Hanukkah Events and Activities in NYC

Hanukkah Events and Activities in NYC

(Courtesy The Jewish Museum)

This year, Hanukkah begins the evening of Saturday, December 24, and ends the evening of Sunday, January 1. This Festival of Lights is a holiday celebrating the menorah at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem burning for eight days and nights after the successful Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, though there was only enough oil for one day.

Menorah Lighting Ceremonies: ­Though the menorah at the Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights Brooklyn is technically taller than the Central Park menorah, it was recently decided by a rabbinical court that the Grand Army Plaza menorah will no longer be referred to as World’s Largest Menorah” (even though it is in the Guinness Book of World Records as such in 2006). However, this very large menorah at Grand Army Plaza will be lit in a ceremony from 7-8 pm on Saturday, December 24. There will be live music, yummy latkes and activities for children. The Central Park menorah will be lit the same night during a ceremony from 8-9 pm. Both epically large menorahs will be lit in subsequent ceremonies on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Click here for times, as they vary from night to night.

The Jewish Museum (Upper East Side): Admission to the Jewish Museum is free on Saturdays, so enjoy free entry on Saturday December 24 and 31 during Hanukkah! On Sunday, December 25, there will be a family-friendly Studio Art Sessions from 12:30-4 pm on the fourth floor. This event (free with museum admission) is Hanukkah-inspired and will use the theme of light as participants paint black canvas with metallic colors. 

Russ & Daughters Cafe (Lower East Side): When you want authentic Jewish comfort food during Hanukkah—or any time of the year, actually—this is the place to be. Go for a nosh, stay for the platters of smoked and kippered salmon, bagels and cream cheese, potato latkes, knishes, matzo ball soup, borscht, brisket sandwiches, blintzes, babka French toast, noodle kugel and more. Click here for the holiday hours of operation.

Eldridge Street Synagogue (Lower East Side/Chinatown) – This National Historic Landmark was built by Eastern European immigrants in 1887. Guests can visit the Museum at Eldridge Street during its daytime hours, as well as attend ticketed events year-round and take guided walking tours of the neighborhood. Among other events during Hanukkah are a Candlelight Tour and Soiree at the synagogue on Tuesday, December 27, from 7-9 pm ($30/per person). Celebrate the fourth night of Hanukkah by taking a tour, enjoy the new Lower East Side postcards exhibition, share stories and snack on latkes and wine. Get your tickets here.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (Upper West Side): – On Tuesday, December 27, and Thursday, December 29, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is hosting eight “Eight Nights, Eight Lights: Hanukkah Calendar” programs where kids will make pocketed banners in which to store Hanukkah goodies. As there is limited space per program, it is required that you sign your little one up an hour beforehand in the lobby of the museum. Click here for program times for each day.  

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