Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It typically falls in December and it commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after it was reclaimed from the Seleucid Empire. Of course, Hanukkah is celebrated in New York City.
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Are you looking for the perfect way to celebrate Hanukkah in the Big Apple? From iconic menorah lighting to scrumptious latkes at top-notch kosher restaurants, we’ve got you covered. Join us as we explore the best Hanukkah celebrations in NYC, ensuring your holiday is filled with light, joy, and unforgettable moments. Let’s get started!
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These are the best Hanukkah celebrations in NYC
#1. The Menorah Lighting at Grand Army Plaza
Witness the lighting of the world’s largest menorah, taking place each night of Hanukkah at Grand Army Plaza. Nestled beside the Pulitzer Fountain and just across from the iconic Plaza Hotel, this event is a must-see for anyone looking to experience the grandeur of Hanukkah celebrations in NYC. With each candle lighting, the crowd comes alive, making it a unifying experience for all.
#2. Chanukah on Ice at Wollman’s Rink
For those who love both ice skating and holiday festivities, Wollman’s Rink has created the perfect event with their special “Chanukah on Ice.” Located in Central Park, this venue turns into a winter wonderland of Jewish culture, complete with Jewish music, complimentary kosher food, and a hand-carved ice menorah by artist Bill Bywater. This unique twist on Hanukkah celebrations in NYC offers a relaxing yet heartwarming experience.
#3. The Jewish Museum
Serving as the cultural heartbeat of Jewish heritage in the city, The Jewish Museum is a cornerstone of Hanukkah celebrations in NYC. Schedule a visit to explore their awe-inspiring collection of over 1,000 Hanukkah lamps, which is the largest collection in the world. But don’t stop there; the museum offers a variety of Hanukkah events that amplify and celebrate Jewish traditions, making it an enriching destination this holiday season.
#4. A Culinary Collaboration at 12 Chairs Cafe
Two renowned NYC eateries, 12 Chairs Cafe and Sherry Herring, are fusing their culinary genius to bring you an innovative take on traditional latkes. Available from December 7-15, this collaboration celebrates Jewish-Israeli heritage with a scrumptious trio of open-faced potato latke sandwiches. Whether it’s Matjes Herring with sour cream and chili or Smoked Tuna adorned with Harissa flakes, these delights are a delicious addition to Hanukkah celebrations in NYC.
#5. Hanukkah Festivities at Jane’s Carousel
Fancy a festive whirl on a carousel after a menorah lighting? Head over to Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, where Chabad of DUMBO and DUMBO Gan Preschool host an enchanting Chanukah event. Expect an ice menorah, free carousel rides, and creative Hanukkah crafts for the kids. This family-friendly event makes for a whimsical and unforgettable part of your Hanukkah celebrations in NYC.
#6. Barney Greengrass’ Hanukkah Delights
Explore culinary traditions at Barney Greengrass, an iconic NYC deli that’s been around for more than a century. Known as the “Sturgeon King,” this beloved spot has a variety of smoked fish that complements any Hanukkah celebration in NYC. But be sure to ask for their delicious latkes. While they’re not listed on the regular menu, these scrumptious potato pancakes often make a special appearance during Hanukkah weekends. It’s a tasty way to add some old-school New York flair to your holiday celebration.
#7. Light Up Lower Manhattan
Residents and visitors in lower Manhattan rejoice! A slew of menorah lightings are set to illuminate various spots, including the New York Stock Exchange and a special lighting at dinner with FDNY Engine at 42 South St. These Hanukkah celebrations in NYC offer unique ways to observe the Festival of Lights in the heart of the financial district.
#8. Sweet Hanukkah Fun at Cricket’s Candy Creations
For a delicious and educational Hanukkah outing, head to Cricket’s Candy Creations in Tribeca. This ticketed pop-up event lets kids make their own marshmallow dreidels and candy menorahs. Here, it’s not just about indulging your sweet tooth; the event also educates children on cooking in a fun and safe environment. A perfect blend of tradition and fun, this is a don’t-miss for families looking to enhance their Hanukkah celebrations in NYC.
#9. Maccabees Bar’s Hanukkah Pop-Up
Take your Hanukkah celebrations in NYC to the next level at Maccabees Bar, a Hanukkah-themed pop-up open until December 31st. With a mouthwatering menu that includes latkes and Hanukkah-inspired cocktails like the Hebrew Hammer and Latke Sour, this bar offers a unique way to toast to the Festival of Lights. Come for the food, stay for the spirits, and bask in the holiday ambiance!
#10. Skate and Celebrate at Seaport’s Chanukah on Ice
Experience Hanukkah with a waterside twist at Seaport’s “Chanukah On Ice.” This free event offers a rich lineup of festivities, from ice skating to live performances by local artists and a children’s choir. Beyond skating and music, enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, and a live ice menorah carving. Top it all off with the annual menorah lighting to make this one of your most memorable Hanukkah celebrations in NYC. But don’t forget to RSVP!
#11. Hanukkah at Katz’s Delicatessen
Indulge in both culture and cuisine at Katz’s Delicatessen, an NYC landmark known for its unforgettable food and movie moments. This Hanukkah, Katz’s is pulling out all the stops with a special dinner package that can be shipped right to your home. The feast includes pastrami, brisket, matzoh ball soup, latkes, and even a decadent chocolate babka. It’s a deliciously convenient way to enhance your Hanukkah celebrations in NYC. Prefer to dine in? Their in-house menu has even more to offer.
Where can I celebrate Hanukkah in NYC?
NYC offers a plethora of venues and events to celebrate Hanukkah, ranging from traditional menorah lightings at Grand Army Plaza and Lower Manhattan to unique experiences like Chanukah on Ice at Wollman’s Rink and Seaport. For foodies, eateries like 12 Chairs Cafe and Katz’s Delicatessen offer special Hanukkah meals. Museums and pop-up bars also join the Hanukkah celebrations in NYC, offering something for everyone.
How is Hanukkah celebrated in New York?
New York celebrates Hanukkah in grand style, reflecting the city’s diverse and vibrant Jewish community. The festivities include public menorah lightings, ice skating events with Jewish music, and museum exhibits focused on Hanukkah. Dining options are abundant, with restaurants offering special holiday dishes like latkes and brisket. Hanukkah pop-up bars and family-friendly crafting events add a modern twist to the traditional celebrations.
What time is Menorah Lighting NYC?
Menorah lighting times can vary by location and event. However, traditional public menorah lightings like the one at Grand Army Plaza usually take place around sundown. Always check the specific event details for accurate timing, as some may have special guest appearances or performances that could affect the lighting schedule.
When is Hanukkah?
In 2023, Hanukkah starts at sundown on Thursday, December 7th, and lasts until sundown on Friday, December 15th. The festival follows the Hebrew calendar and thus varies each year in terms of the Gregorian calendar.
What is going on in NYC for Hanukkah?
NYC becomes a hub of Hanukkah activity each December, with events catering to all ages and interests. From the world’s largest menorah lighting at Grand Army Plaza to special Hanukkah dinners at famed restaurants, there is no shortage of ways to celebrate. Ice skating events, museum exhibits, crafting activities, and even Hanukkah-themed pop-up bars are part of the city’s vibrant Hanukkah celebrations in NYC.
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I'm in love with New York City since I was a child but when I finally had the chance to visit this place back in 2019 I lost my heart. This city makes me happy in a way I didn't know before. Now I hope that I can give you some inspiration for your New York City trip, so that you can understand my love for this city and have the best possible time in the Big Apple.