We all know that the best thing to do during Hanukkah is to celebrate with family and friends. It’s a time to appreciate your loved ones and honor an amazing, deep-seated tradition. But if you suddenly feel the urge to travel around the world (who doesn’t every once and awhile?), then we’ve got the perfect destinations for you to have a full-blown Hanukkah celebration abroad. Honor the Festival of Lights with extravagant street parties, bonfires, river boat cruises and so much more. Here’s how Hanukkah 2021 is celebrated in 12 different spots around the globe:
Celebrate Hanukkah 2021 at the world’s largest menorah in New York, New York
The world’s largest menorah lives in New York City, and it does not disappoint. On top of a socially-distanced giant lighting ceremony downtown (there’s one in Brooklyn, too!), most years, NYC is home to the Brooklyn Museum’s annual Latke Festival, Hanukkah-themed Burlesque shows, and a glow-in-the-dark Hanukkah dinner.
Dance the night away at Rome’s infamous Hanukkah street party
Rome is probably the last place you’d think to celebrate Hanukkah in 2021, right? After all, it’s literally the hub of Catholic culture. Well, the whole “religious vibe” of Rome makes it the perfect place to celebrate….you guessed it…a religious festival. Down at the Piazza Barberini you can experience the lighting of a huge menorah. After you’re done, join the crowds in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto for a huge Hanukkah Street Party with dancing, food stalls, and marches.
Take part in Quarter6Quarter7 2021: Budapest’s giant Hanukkah festival
Hanukkah in Budapest is a huge deal. They take the eight nights of Hanukkah and turn them into a major city-wide festival celebrated throughout all the neighborhoods and the streets. The two neighborhoods that make up the Jewish quarter in Budapest are called Quarter 6 and Quarter 7 (hence the festival name). When you think of Quarter6Quarter7, think full on flash mobs, theater performances, film screenings, street disco concerts, and so much more. The best part, however, is the fact that they rent out an entire ice rink and gather around to sing Hanukkah songs, skate, and light up the menorah. While in Europe for Quarter6Quarter7, make sure to stop by one of these amazing winter festivals.
Remember the past at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
Every year, a large menorah is lit up right in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (a site for anti-Semitic rallies back when the Nazi regime was still intact). Hanukkah in Berlin celebrates two important things: Hanukkah, and the drastic changes that have occurred in the regime since Nazi ruling. Of course, everyone gives gifts, visits friends, shares food, and lights up menorahs. But one thing that is unique to German traditions is how they take all the wicks from the leftover candles to build a giant bonfire!
Take a Hanukkah-themed river cruise in San Antonio, Texas
If you’re done with the whole menorah-lighting and gift-giving ritual, then Texas might be your cup of tea. Most years, the holiday is celebrated, quite uniquely, on a boat down the San Antonio River with Chanukah on the River. While we might have to wait until 2021 to shout “I’m on a boat!’ while spinning dreidels, the celebrations don’t have to stop. Catch us endlessly streaming last year’s show by the Maccabeats (ba-dum ching).
Attend a lighting ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel
Headed to Israel for the Festival of Lights? Don’t forget to stop by the sites that are at the core of every Hanukkah story. In Jerusalem, attend the nightly lighting ceremony at the Kotel (Western Wall). In Modi’in, join a scavenger hunt take a lantern tour of the Ben Shemen Forest. Last, don’t forget to swing by Tel Aviv Independence Park for socially-distanced live music, family-friendly activities, and a Menorah Lighting.
Indulge your inner foodie with Hanukkah potato fritters and donuts in Morocco
The history of Judaism in Morocco dates back over 2,000 years, and while you might not find huge celebrations or twinkling lights, Morocco is the place to be if you’re a Jewish foodie. Instead of latkes, dig into a pile of Ma’akouda (a Moroccan potato fritter) and don’t forget to try Sfinge (a donut sprinkled in powered sugar and dipped in fresh honey).
Celebrate Hanukkah 2021 at London’s famous Trafalgar Square
This winter, see London’s Trafalgar Square is bathed in the lights of a giant menorah. The main lighting ceremony takes place right in the square, and includes live music and dancing, but don’t you worry, if you can’t make the first night, the menorah stays lit for all eight days of Hanukkah.
Visit a synagogue in Moscow and nerd out on Russian architecture
Each year, two of the oldest Moscow synagogues hold special candle-lighting ceremonies for Hanukkah. If you love architecture, head to the Moscow Choral Synagogue (also known as Moscow’s Central Synagogue) for a ceremony steeped in history. Interested in culture? The Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue is home to a bookstore, kosher restaurant and more.
Tune into Hanukkah 2021 virtually at the White House in Washington, D.C
The most monumental (get it?) Hanukkah celebration in the world is the annual lighting ceremony of the National Chanukah Menorah: a giant menorah that sits just across from the White House in Washington, DC. Thousands attend the lighting ceremony each year (with more tuning in via web and TV), and tickets are free when purchased in advance.
See the giant seashell menorah in Miami Beach, Florida
In Miami, find a giant seashell menorah lit up and on display for everyone to see. This surf-side masterpiece weighs a staggering 2,000 pounds.
Have a totally lit Hanukkah 2021 in Los Angeles, California
Join Los Angeles in celebrating Hanukkah by attending Infinite Light, a Hanukkah Festival that “dedicates itself to reimagining Hanukkah through inclusive community building and creative Jewish experience.” If you’re in town for a quick visit, book a suite at the Montage Beverly Hills for a cozy stay and nightly menorah lighting ceremony in the hotel’s lobby. And don’t forget about the annual Hanukkah festival held at the Skirball Cultural Center for storytelling, good food, art, and live music.