Hanukkah events for families in Oakland, Berkeley, and surrounding areas.

Hanukkah Guide: Family-friendly Activities for the Festival of Lights

510families has partnered with our friends at PJ Library Bay Area to bring you everything you need to get ready for the Festival of Lights. Our Hanukkah Guide for East Bay kids includes recipes, book lists, gift ideas, activities, community events, child-friendly versions of the Hanukkah story, and much more.

This year, Hanukkah begins on Sunday, December 18, at sundown through December 26, 2022.

large menorah and child looks on
Lighting the menorah together | Photo: PJ Library Bay Area

PJ Library Celebration Guide | Kid-Friendly Hanukkah Outings & Events | At-Home Crafts | Shopping and Food

PJ Library Celebration Guide to Gathering at Home

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, brings joy and sparkle during a dark time of the year. Beginning on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which falls in November or December in the Roman calendar, Hanukkah is a time to eat delicious latkes (potato pancakes), play dreidel (a traditional game featuring a spinning top), enjoy gathering with family and friends — and, of course, light Hanukkah candles for eight nights on a hanukkiah or menorah.

Here’s a quick reference to some more favorite stories, songs, and tips from the PJ Library Hanukkah Hub:

guide to Chanukah events for Oakland, Berkeley families
Light the menorah | Photo: Heather Flett

Calendar of Kid-Friendly East Bay Hanukkah Events

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Menorah at Lake Merritt for Hannukah
Grand Hanukkah Celebration on Lake Merritt | Photo: daepro via Instagram

More Bay Area Hanukkah Happenings

Menorahs & Miracles @ Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose

Sunday, Dec. 4 @ 1:30-4:30 pm. Hannukah celebration with hands-on play was created in partnership with the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center. Looks like tons of fun; kids make candles, play dreidels, eat latkes, and make other art. Learn more >
180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA

Chanukah Festival, Redwood City

Sunday, Dec. 4 @ 11 am-2 pm. Jelly donuts, latkes, games, jumpy houses, and kid-centric performer Andy Z. Learn more >
Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City

ArtBash Your Way: Hanukkah, San Francisco & virtual

Pick-up Tuesday, Dec. 6 & Create Sunday, Dec. 18. The Contemporary Jewish Museum presents the newest Family ArtBash, aimed at kids ages 4 to 12, but open to everyone. Get all the supplies you need to create a seasonal art project together. The CJM is in San Francisco, but there are several East Bay pickup locations. Reserve your free kit >

Young Children’s Concert by Melita, Pleasanton

Saturday, Dec. 10 @ 4-6:30 pm. Join other families of young children for a Hanukkah-themed performance by Octopretzel’s Melita followed by a yummy Hanukkah dinner. This event is free, but reserve your spot.  Learn more >
Congregation Beth Emek, 3400 Nevada Court, Pleasanton

Latkepalooza, Foster City

Saturday, Dec. 10 @ 5:30-7:30 pm. Celebrate Havdalah, light candles, and sing your favorite Hanukkah songs. Afterward, light up Shalom Field with a glow party to remember. Warm things up on the dance floor with a kids’ pajama contest and nosh on latkes and pizza. Free, but reserve your spot.  Learn more >
Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City

PJ Chanukah Jam, Walnut Creek

Sunday, Dec. 11 @10:30 am-noon. Reserve your free spot at this exciting PJ playdate for small children. Join Tkiya Music, Art by Susan & PJ Library for singing, bubbles, movement, stories, puppets, crafts, and snacks to celebrate Chanukah.  Reserve a spot >
Arbolado Park, Arbolado Drive, Walnut Creek

Hanukkah Inside Out, San Rafael

Sunday, Dec. 11 @11 am-2 pm. Bring the entire family to OMJCC for this fun and free event, especially for young ones: create your own family ritual guide, enjoy music, do crafts, eat latkes, and listen to stories. Free but please reserve your spot.  Learn more >
Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael

A Tie Dye Chanukah, Oakland

Sunday, Dec. 11 @11:30 am-12:30 pm. For a $10 per child fee, families can enjoy the “trendiest donuts and dreidels” and all the holiday crafts with a colorful twist. Kids dye their own warm winter beanies, glaze donuts, and do a dance challenge.  Learn more >
Chabad Center for Jewish Life, 3014 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland

Hanukkah Concert for Preschoolers, Foster City

Sunday, Dec. 18 @ 10-11:30 am. Wornick Jewish Day School hosts an in-person concert with Isaac Zones for 3-5 year-olds and their families. RSVP by December 14. Learn more >
800 Foster City Blvd. Foster City, CA

Bill Graham Menorah, Union Square, San Francisco

Sunday, Dec. 18 from 2 pm to 6 pm. The first lighting is observed with kids’ crafts all afternoon followed by a menorah lighting ceremony honoring George Zimmer. Food is provided by Jerry’s Kosher Deli. Free event, but RSVP is requested. Additional nights have additional nights through Sunday, Dec. 25.
Union Square, San Francisco

Large constructed menorah in front of Macy's windows
The Bill Graham Menorah in Union Square (2021) | Photo provided by Bill Graham Menorah Project

Glowing Hanukkah, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

Sunday, Dec. 18 from 3 pm to 6 pm. Celebrate with JCCSF with crafts, dreidels, songs fresh donuts, and more treats from Ghirardelli Square. Glittery and glow-in-the-dark attire is recommended. Hanukkah candles are to be lit around 4:30 pm. Learn more >
Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

Jewish Heritage Night @ Golden State Warriors

Tuesday, Dec. 27 @ 7 pm. Join the Warriors in San Francisco for a celebration including a special giveaway. Learn more >
Chase Center, San Francisco

Bay Area light displays that aren’t all Christmasy

There are a few big changes to annual lighting traditions that you might want to know about. We’re seeing a move toward nature-themed installations that might suit a Jewish celebration of light.

Free lights in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Entwined San Francisco lights up Peacock Meadow in the City beginning Dec. 1 through mid-March, 2023. It has light features based on organic sculptures.

Admission-based enlightened experiences, Oakland

Glowfari at the Oakland Zoo is a massive display of hundreds of gigantic, larger-than-life, glowing Chinese lanterns to thrill your family. Most images will be of animals (including prehistoric!) and “conservation themes”. Runs from Nov. 11 through the end of January.

Fairy Winterland, though it still features Santa Claus, has made great strides to be more culturally inclusive with thousands of twinkly lights and culturally-diverse holiday displays. Runs from Dec. 16 to 30.

At-home Hanukkah projects & crafts

Find lots more wonderful kid-centric ideas on the PJ Library Hanukkah Hub >

pj library ad

Shopping & Hanukkah Food

Shop local! Afikomen on Claremont Ave. is a terrific local store in the Elmwood district with everything you need to celebrate at home — we are lucky to have it in our neighborhood. This Judaica shop offers wonderful customer service and so many great Hanukkah products for your family. Need a special gift? They have Hanukkah gelt, candles, menorahs, and toys too. If you call ahead, Afikomen can provide you curbside service (510-655-1977).

Chabad Oakland is providing a limited number of free Hanukkah menorah kits with all materials including the 44 candles.

Local restaurants and caterers that do Hanukkah right

brisket and latke
Traditional Hanukkah dinner | Photo provided by Chef Michael Goldfarb of Comestible Oakland

East Bay Provisions, Berkeley

The catering arm at the Claremont Hotel & Spa is offering a big spread for Hanukkah this year including a brisket dinner that feeds up to 6 people. See menu >

Saul’s Delicatessen, Berkeley

Saul’s Deli in North Berkeley has yummy Hanukkah foods year-round, but for the December holiday, they usually amp up the latkes. Available for curbside pickup or limited delivery.

Rockridge Market Hall, Oakland

Market Hall has a delicious catering menu for Chanukah. Choose all your favorite traditional foods. Items are available for parking lot pickup or local delivery within five miles.

See our local donut guide and order a dozen of your faves >

chanuka books for kids from PJ Library
Find more great Hanukkah books from PJ Library to get you in the mood for latkes and lights.

The books pictured above are as follows:

We wish you and your family a Hanukkah season filled with love and light.

pj library log

Thank you to our partner, PJ Library Bay Area, a program of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, that provides free Jewish books to children from birth through twelve years of age.

✡️  Like and Follow PJ Library Bay Area on Facebook and Instagram.
✡️  Enroll in free Jewish books for children, from birth through 8 years old: PJ Library.
✡️  Enroll in free Jewish chapter books for readers, ages 8.5 – 12 years old: PJ Our Way.

[Content and images used with permission from PJ Library. Additional research conducted by the 510families team and the greater East Bay community.]

Find more seasonal family fun in our East Bay Holiday Activities Guide.


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