Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is eight days, Tuesday, Dec. 12th to Tuesday, Dec .19th this year, but celebrations start this weekend with several family-friendly events.
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy these family-friendly lighting ceremonies and other celebrations, and the food and music that goes with them.
Everything on our NYC on the Cheap list is free or no more than $25, so you can celebrate Hanukkah on the cheap.
SEE ALSO –
- Complete guide to NYC holiday tree lighting ceremonies
- Complete guide to NYC department store holiday windows
Three Bears Holiday Bash – This annual puppet show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa in one delightful show.
- Tickets are $8 for kids and $12 for adults. Performances are daily through Dec. 30.
Bagels from Benny – 92Y and PJ Library® present this joyful, interactive musical show. Join Benny on his journey as he explores the values of caring and sharing, building a strong sense of community and finding joy in giving thanks. Best for ages 3-8.
- Tickets are $18. Performances are various dates and times in December. 92Y is at Lexington Ave. at 92nd St.
Sunday, Dec. 10
Hanukkah Family Day – Learn about Jewish culture at the Museum of the City of New York‘s collections, then try a traditional snack and build your very own menorah just in time to light the first candle that evening. FREE with museum admission.
- 11am. Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Ave. at 103rd St.
Hanukkah Family Day – Build a sculptural Hanukkah lamp with funky found objects, a Jewish Museum tradition. Dance to the pop-rock tunes of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour, watch a unique Hanukkah story come to life through a drawing performance by Jeff Hopkins, and collaborate on a giant light collage. FREE with museum admission. RSVP recommended.
- 11am to 4pm. The Jewish Museum is at Fifth Ave. at 98th St.
- Admission to the Jewish Museum is FREE on Saturdays. See the NYCOTC list of FREE Museum Admission days and times.
Latkepalooza – This annual interactive event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage features food, music, and hands-on activities. Recommended for children ages 3 to 10.
- Tickets are $10 and includes FREE museum admission. 10 am to Noon. Museum of Jewish Heritage is at 36 Battery Place.
Menorah Mania! – Draw holiday inspiration from the newest newest exhibit at the historic synagogue Museum on Eldridge Street, Let There Be Light!, a collection of more than 100 fun and whimsical menorahs on loan from a private collection. of the Lori and David Moore family. After discovering menorahs shaped like baseballs, shoes, animals and more, start a new family tradition by making your own menorah creation. Snack on edible dreidls, try your luck at winning some gelt (the chocolate kind) and enjoy a singalong of Chanukah classics.
- This family-friendly event is 11am-1pm. $12/adult; $6/ child.
Hanukkah Festival: Bring the Light – Bring the entire family to celebrate the holiday with craft projects, entertainment, a live Chanukah Game Show and the chance to make your own holiday snacks. An Israeli folk dance performance will have all on their feet and families join in on charitable effort and lend a hand to those in need.
- 11am. Tickets are $12. 92nd St. Y
Family Hanukkah Celebration – Listen to Hanukkah stories, sing Hanukkah songs, paint your own dreidl, decorate Hanukkah donuts and more at this small synagogue in Times Square Theater District.
- 4:30pm. $5 per child. Congregation Ezrath Israel, better known as the Actors Temple, 339 West 47th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves.
Monday, Dec. 11
Dreidl, Dreidl, Dreidl -Join the puppeteers at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for a post performance workshop! Children (accompanied by one adult) can decorate pre-cut paper dreidels that can be brought home and used as festive, seasonal decorations. The ticket package includes one (1) child ticket to the 11:30am performance of The Three Bears Holiday Bash with admission to the workshop. Suggested age 3-8 years old.
- 11:30am to 1:30pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Buy Tickets $18
Every Evening, Dec. 12 to Dec. 19
World’s Largest Menorah – Join the FREE nightly lighting ceremonies at the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon, at the Grand Army Plaza of Central Park, better known as the area between the front of the The Plaza hotel and the Apple store on the other side of Fifth Avenue. Lightings are at sunset, around 5:30pm, although it’s earlier on Friday (3:30pm) before the Sabbath, and later on Saturday (after the Sabbath). Fifth Ave., at 59th St.
- Tip – Because of increased security around Trump Tower, and the construction at the Apple Store, arrive via any route that avoids Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets and 59th St. between Madison and Fifth.
Largest Menorah – Also 32 feet tall, and equally impressive, but not in the Guinness World Records, so it is just called “largest” not “world’s largest”. Lighting times are the same. In addition to singing and dancing, on the first night there will be free hot latkes. At Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Sponsored by Chabad Park Slope and also FREE
Tuesday, Dec. 12
Menorah Lighting at Stuy Town – Rav Shoshana Mitrani Knapp will lead the blessings at 6pm as we light the menorah, followed by dancing, music, donuts and hot beverages until 7:30pm. FREE, at The Oval Fountain, First Ave and 15th St
Seaport District’s Hanukkah Party – Dance to live Klezmer music by Grammy winner Alicia Svigals, enjoy a candle lighting ceremony by Rabbi Katz of Chabad of Financial District, along with a welcome by Saul Scherl, Executive Vice President of The Howard Hughes Corporation. Tthere will be plenty of latkes, jelly donuts and gelt for all our guests along with an indoor, heated room for Hanukkah themed arts and crafts tables, FREE. Seaport shops will be open late for holiday shopping. 6pm to 8pm.
Wednesday, Dec. 13
Chanukah Concert and Candle Lighting: Temple Emanu-El is celebrating night two of Chanukah in style with an all-star Jewish a cappella lineup: Six13 and The Maccabeats, both known for creating entire bands out of human voices alone — and crazy-catchy tunes from Jewish history and humor. The music will be followed by a Chanukah candle lighting, plus servings of mouthwatering sufganiot. Hosted by comedy duo The Bible Players.
Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 16/17
Dreidl, Dreidl, Dreidl – Kids can learn all about Hanukkah as they create their own dreidel spinning top, then learn how to play the game with their new handmade toy. Sign-up is required, in the lobby one hour before the event. Ages 6 and older.
- 10am to 5pm both days. Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., Upper West Side.
Monday, Dec. 18
9th Annual Latke Festival – Returns to the Brooklyn Museum for the second year. It’s a festive holiday tasting event celebrating the best and most creative potato pancakes in New York City, with judging by a panel of celebrity judges,for the title of Best Latke in NYC. Net proceeds benefit The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching healthy eating habits to children and their families, with programs here in NYC and upstate at Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook.
- Tickets are $55 for unlimited food and drink and include museum admission. Yes, we know this is over the NYCOTC $25 threshhold, but sometimes we make exceptions and splurge, especially when it’s for charity.
Saturday, Dec. 23
Jewmongous – This is an irreverant post-Hanukkah comedy show, that once was callled “They Tried to Kill Us, We Survived, Let’s Eat”. Stand-up comedian Sean Altman takes no prisoners in this salty show, where he is joined by Cynthia Kaplan and Michael Hunter. Unlike everything else on this list, Jewmongous is not for kids. Leave them home. The Cutting Room was founded by actor Chris Noth, famous for his starrring roles in Sex and the City, The Good Wife and Law and Order, as an intimate venue for music and comedy shows.
- Tickets are $20-$25 directly from the Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd St. Note there is an additonal $20 food and beverage minimum