, a series of alleys and lanes which are laden with places to eat. Apart from the food, Kuanzhai Xiangzi will be hosting an exhibition of traditional folk crafts, which, apart from those on sale, will be included in a treasure hunt. During the first six days of the new year, there will be Sichuan operatic performances as well as displays revolving around the art of tea.
Dufu's Thatched Cottage
Some consider poetry to be the language of love, which is why the former house of famed poet Dufu will host a blend of Chinese culture and Valentine's Day romance: old photos, a poetry festival, a carved-stone show, poetry contests, and chocolates and blessings for couples who go on February 14.
The city of Zigong (home of one of the world's largest dinosaur museums) and Sichuan's major salt-producing region, is hosting a large-scale lantern festival throughout the holiday. Passengers starting in Chengdu can reach Zigong by bus in about three hours or by train in about five.
Where to escape the fireworks
For those who like to shop, Chunxi Lu might be a spot to hit up on Chinese New Year's Eve. Apart from the bright decorations and lively jostling crowd, the fact that no fireworks can be fired near Chengdu's shopping central may be a relief to those with aching ears.
And finally, for those with families in Chengdu, there's simply no place like home. If there's any way to eat dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year, it's the Chinese custom of reunion and watching CCTV's famed annual Spring Festival Gala (春节联欢晚会) broadcast live on CCTV-1.
From everyone at GoChengdoo.com, happy Chinese New Year!