Hanukkah’s Festival of Lights is a Jewish holiday celebration to be enjoyed with family and friends, and cities around the globe kick off the eight days of Hanukkah with the lighting of the menorah at a variety of festivities. The celebration of Hanukkah began following the miracle at Jerusalem’s Second Temple, when a single cruse of oil miraculously kept the flames of the menorah alit for eight days. From lighting the world’s largest menorahs to street parties of celebration, these are the best cities to observe Hanukkah, as well as Hilton hotels nearest to the joy and excitement that will take place this year, Dec. 18 – 26.
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Be in the city where it all began and discover window after window filled with the lights of Menorahs across both the old and new city. City squares also feature towering menorahs and visitors can take a menorah tour in the Jewish Quarter and witness the daily rabbi-led menorah lighting at the Western Wall. Visit the Tower of David Museum to witness the secret of the Hasmoneans performances, sing Hanukkah songs and enjoy fresh-baked sufganiyot. Just a 10-minute walk the museum and Jaffe Gate into Old City, Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem stands in the heart of the city’s history. Offering a special Hanukkah menu at King’s Court featuring homemade sufganiyot and latkes, guests will want to ascend to the magnificent fourth-floor Garden Terrace, overlooking the ancient Mamilla Cemetery and reservoir and offering a peek over the Old City walls, to be fully enveloped into the city’s history.
New York City
New York City in December is always festive and across the boroughs are a number of menorah lightings to create days of awe, including the world’s two largest sister menorahs. The 32-foot-tall steel menorahs weighing 4,000 pounds can be found in Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South in Midtown. Travelers can also enjoy a Hanukkah Carnival at Village Temple along with a variety of Hanukkah-themed shows across the city to add more light to long December nights. During your visit, stay at New York Hilton Midtown, located in the heart of Midtown and conveniently connected to Grand Central Station. The 1,878-room property is within walking distance to Radio City Music Hall, Broadway, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and New York City’s famed holiday window displays off of Fifth Avenue, perfect for holiday shopping or celebrating the season’s festive cheer.
You don’t need to spend Hanukkah in a cold-weather destination: For those seeking warm-weather days, visit the pastel-colored streets of Miami Beach and take in the aquamarine hues of the Atlantic Ocean waves crashing onto the golden-sand beach. When the sun goes down, visit Lincoln Road’s pedestrian shopping and dining district and witness the lighting of the unique 13-foot Miami menorah made of 25,000 seashells and give the seashell dreidel—the world’s largest—a spin. You can bring your pet along for the fun and enjoy ocean views from a guest room at the Hampton Inn by Hilton Miami Beach – Mid Beach, just a block from the sand.
As home to one of Europe’s largest orthodox communities, Belgium’s largest city is also filled with some of the world’s best Jewish bakeries. Whether you fill your belly with babka, Mandel bread, or Hanukkah cake or savor traditional, local speculaas, waffles or mattentaart, Hanukkah is an excellent time to visit Antwerp. Thousands attend the public menorah lighting at the Chabad House, where visitors are welcome to light candles during Shabbat. Less than a 15-minute walk from the Chabad, the Hampton by Hilton Antwerp Central Station makes an ideal home base as it is also located within steps of Antwerp Zoo, Stadspark, Opera Antwerpen and Chocolate Nation, the largest chocolate museum in the world.
Celebrate Hanukkah in Trafalgar Square with the lighting of London’s giant menorah that includes live music and dancing in the city’s main public square. You can stay in the heart of the action at The Trafalgar St. James London, Curio Collection by Hilton for all eight nights of light. The chic hotel overlooks the square, and you can even watch the festivities from The Rooftop bar, made cozy during the winter months and offering the perfect perch. A little further afield, take a short Tube ride to North London, where the London Jewish Cultural Centre hosts its annual Chanukah Funukah family extravaganza with gelt workshops, Maccabeat dance parties, arts and crafts, and a special musical candle lighting to welcome the festival of light.
Soak up the California sunshine before enjoying dozens of Hanukkah celebrations held beneath the palm trees of Los Angeles. Families can visit the Skirball Cultural Center for its annual DJ-led Hanukkah Festival or have a ball at Lit Hanukkah LA with curated Hanukkah projects, cookie decorating, live performances and delicious food and drink. From menorah lightings across Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades to a Hanukkah Canals Parade along the Venice Canals, the city is alight with activities. With so much going on, choose a central hotel, such as Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles Marina Del Rey, just minutes from LAX, where all are welcome to join services at the nearby Marina Shul.
As home to Europe’s third-largest Jewish population, Budapest’s already fairytale-lighted streets become even more magical during Hanukkah. Ritual lightings with traditional dancing, music, donuts and more can be found in the city’s main squares: Nyugati tér and Deák tér. Nearby, explore the Jewish Quarter and its remnants of the Hungarian capital’s former ghetto wall, its beautiful synagogues and its delicious kosher restaurants. Hilton Garden Inn Budapest City Centre is, as its name implies, in the center of it all, even steps from the stunning Hungarian Parliament and St. Stephen’s Basilica. On the first night of Hanukkah, visit the City Park ice skating rink to see rabbis on skates glide by the large menorah found in the center of the ice.
Visitors to the city by the bay will find Union Square is the place to be on the first night of Hanukkah, when the 25-foot-tall menorah is first lit with an accompaniment of activities in one of the oldest Hanukkah celebrations in the U.S. The San Franciscan tradition that began in 1975 features crafts by Dreidel House, family-friendly shows, music and more. Two blocks way, find Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which is also located a short walk from the Powell Street cable car turnaround to catch rides on the famed red cable cards. Here, you can enjoy drinks with a view from the city’s tallest skybar, Cityscape Lounge, perched on the 46th floor.
Hilton Honors members enjoying the Hanukkah festivities at any of Hilton’s 18 brands can earn double nights on stays through December 31, 2022, with the Double Night Credit promotion. Not a member of the award-winning Hilton Honors program? It’s free to enroll.