How to Celebrate Hanukkah in DC This Year

Latke feasts, menorah lightings, and so much more.

Call Your Mother DC latkes
Photo by Tim Casey

It’s that time of year again. Time to find the menorah, load up on gelt, and dust off the dreidel, because Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins Sunday, December 18 at sundown and continues for a total of eight nights. This year’s holiday brings new parties and celebrations, specialty made-to-order meals, and menorah lightings at home and around the city. So, if your latke game could use some professional help or if you want to celebrate at a themed dive bar, we’ve got you covered with this list of the best ways to celebrate Hanukkah in DC this year.

Order latkes and other treats from Call Your Mother
Ongoing
Multiple locations
The self-proclaimed “Jew-ish” deli Call Your Mother is celebrating the holiday with a mouth-watering catering menu of traditional dishes and twists on the classics. The Hanukkah menu is available December 18-24, but all orders must be placed by Friday, December 16. Choose from latke platters (latkes will arrive cold and come with reheating instructions) with scrumptious add-ons like smoked salmon, apple jam, and horseradish creme fraiche, or opt for something sweet with a raspberry-guava doughnuts (Call Your Mother’s take on the traditional sufganiyot). If you miss the pre-order deadline, fear not: You can still stop by the shops during normal hours for bagel sandwiches, individual portions of latkes, and other Jewish deli-inspired treats.
Cost: Varies

Now through December 31
Shaw
Legendary dive bar Ivy & Coney is continuing its yearly tradition of morphing in Chai-vy and Cohen-y, a Hanukkah-themed bar. Come for the menorah lighting at 7 pm each night and enjoy latkes, sufganiyot-shots, and Manischewitz (if you know, you know). Sales of kosher wine will benefit HIAS, an international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in more than 20 countries.
Cost: Varies

Sunday, December 18
Downtown
Reserve a free ticket to attend the lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse, just across from the White House. The National Menorah is the largest in the world and the special event is viewed by millions across the world. It’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday, and you’ll probably catch a glimpse of special guests including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and members of congress.
Cost: Free

Sunday, December 18
Edgewood
Before lighting the first candle on your menorah, head to Metrobar to cheers to the holiday. The bar is celebrating with hot drinks, vegan donuts from Donut Run, and a menorah lighting. If you miss the first night, no sweat. The bar will be lighting its menorah every day after sundown.
Cost: Varies

Sunday, December 18 – Sunday, December 25
Union Market
Head to Neal Place in Union Market each night of Hanukkah to join Jewish organizations from around DC for a nightly menorah lighting. The lighting will happen each night at 6:30 pm and feature a different organization including Jews United For Justice, Bet Mishpachah, Hill Havurah, Moishe Houses DC, and others.
Cost: Free

Sunday, December 18 – Sunday, December 25
Cleveland Park
Modern Israeli restaurant SABABA is celebrating Hanukkah with eight nights of holiday dinners. Stop in between December 18 and 25 for festive specials like potato latke vichyssoise topped with leeks and slow cooked in cream, schmaltz chopped chicken liver with hard-boiled egg and house pickles, duck confit served with spiced Israeli couscous, and braised beef brisket with sweet potato chraimeh.
Cost: Varies

Sunday, December 18 – Sunday, December 25
Ivy City
Chef Matt Baker, the lauded chef behind Gravitas, is putting together a full Hanukkah feast for you to bring home and serve—no stress or preparation required. His CMB at Home Hanukkah Package feeds up to four and includes crispy latkes with herb sour cream and apple compote, matzo ball soup with shredded chicken, dill, and mirepoix, plus sides like pommes puree, roasted baby carrots, and a choice of one entree and one dessert. Choose from slow-braised beef brisket with roasted vegetables and beef jus or a whole-roasted dorade. And just because you can, add on an order of caviar.
Cost: $195 for a package that feeds four

Sunday, December 18 – Sunday, December 25
The Wharf
The sleek, stylish, and brand-new Pendry Hotel will be celebrating Hanukkah with a nightly menorah lighting that is open to the public. On the first night, guests and locals are invited to stop in for a champagne toast accompanied by house-made babka, before digging into the rest of the bar’s cocktail list.
Cost: Varies

Monday, December 19
Columbia Heights
Join other DC young professionals for a special “Hora and Heat” happy hour at Franklin Hall. The EntryPointDC-sponsored event will take over the entire beer hall and feature specialty cocktails, sufganiyot, Israeli dancing lessons, gelt, dreidels, spicy olive oil tastings, hot sauce contests, and a menorah lighting. But it’s not all just fun and games. Guests are encouraged to bring winter items such as gloves, hats, and scarves, and socks for the organization’s D25 Day of Service clothing drive.
Cost: Varies

Wednesday, December 21
Navy Yard
The Canal Park Ice Rink on the Capitol Riverfront is celebrating Hanukkah with a “Lights & Ice” skate night on December 21. Skate on the rink in the glow of the outdoor menorah and enjoy free donuts, dreidels, and gelt. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a complimentary ice skate rental.
Cost: Varies

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Madeline Weinfield is a Thrillist contributor.