Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

Chanukah Fun for Kids in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens

The Festival of Lights is on the horizon, with the first night of Hanukkah Saturday, December 24. As a truly multicultural city, New York knows how to celebrate the holidays.

From the dual World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lightings—one on the Upper East Side, the other in Brooklyn's Park Slope—to fun celebrations like Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum to small local fun like a Chanukah Pajama Party, we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday.

As always, click through for time, price, and more event details.

Menorah Lightings​

World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting – Upper East Side
Saturday, December 24 through Saturday, December 31
This 32-foot tall, two-ton menorah, located on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, is lit every night of the holiday. Lightings generally take place at 5:30pm. However, on Friday, December 30 the lighting will be at 3:30pm and on Saturday, December 31 candles are set ablaze at 8pm. FREE

Mayor Bill de Blasio lights the giant menorah at Grand Army Plaza in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah. Photo by Demetrius Freeman/courtesy of the Mayoral Photography Office. 

Grand Army Plaza Menorah Lighting – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Saturday, December 24 through Saturday, December 31
The lighting of Brooklyn's 32-foot menorah, also known as "The World's Largest Menorah," takes place each night of Hanukkah. Revelers enjoy hot latkes, gifts for children, and music nightly. Lightings are held at 7pm on Saturday; 6pm Monday-Thursday; and 3:30pm Friday. FREE

Grand Menorah Lighting – Lower East Side
Saturday, December 24
Enjoy hot latkes, live music, toys for the kids, and fire juggling at this downtown menorah lighting. FREE 

Cobble Hill Park Chanukah Party – Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Monday, December 26
Join Chabad of Brooklyn Heights at Cobble Hill park for an afternoon party, including refreshments, games and face painting, but also a public lighting of the menorah at the park. FREE, but RSVP kindly requested.

Queens Borough Hall Menorah Lighting – Kew Gardens, Queens
Tuesday, December 27
While the details are still being worked out, we have confirmed with organizers, Anshe Sholom Chabad JCC, that the annual lighting at Queens Borough Hall will return in 2016. Last year, the Queens borough president attended, and there were refreshments and family activities. FREE

Chanukah on the Park – Forest Hills, Queens
Saturday, December 31
Watch the final lighting of the 15-foot menorah in Yellowstone Municipal Park and then enjoy live music, jelly donuts and more entertainment with Chabad of Forest Hills. Lighting at 6:30pm. FREE but RSVP required and donations accepted.

Holiday Celebrations

R&R Shabbat: Hanukkah – Upper West Side
Saturday, December 17
Celebrate a special Hanukkah edition of The JCC's R&R Shabbat. Expect plenty of family fun, from face painting to live music, holiday-themed art projects, and more. The best part: Like all JCC R&R Shabbat's, the fun is FREE.

Kids enjoy dreidel painting at the 92nd Street Y's Hanukkah Festival. Photo courtesy of the 92nd Street Y.

Hanukkah Festival – Upper East Side
Sunday, December 18
The 92nd Street Y hosts this family festival. Activities include live entertainment, ranging from Israeli dancing to a live science show, arts and crafts, and plenty more family amusements.

Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum – Upper East Side
Sunday, December 18
Head to this Upper East Side cultural institution for a fun-filled day of crafting menorahs, dreidels, and hand-stamped cards. Hear live music performances from kid rocker Shira Kline, and peruse the museum's collection of Hanukkah lights. The program is included in museum admission. 

Latkepalooza! — Battery Park City 
Sunday, December 18
Is there any way to resist the term "latkepalooza?" The Museum of Jewish Heritage provides not just the irresistible potato pancakes but music, theater, and hands-on activities for kids.

Chanukah Celebration — Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn 
The Kings Bay Y hosts this Hanukkah party for families with children's music, storytelling, raffles, and more. FREE

Chanukah Party – Astoria, Queens
Sunday, December 18
Join the Astoria Center of Israel for a kid-focused party with games, singing, plenty of latkes, and a light-your-own menorah ceremony. 

Chanukah Pajama Party – Little Neck, Queens
Sunday, December 18
Kids wear their PJs to this afternoon fest that includes gym games, crafts, and a hot chocolate bar, plus performances and sign-along. FREE but donations of pajamas, socks, and robes for families requested.

Hanukkah Family Day – East Harlem
Saturday, December 24
The Museum of the City of New York engages families in menorah making just in time for the first night of the holiday. See the museum's collection of Jewish cultural artifacts and check out the newly opened New York at its Core exhibit. FREE with museum admission. 

Chanukah on Ice – Harlem
Tuesday, December 27
Head to one of our favorite outdoor skating rinks to celebrate the holiday. Chanukah on Ice relocates from Wollman Rink to Harlem's Lasker Rink for the 2016 celebration, which features three hours of skating, live music, and (of course) a menorah carved from ice. 

Eight Nights, Eight Lights: Hanukkah Calendar – Upper West Side
Tuesday, December 27 and Thursday, December 29
Visit the Children's Museum of Manhattan to while away some vacation hours. Kids can create an eight-pocket banner in which to store a treasure each night of the holiday. FREE with paid admission. 

Chanukah Experience – Kew Gardens, Queens
Sunday, December 25, and Monday, December 26
Families are welcomed to the eighth annual two-day festival featuring Hanukkah crafts for kids and grown-ups, a puppet theater, make your own doughnuts, candles, or latkes, and a giant kotel!

Car Menorah Parade – Forest Hills, Queens
Monday, December 26
Join (or watch) this automobile-fueled menorah parade as it winds through Central Queens. Register with Anshe Sholom Chabad JCC.

Chanukah for Kids Party – ​Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Monday, December 26
Face painting, balloon twisting, crafts, latkes and donuts, plus a ventriloquist show make this 11th annual Hanukkah party hosted by the Chabad of North Brooklyn hard to beat. There's even an edible sushi menorah!

Celebrate Chanukah with Gan and Friends – Dumbo, Brooklyn
This all ages fete from Chabad Dumbo celebrates Hanukkah with a menorah lighting, but also a magician, singing and storytelling, and even an optional gift swap.

Family Concerts

Hanukkah Playhouse – Upper West Side
Sunday, December 18
Merkin Concert Hall hosts this music and comedy-filled celebration, starring the Broadway Playhouse Cast. Arrive early to peruse a Hanukkah market, complete with seasonal eats, Hanukkah-inspired books, as well as storytelling and games in the concert hall lobby. 

Celebrate the holiday with song and dance at the Jewish Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Oran Etkin Concert at the Jewish Museum – Upper East Side
Sunday, December 25
Head to the Jewish Museum to catch Oran Etkin. The artist weaves klezmer, jazz, and African-inspired music into a celebratory concert. 

Kids and Yiddish – ​Battery Park
Sunday, December 25
Kids and parents will laugh (and learn) along with this family concert that teaches children Yiddish in a fun mash-up theme from the National Yiddish Theatre. 

Lastly, as a holiday gift to you the Empire State Building celebrates with a blue and white light scheme.

For more holiday happenings, be sure to visit our Holiday Guide, and from all of us to you, have a Happy Hanukkah.

Top photo: A menorah carved from the ice as part of Chanukah on Ice in Central Park. Photo courtesy of Chanukah on Ice.