Hanukkah runs from December 2-9 this year, and (logically) there is no better place to celebrate the festival of lights than the city that doesn’t sleep. Rally the family to come light the menorah, party and dance the Hora; take a break and indulge in Hanukkah’s signature feast of latkes, donuts and an endless supply of chocolate gelt. Get your dreidel on and spin over to these fantastically festive NYC Hanukkah events for kids and families.
photo: Chabad Lubavitch via Flickr
Candle Lighting at the World’s Largest Menorah
Is there such a thing as “Menorah Wars”? There are, in fact, two “world’s largest” menorahs right here in New York, which means double the flaming fun. Over a decade ago, Guinness World Records officially noted the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah as the one located at Grand Army Plaza Fifth Avenue and W. 59th Street in Manhattan. Shining of gold and standing 32 feet-tall, 28 feet-wide and weighing 4,000 pounds, the impressive steel menorah was designed by Yaacov Agam and has been lit each year since the late 1970s.
Another equally-grand menorah, also standing at 32 feet-tall, resides in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights. (Why both lightings have to be held at identically-named spots, we don’t know.) The lightings here will include live music, hot latkes and gifts for the children attending; the first night features a special concert by
Decca recording artist Shulem at 4:40 p.m. kicking things off.
Note: Lighting times vary throughout the duration of the holiday.
Dates: Dec. 2-9
Manhattan’s Midtown Menorah
Sun., Dec. 2, 4:30 p.m.
Fifth Avenue and W. 59th Street location
Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights Menorah
Sun., Dec. 2, 4:30 p.m. concert, 5:30 p.m. lighting
Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Parkway
photo: The Pop-Ups Facebook Page
Chanukah at the 92nd Street Y
Light it up! A Chanukah Family Concert Featuring the Pop-Ups
Kindie music sensation the Pop Ups bring their rock and roll puppet show to the 92nd Street Y for a special holiday concert. Plus, Rebecca Schoffer will lead a candle-lighting with classic Maccabee melodies and more. Children of all ages and abilities are welcome.
Sun., Dec 2, 10:30 a.m.
Glow-in-the-Dark Chanukah Family Dinner
Put a fun twist on your family tradition at the 92Y Glow-in-the-Dark Chanukah Family Dinner on December 7 at 6 p.m. Catered by chef Russ Moss, the kosher and sesame/nut-free meal will be led by the Y’s Rebecca Schoffer, Director of Jewish Family Engagement and Shababa. Bring your flashlight and enjoy a magical dinner of lights that includes glow sticks, latkes and music.
Fri., Dec. 7, 6 p.m.
92nd St. Y
Upper East Side
Eight Nights of Light: Celebrate Chanukah at the JCC
The JCC will hold a free candle lighting and a pop-up Chanukah party every night of the holiday this year. Come enjoy food, music, and more, thanks to donors to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th Street
photo: via Chanukah on Ice Facebook page
Chanukah on Ice at the Wollman Rink in Central Park
A giant menorah that’s totally cool. Grab your skates and head outside to Wollman Rink and celebrate Hanukkah — on ice! Presented by Chabad Centers of New York City, this event features skating, live music, Hanukkah treats, and a giant Ice Menorah that will be lit in the evening. The event sells out quick so snag tickets now — Hanukkah doesn’t get any cooler than this!
Mon., Dec. 3, 6 – 9 p.m.
Tickets: Online: $32/with skate rental; $24/without skate rental; free for children under 3
photo: via Museum at Eldridge Street Facebook page
Latkepalooza! at the Museum at Eldridge Street
Get the party started early during the day at The Museum at Eldridge Street’s Latkapalooza! The family festival takes over the entire museum with arts and crafts, music, stories, and of course, lots of latkes.
Dec. 2, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Tickets: Adults/$14; kids/$8, seniors/$8
12 Eldridge St.
Lower East Side
Lighting the World: Menorahs Around the Globe
Also at the Museum at Eldridge Street, this exhibit of menorahs used over five centuries from around the globe will be on display in the museum’s magnificent sanctuary.
Dec. 6 through Spring 2019
Tickets: $14/adults; $8/kids 5 – 17; free/kids under five
12 Eldridge St.
Lower East Side
photo: Jewish Museum
Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum
On Sunday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Jewish Museum will present its annual Hanukkah Family Day. The day includes art activities and music geared towards children ages 3 and up, such as a drop-in art workshop where kids can create Hanukkah lamps, art inspired by Chagall, and colorful light window books. Attendees will also be able to collaborate with other families on a giant light collage.
The day also features a reggae-style concert by Josh and the Jamtones at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Other activities include a retelling of the Hanukkah story through a drawing performance and a tour of the Museum’s world-famous collection of Hanukkah lamps. RSVP here! (recommended)
Sun., Dec. 2, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Tickets: free, with museum admission; $18/adults; $12/senior citizens; $8/students, free/18 and under
1109 5th Ave. at 92nd St.
Upper East Side
photo: via Jewish Children’s Museum Facebook page
Hanukkah Art Festival at the Jewish Children’s Museum
The Jewish Children’s Museum has a mission to celebrate all of Jewish life: “its history, culture, and traditions.” That mission comes to life at its annual Hanukkah Family Festival. Get greased up at their Olive Oil Workshop, where you can pick, press, pour and explore the art of olive oil making, or hit the beading studio to make some jewelry or a keychain. Get sticky with it and top your own donut with icing and sprinkles, or enter a sounds-and-lights-filled game show setting and participate in a game show, during which players will be quizzed on aspects of Jewish life. Visitors can also join a grand menorah lighting featuring singing, chocolate gelt and a souvenir of the day. Recommended for ages two and up.
Tickets: $13/ages two & up; $10/ seniors
792 Eastern Pkwy.
— Meredith Levine