Light It Up

Eight Southern cities that shine during Hanukkah.


1. Durham, North Carolina

In Durham, North Carolina, the Hanukkah Festival kicks off December 11. Go for the themed games—Pin the Candle on the Menorah, Ultimate Jewish Tic-Tac-Toe, and more—and stay for the Jewish food. Latkes and hummus abound.

2. Charleston, South Carolina

Did you know Charleston is home to the oldest continuously operating synagogue in the United States? (The Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749.) Learn more about the city’s rich Jewish history through a special one- or two-night package at the Belmond Charleston Place hotel. It includes a guided tour of significant Jewish sites around town and a chocolate gelt at turndown.

3. Decatur, Georgia

Head to Decatur, Georgia, December 10 for an outdoor, kid-friendly Hanukkah party, complete with latkes, entertainment by kid-friendly musician Mr. Michael and the lighting of a ten-foot menorah.

4. Hallandale Beach, Florida

Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida—home to a horse-race track, casino, shopping center, and more—gets into the Hanukkah spirit with the Chanukah Festival on December 27, organized by Chabad of South Broward. Tens of thousands of people come out for the celebration, which includes the lighting of the state’s largest menorah, an eighteen-foot steel stunner.

5. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Ice on the Landing—an outdoor rink on the Chattanooga, Tennessee, waterfront—is the festive backdrop for Chanukah on Ice, hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Chattanooga. Check out the menorah-lighting ceremony before lacing up your skates and hitting the ice. 

6. New Orleans, Louisiana

Israeli-born chef Alon Shaya celebrates Hanukkah at his namesake New Orleans restaurant with a special family-style dinner, available  for $75 per person. Expect crispy potato latkes with Bulgarian feta spread, veal brisket schnitzel, and for dessert, a new take on sufganiyot (traditional doughnuts) with candied Satsuma oranges and black tahini gelato.

7. Orlando, Florida

Orlando gets into the Hanukkah spirit with an annual car parade presented by Chabad of South Orlando. Sixty autos cruise around town with colorful menorahs strapped to their roofs and holiday songs playing.

8. Birmingham, Alabama

A six-foot spinning dreidel, a Krispy Kreme–themed “Hot Sufganiyot Now” sign, a larger-than-life menorah—it’s all part of the outdoor extravaganza at the “Chanukah House,” a privately owned Birmingham residence. Check it out on your own or during the Wacky Tacky Christmas Lights Tour presented by Fresh Air Family, which takes place December 11, 13, and 14.