Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

Chanukah Fun for Kids in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

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

Menorah Lightings

World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting — Upper East Side
Tuesday, December 12 through Tuesday, December 19
This 32-foot tall, two-ton menorah, located on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, is the world's largest. Lightings generally take place at 5:30pm. 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. 

The Largest Menorah Lighting — Park Slope, Brooklyn
Tuesday, December 12 through Tuesday, December 19
The lighting of Brooklyn's 32-foot menorah, also known as the "Largest" Menorah (The world's largest is in Manhattan; see above) takes place each night of Hanukkah, with a free concert on the first night. Revelers enjoy hot latkes and gifts for children every night, while supplies last. FREE

Grand Menorah Lighting — Lower East Side
Tuesday, December 12
Fire juggling is the draw here, but also enjoy hot latkes, live music, and toys for kids at this downtown menorah lighting. FREE 

Candle Lighting at Washington Market Park — Tribeca
Tuesday, December 12
Come for the lighting, but stay to enjoy donuts, dreidels, and your neighbors. FREE

Stuytown Menorah Lighting Celebration — Stuyvesant Town
Tuesday, December 12
At the Stuyvesant Oval in Peter Cooper Village, enjoy food and lights and dance under the menorah. FREE

Menorah on the High Line — Cheslea
Sunday, December 17
Believe it or not, this is the first-ever menorah lighting on the High Line, and it'll be a glow-in-the-dark one. Head to the 15th Street landing, where there will also be arts and crafts and food. FREE

Chanukah on the Park — Forest Hills, Queens
Sunday, December 17
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.

Brooklyn Borough Hall Menorah Lighting — Brooklyn Heights
Monday, December 18
Kosher food and live music round out this menorah lighting. FREE

Holiday Celebrations

This year the Eldridge Street Synagogue will offer a special exhibit featuring dozens of menorahs. Photo by Chelsea Dowell/The Eldridge Street Synagogue

Menorah Mania: Family Chanukah Celebration — Lower East Side
Sunday, December 10
With a special exhibit featuring dozens of menorahs (through January 2, 2018) the Eldridge Street Synagogue might be the best host in all of NYC for a Chanukah celebration. This one features a sing-along, edible dreidels, and a scavenger hunt. 

Seaport District's Hanukkah's Party — South Street Seaport
Tuesday, December 12
This waterfront fete includes a menorah lighting, but also arts and crafts for the kids, a concert by Grammy winner Alicia Svigal, food, and more holiday cheer. FREE

Hanukkah Art Festival — Crown Heights
Wednesday, December 13–Tuesday, December 20
The Jewish Children's Museum hosts olive-pressing workshops, doughnut decorating, bead design, silk screening, and live Hanukkah game shows at this six-day long celebration.

RELATED: December GoList: Best Things to Do this Month with NYC Kids

Kids enjoy dreidel painting at the 92nd Street Y. Photo courtesy of the 92nd Street Y.

Chanukah Festival: Bring in the Light — Upper East Side
Sunday, December 10
The 92nd Street Y hosts this family festival. Activities include crafts to help celebrate and decorate for Chanukah, DIY special treats to snack on, and a community service project.

Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum — Upper East Side
Sunday, December 10
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 Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights, a Hanukkah storytelling performance by Jeff Hopkins, and peruse the museum's collection of Hanukkah lights. The program is included in museum admission. 

Latkepalooza! — Battery Park City 
Sunday, December 10
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.

Hanukkah Family Day — East Harlem
Sunday, December 10
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 excellent New York at its Core exhibit. Included with museum admission. 

Chanukah Festival at the Shorefront Y — Coney Island, Brooklyn
Sunday, December 10
Face painting, treats, games, and more at this longstanding Coney Island celebration. FREE

RELATED: Best High Tea Spots to Enjoy a Treat with Kids

Even the dreidels skate during Hanukkah. Photo by Chabad Lubavitch via Flickr

Chanukah on Ice — Central Park
Tuesday, December 12
This event changes its location for 2017, but stays within our favorite outdoor skating rinks; celebrate the holiday and take advantage of three hours of skating, live music, and (of course) a menorah carved from ice. 

Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! — Upper West Side
Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17
Visit the Children's Museum of Manhattan and design a dreidel while learning the rules of the game. FREE with paid admission. 

Lights, Chanukah, Action! — Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Sunday, December 17
At this carnival at the Marks JCH Bensonhurst, compete in dreidel spinning competitions, complete crafts, and more.

Hanukkah Celebration — Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn 
Sunday, December 17
The Kings Bay Y hosts this Hanukkah party for families with children's music, storytelling, raffles, and more. FREE

Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel: Chanukah Celebration — Dumbo, Brooklyn
Tuesday, December 19
This all-ages fete from Chabad Dumbo, the Dumbo Gan and Friends, moves to Jane's Carousel to celebrates Hanukkah with a live-carved ice menorah and free carousel rides. FREE, but please RSVP

Family Concerts

Judy and the Maccabees: A Hanukkah Family Musical — Upper West Side
Sunday, December 10
Merkin Concert Hall hosts this music and comedy-filled celebration, featuring the Kaufman Kids.

Kid favorite Mr. G plays songs from his album The Mitzvah Bus at the Jewish Museum. Photo courtesy of the Jewish Museum

Mr. G at the Jewish Museum — Upper East Side
Sunday, December 17
Head to the Jewish Museum where Mr. G will certainly offer his fun versions of Hanukkah songs from his recent album The Mitvah Bus

Family Hanukkah Bowl with Rabbi Dan Ain and the Klezmer All-Stars — Williamsburg
Sunday, December 17
Enjoy affordable frames at Brooklyn Bowl scored by the music of the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars and others. With latkes, dreidels, and a menorah lighting.

Kids N Comedy: Christmakawanzukah! — Chelsea
Sunday, December 17
The young comics of the Gotham Comedy Club will deliver routines dedicated to the trials and tribulations of kids suffering holiday food and relatives. 

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 in Central Park. Photo courtesy of Central Park