The holidays are quickly approaching us, and this year is looking brighter than ever! With gifts to wrap, family coming into town, or holiday parties to attend, we know that this is one of the busiest times of the year. Plan your holiday season a little differently this year and celebrate with a series of Hanukkah-inspired trips and experiences!
Night 1: Sufganiyot
Start on a sweet note with one of Hanukkah’s signature treats, jelly donuts! Also called Sufganiyot, the Hebrew word for donut, this dessert reminds us of how one night’s worth of oil lasted a full eight days to light the menorah. These are our picks for the best Sufganiyot spots in the Los Angeles area!
Bibi’s is an authentic taste of Israel and Middle-Eastern cuisine, located in the Beverly Hills area of Los Angeles. This Kosher eatery is known for its jelly donuts and other traditional desserts, like rugelach and black & white cookies. Grab lunch while you’re there, with options like pita wraps or a Mediterranean salad to choose from!
Unique Pastry Kosher Bakery & Cafe:
This family-owned business has been serving traditional Jewish treats to the Los Angeles area for 20 years! The donuts are fluffy and fresh, with flavor options from classic jelly, vanilla custard, or tiramisu! There is no need to worry about the authenticity of this bakery, as they are under the supervision of the Rabbinical Council of California.
Although they aren’t kosher, Blinkie’s surely knows how to make a festive-looking donut for Hanukkah! These donuts are beautifully decorated in blue and white and topped with gelt or a Star of David! Others are dusted with powdered sugar to reveal a dreidel or menorah! No matter the taste, these donuts are sure to put you and your loved ones in the Hanukkah spirit! The jelly donuts come in raspberry and lemon flavors or opt for the custard-filled.
Night 2: Candles & The Menorah
Hanukkah is also recognized as the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the miracle of a small amount of oil unexpectedly burning for eight whole nights in the Temple of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Today, we remember this by lighting the menorah every night of Hanukkah!
Celebrate the miracle of light and all things Hanukkah this year at Lit Hanukkah LA, an interactive and celebratory experience. This light show features a projection art installation created by artist Bart Kresa representing the different aspects of Hanukkah! Candle-lighting ceremonies take place every night of the event to celebrate one of the main aspects of Hanukkah. Food and cocktails are also available for purchase, making this event the ultimate night of fun and celebration! Admission is required for the event and includes cookie decorating, curated Hanukkah art projects, live performances, and other pop-ups.
The event occurs during all eight nights of Hanukkah and extends a bit longer after, from November 28 to December 6th. With food, art, and activities, this event is sure to be a fantastic night for whoever you want to celebrate with!
Night 3: Latkes
This year, take a spin on the traditions of Hanukkah food with Akasha Restaurant’s “Vodka and Latkes” Hanukkah dinner special!
This dinner features all of your favorite Hanukkah foods, such as challah, brisket, and (of course) latkes. In addition to this are three curated Hanukkah-themed cocktails to pair with your meal! ‘Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,’ ‘the jelly donut,’ and ‘light the menorah’ are beautifully made with the colors and flavors of Hanukkah cocktails! One of the cocktails, ‘jelly donut,’ is made with apricot jam, cranberry-infused vodka, lemon, and mint.
This festive dinner is the best way to enjoy the traditional foods of Hanukkah with a modern twist!
Night 4: Gift Giving
Giving gifts is a particular part of Hanukkah that can let you show your appreciation for loved ones through something they might find special! These artisans handcraft gifts that can’t be found anywhere else and are sure not to disappoint! If you’re looking for a unique gift to impress, check out the many holiday markets LA has to offer.
The Bazaar at Grand Central Market:
Visit The Bazaar for some of LA’s best new local makers and merchants. This classic market has been hosted since 1917 and takes place every Thursday through Sunday. Noteworthy vendors include London Monori, an indie jewelry brand, and Plainsugar, which carries vintage sunglasses! Don’t worry about going hungry while shopping, as food options, ranging from vegan ramen to old-school deli bagel sandwiches.
The Alpine Market:
Get a taste of Germany right in your own sunny California backyard! This Bavarian-style village hosts a holiday market put on under the inspiration of traditional European markets. The vendors outside sell many homemade souvenirs and bakeries and specialty stores that offer hard-to-find European treats!
Unique Markets Holiday Market:
Unique Markets is a specialty market that aims to showcase small businesses while striving for and celebrating diversity! The companies featured in this market are modern, chic, and not to be missed. From beauty & wellness products to interior design and clothing, you are sure to find the perfect gift here for anyone in your life!
Night 5: The Game of Dreidel
The dreidel game is a fun and exciting game played simply by spinning the dreidel and receiving specific amounts of chocolate gelt from other players, depending on which side your dreidel lands on! Take an evening to gather some dreidels to decorate, beverages of your choice, and your favorite Hanukkah snacks, and head to Griffith Observatory for a sunset picnic!
Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles’s iconic planetarium is located atop the hills overlooking the city. Enjoy the golden hour with your friends as you watch the sun go down over Los Angeles. After decorating your dreidels, play a few games to reveal the grand prize winner of the group’s gelt!
This picnic is the perfect way to get together with loved ones while enjoying the traditions of Hanukkah, alongside exploring a beautiful landmark in LA!
Night 6: Tzedakah
Tzedakah is the Hebrew word that directly translates to “righteousness” and symbolizes the principle of charity and philanthropy in Judaism. The sixth night of Hanukkah is explicitly dedicated to the idea of Tzedakah, as the sixth candle on the menorah is named “Ner Shel Tzedakah.” It is important to remember the origins of Hanukkah and to celebrate what we are grateful for by giving back!
Celebrate the act of tzedakah by making donations to local charities instead of giving/receiving gifts. You can also choose to volunteer for an organization, such as Repair The World. This Jewish-based organization aims to engage young adults in social justice and change through service and volunteer work.
Participating in charitable organizations is a great way to give back to your community during the holiday season, a time when it is most necessary!
Night 7: Chocolate Gelt
Chocolate Gelt is one of the treats we all enjoyed during Hanukkah, the sweet chocolate wrapped inside gold foil made it that much more irresistible.
Take a trip to Edelweiss Chocolates in Beverly Hills for what is (probably) the most gourmet gelt that money can buy. Edelweiss has been an LA tradition for 80 years, and there is no doubt why. Their chocolate is made from the freshest and finest ingredients and handcrafted with care.
While you’re there, Edelweiss offers several Hanukkah-themed sweets. Both dark & milk chocolate gelt is available, alongside chocolate-covered Oreos and milk chocolate menorahs! These simple treats are the perfect way to bring joy to anyone’s holiday!
Night 8: LA Zoo Lights
As Hanukkah comes to a close, light the last candles on the menorah and give out any final gifts before leaving for a trip to the LA Zoo Lights!
Guide yourself through the Zoo and be transported to a whole new world at night! The nighttime journey around the zoo is sure to give you a different perspective than what you’ve seen before. This whimsical world is not to be missed with glowing animals, sparkling snowflakes, and a 200-foot long tunnel of light.
Allow yourself time to relax and rewind while reminiscing on the great eight days of Hanukkah… Until next year! This is the perfect way to end your Festival of Lights and spend time with loved ones after a joyous and cozy holiday.
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