The Third Annual Event Celebrating the Year of the Monkey (February 8-22, 2016) Marks the First Official Programming Honoring Choose Chicago's Memorandum of Understanding with China


January 14, 2016

Kara Carmichael
Choose Chicago
+1 312 567 8587


CHICAGO, IL - The third annual Chicago Chinese New Year celebration returns Monday, February 8 - Monday, February 22 with two-weeks of citywide programming to honor the Year of the Monkey, including a first-ever Midwest tour performance by Jackie Chan's Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe and new programming presented by the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

In May 2015, Choose Chicago and the China International Cultural Association, under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cultural collaboration. The MOU signifies a commitment to further develop cultural ties in an effort to strengthen each as a prominent global cultural tourism destination.   

"Chicago's 2016 Chinese New Year celebration is the first official event honoring our MOU agreement," said Melissa Cherry, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Cultural Tourism at Choose Chicago. "This bilateral partnership elevates Chicago's and China's distinct cultural assets with thoughtful programming offering visitors educating and enriching experiences. Unique cultural performances like the Long Yun Kung Fu troupe performance as well as special exhibitions and events curated by our renowned cultural institutions create awareness of Chinese New Year traditions and illustrate our commitment to the Chinese visitor," added Cherry.

The Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe will make its Midwest debut at the Chinese New Year Kickoff at the Chicago Cultural Center on February 8 from 12PM-1PM. In addition to this thrilling performance, guests will be dazzled by lion dancers as they beat their drums to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck for the New Year. This colorful kickoff celebration presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society also includes the beauty and elegance of traditional Chinese dance and music performed by some of Chicago's finest artists.

"China continues to be the world's biggest outbound tourism market," said Chinese Consul General Zhao Weiping. "As 2016 is the China-U.S. Tourism Year declared by President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama during President Xi's recent visit to the U.S., we are ready to work with Choose Chicago and its cultural partners on programs that will foster cultural exchanges as well as two-way tourism between China and Chicago in this important year."


New Chinese New Year programming, includes:

The Art Institute of Chicago

Monkeying Around - Mini Tour (February 1-29)

In celebration of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Monkey, the Art Institute of Chicago is calling on its troupe of museum monkeys to lead the festivities. Join the fun with this quick visit to these curious creatures and get in touch with your own simian side.

Free Museum Tours in Mandarin (February 13-14 and February 20-21 at 12:00PM)

Discover works that have delighted visitors from around the world for over a century. In Impressionist galleries, see Monet, Degas, Renoir, and more. Plunge into the color and excitement of late 19th-century life while viewing one of the most admired collections of French Impressionism in the world. In American Art, discover how artists have expressed the many sides of the American experience. Highlights of the Modern Wing include Modern and Contemporary art in the stunning Renzo Piano-designed addition with the work of Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and other giants of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Make sure to visit the Museum Café for noodles and dumplings then continue the exploration with the Art Institute's newly expanded Mandarin audio guide or the new Mandarin pocket guide.

The Chinese Fine Arts Society

Jackie Chan's Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe (February 9 and 13 at the University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 7:30PM)

Direct from Beijing, this performance marks film star Jackie Chan's Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe's second only appearance in the U.S. since its founding in 2006 and the troupe's first time in the Midwest. Long Yun will present the U.S. Premiere of its new work 11 Warriors, a performance in five chapters combining kung fu, ballet, modern dance and drama to interpret the origin, spirit, artists, tenderness and essence of kung fu.  Long Yun is made up of 11 nationally recognized Chinese Kung fu artists working under troupe president, Hu Wei. Under Jackie Chan's direction, the members of Long Yun studied extensively in all areas of performance - piano, voice, literature, as well as all forms of Chinese kung fu including Tai Chi, Bagua, Long Fist, Wing Chun, and many others. Long Yun focuses on traditional elements of kung fu with folding fans, flag performances, sword performances, and an element of chivalry in addition to modern elements of dance, drama, and technology to create a completely new art form. The troupe remains committed to its mission to share the five thousand years of China's culture and essence to audiences from China and abroad.

Sophia's Choice: Asian Pop Up Cinema

Arts & Culture Doc Fest (February 19 at Chicago History Museum and February 20 at Chicago Botanic Garden)

Sophia's Choice, will present Arts & Culture Doc Fest featuring some never-before-seen documentaries covering music, dance, art, and history that were produced and sourced by the Centre of International Cultural Exchange in Beijing. Titles include, Passage to China, a trilogy documenting Denis Keller's--a Chinese-German TV host-vast travels through China in 2014; Shaolin Kung Fu Monks documenting L.A.-based Adam McArthur's world tour with the Shaolin Kung Fu Monks; and The Dancer on the Silk Road spotlighting three performers, who all reside in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the ancient southern and northern silk road. Documentary running times vary from 30-50 minutes and will be shown in either Mandarin with English subtitles or in English with Chinese subtitles. 

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Center presents Chinese New Year Concert (February 21 at 3:00PM)

Symphony Center Presents offers a special concert featuring guest artists from China performing both traditional and contemporary Chinese music. The internationally acclaimed China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra, conducted by Pang Kapang, make their Chicago debut with a program that includes the joyous "Spring Festival Prelude" and the cheerful "Hauer Caprice" with CSO cellist Katinka Kleijn as soloist.

The WFMT Radio Network (98.7 WFMT)

"Shanghai Spring" (January 6 - February 24 on Wednesdays at 8:00PM)

Chicago's WFMT Radio Network is pleased to announce the launch of "Shanghai Spring," a series of eight, two-hour radio programs based on the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival (SSIMF). The series will air in the U.S. starting in January 2016. 

"Shanghai Spring" will take listeners to one of the most vibrant cities of the world through a groundbreaking project, uniting the WFMT Radio Network, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and SSIMF-opening the door between Western and Chinese music.

Macy's on State Street

In partnership with Choose Chicago, the Chinese Ministry of Culture will once again install a window display at the corner of State and Randolph Streets. The Monkey King himself will be depicted wishing people the best in 2016.


United Airlines is the official sponsor for the 2016 Chicago Chinese New Year celebration and they fly to the most destinations in China.  From its hometown in Chicago, they have the most nonstop service to China; also servicing other destinations like Chengdu and Xian via its San Francisco hub.  United Airlines welcomes the people from Chicagoland to visit China in 2016! 

For a complete list of Chinese New Year events, including the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown and the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival at Navy Pier along with a variety of special retail offerings at Bloomingdale's, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Macy's, Shops at North Bridge, visit


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Chicago's Chinese Visitation

In 2013, Chicago became the first U.S. city to expand beyond its tourism and trade operations in Beijing and Shanghai and into China's third largest city, Guangzhou. In April 2015, Choose Chicago celebrated the opening of its fourth office in the City of Chengdu. The Chengdu office builds on Chicago's continued investment in the market, which now represents the leading inbound overseas market for Chicago with 133,000 Chinese visitors in 2014.

Visitor Information Resources

For more information about Chicago, please visit

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