Whether you’re standing in the shadow of the 25-foot-tall menorah in Union Square or toting your family’s favorite hanukkiah to a synagogue lighting, there are countless ways to celebrate the Festival of Lights in 2018. And while these listings might seem to be appearing rather early, Hanukkah is actually right around the corner, starting this year on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 2. The eighth night will be on Sunday, Dec. 9.
All events listed here are free (unless noted) and include some sort of menorah lighting; other Hanukkah events and parties are in our calendar.
“Bill Graham Menorah Project”—Giant menorah lit every day Dec. 2-9. Kicks off with party on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 p.m., with lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. At Union Square. Free. Other lightings at 3, 5 or 8 p.m.
JCCSF lighting—Every day at 4:30 p.m Dec. 2–9. With live music by Jonathan Bayer. Weekday lightings preceded by story time and crafts at 4 p.m. At JCCSF, 3200 California St.
Hanukkah at Pier 39—Giant copper-sculpted menorah by artist Jeff Brees. Every day at sundown Dec. 2-9. Free.
“Hanukkah in the Castro”—Sha’ar Zahav and Castro merchants present a Hanukkah party with giant dreidel. Bring your own menorah. 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Jane Warner Plaza, Castro and Market streets.
Emanu-El pop-ups—6-6:20 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 in front of Books Inc., 3515 California St., S.F. 6-6:20 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 in front of Just for Fun, 3982 24th St.
“Family & Friends Hanukkah Celebration”—For ages 0-13 and their families. Bring your own menorah. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, followed by klezmer concert at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, 290 Dolores St.
Service and dinner—With clown to entertain the kids. Bring hanukkiah. 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake St.
“Festival of Lights”—With Rabbi Moshe Langer and Chabad SF Soma Shul & Pacific Heights. 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Westfield San Francisco Center, 865 Market St. Free.
Celebration for families with young kids—Hosted by Jewish Gateways. Includes menorah lighting. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at Epworth Church, 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley. $5-$12.
“Chanukah Wonderland”—Family festival with giant balloon menorah lighting. 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Albany Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 1325 Portland Ave. $10-$15.
Hanukkah and latke party—Bring parve or dairy dish, hanukkiah and two candles. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Congregation B’nai Israel, 1256 Nebraska St., Vallejo. Free with RSVP.
“Community Chanukah Celebration & Concert”—Giant menorah lighting, music by Mikey Pauker. Hosted by Chabad of Danville. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Blackhawk Plaza, 3380 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville.
Hanukkah festival—With storytelling and klezmer Sephardic music. Light menorahs for “justice and hope” with guests from immigrant community. 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Chochmat HaLev, 2215 Prince St., Berkeley. $5-$15.
“Grand Menorah Lighting”—With Chabad of Contra Costa. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1275 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek.
“Oakland Grand Menorah Lighting”—With Chabad of Oakland. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Lake Merritt Amphitheatre, between 12th St. and 1st Ave., Oakland.
Menorah lighting—With Chabad of Contra Costa. 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Alamo Plaza, near Safeway, Alamo. Free.
Fourth-night candlelighting—With toy drive and music by the Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. Hosted by Temple Israel Alameda. 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at South Shore Center, Alameda. (510) 522-9355
Lighting at Travis Air Force Base—“Grand Menorah Lighting” hosted by Chabad of Solano County and Team Travis. Includes live music, hot drinks, holiday foods. 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield.
“Chanukah on Ice”—Chabad of Contra Costa Menorah lighting with live Jewish music and kosher food. 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at Civic Park Ice Rink, 1375 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. $15-$18 to skate; free for non-skaters.
“Giant Lego Chanukah Lighting”— With a real Lego menorah, live music and Israeli food for sale. Chabad of Fremont. 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at Town Fair Plaza, Fremont.
“Latkes and Lights”—Potluck with menorah lighting. Under One Tent event. 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at Congregation B’nai Tikvah, 25 Hillcroft Way, Walnut Creek.
Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Hanukkah party—Bring your own menorah. 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at 18929 California St., Castro Valley. $10.
“Bay Street Chanukah Festival”—12-foot menorah, live music, food, crafts. Hosted by Chabad Emeryville. 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5616 Bay St., Emeryville.
Eighth-night celebration—With giant menorah lighting and movie screening. Hosted by Chabad of Danville. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at City Center Bishop Ranch, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon. Free; RSVP required.
Giant Jelly Belly menorah—Hanukkah festival for kids concludes with the lighting of a menorah filled with jelly beans. 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Jelly Belly Visitor Center, One Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield. Free.
Lighting with the Nigunim Chorus—Candlelighting and community singing. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. Free.
“Chanukah at the River”—Chabad of Petaluma’s 9-foot menorah and appearances by community leaders. 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Water Street Promenade, 100 N. Petaluma Blvd. RSVP required.
“Festival of Lights”—Family dance party with live music and food plus activities for kids. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Blvd., San Rafael. Free.
“Grand Chalk Menorah Lighting”—Chalk messages of love on giant menorah. With Chabad of Novato. 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at City Hall, Civic Green Lawn, 901 Sherman Ave., Novato.
Montgomery Village Hanukkah festival—Menorah lighting, dreidels and kosher food with Chabad of Sonoma County. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa. 4 p.m.
Healdsburg Hanukkah celebration—With Chabad of Sonoma County. 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 at Oakville Grocery, 124 W. Matheson St., Healdsburg.
Sonoma Plaza Hanukkah celebration—With Chabad of Sonoma. 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Sonoma Plaza, 453 E. First St.
Emanu-El pop-up lighting—With Cantor Marsha Attie. 6-6:20 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at Tiburon Fountain Plaza, Tiburon. 6-6:20 p.m.
“Family Chanukah Friday Night”—Challah baking, sing-along and kid-friendly buffet. Chabad of Novato. 4-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at the rabbi’s home; address given with RSVP (required).
Ner Shalom Hanukkah party—Pescetarian kosher potluck (by assignment) and lighting. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati. RSVP required.
Latke night—With family activities. Bring hanukkiah and nine candles. 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Congregation Beth Ami, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. $5-$10; $25 per family.
Community Hanukkah party—With menorah lighting, buffet dinner and holiday food. 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Chabad of Novato, 7430 Redwood Blvd., Suite D, Novato.
Peninsula and South Bay
“Chanukah on Burlingame Avenue”—With a Lego menorah, imported snow, selfies with a dreidel mascot and music by the Saul Kaye Band. Chabad of the North Peninsula. 5-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 240 Park Road, Burlingame.
“Light It Up! A Hanukkah Extravaganza”—Hanukkah party with silent disco, shadow puppets and community lighting. 2:30-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Peninsula JCC, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City.
Hanukkah festival—9-foot glow-in-the-dark menorah. Live music, food, local dignitaries. 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. Free.
Menorah lighting—Hosted by Chabad Palo Alto. 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at Mollie Stones, 164 N. California Ave., Palo Alto. Free.
Hanukkah train—Light menorah, then ride through the streets of Santa Cruz while listening to stories and enjoying kosher refreshments. 6:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St. $27-$33.
“Chocolate Chanukah Celebration”—Giant gelt menorah, chocolate fountain, hot chocolate, more. Hosted by Chabad of Daly City. 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at City Hall, 400 Grand Ave., South San Francisco.
Menorah lighting at City Hall—With food and special presentation to honor public servants. Hosted by Chabad of Palo Alto. 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
Hanukkah celebration at Stanford Shopping Center—Lighting and musical performance by Noa Levy. For families. Hosted by Palo Alto JCC. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto.
“Latkes and Lumpias”—Hanukkah party and lighting with Filipino and Jewish food and music by the Tribal Blues Band. 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 Mile House, 2800 Bayshore Blvd., Brisbane.
“Coastside Jewish Community Chanukah Party”—Candlelighting, latke dinner, sing-along, silent auction. 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Pacifica Community Center, 540 Crespi Drive, Pacifica. $10-$20.
Menorah lighting at Mitchell Park—Build a menorah out of kosher food cans and light it. All proceeds and cans donated to Kosher Meals on Wheels. Hosted by Chabad of Palo Alto. 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Mitchell Park, Palo Alto.