For eight days and nights, starting Tuesday, Dec. 16, Hanukkah begins — with no shortage of events, either. Celebrate the Festival of Lights the Philly way.
Before the holiday officially starts, JKidPhilly and the Germantown Jewish Centre collaborate for a pre-Hanukkah story time at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore (551 Carpenter Lane) on Friday, Dec. 12 featuring author Lynn Gordon, author of "Gracie's Night: A Hanukkah Story." The reading begins at 10:30 a.m. and families are asked to bring new or gently used books to donate.
Get up early on Sunday, Dec. 14 and bring the brood to the National Museum of American Jewish History (101 S. Independence Mall East) for a two-hour song-filled, candle-lighting family bash, starting at 10 a.m.
Burritos and beer are Hanukkah-appropriate, right? Shmaltz Brewing Co. and Manita Burrito have teamed up for a free beer tasting on Sunday, Dec. 14 at Mugshots Coffeehouse (1925 Fairmount Ave.) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring a nonperishable food item and score a free beer.
The festive week goes wild at the Elmwood Park Zoo (1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown) on Tuesday, Dec. 16. For two hours, starting at 4:30 p.m., the zoo's menorah will be lit, animals will come out to play, and kid-friendly entertainment will be available.
Treat the family to a traditional meal at Zahav (237 St. James Pl.) when chef Michael Solomonov presents a special, one-night-only prix-fixe dinner featuring potato latkes, braised lamb shank and more. The restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 16.
Suburban Square (6 Coulter Ave., Ardmore) kicks off the weeklong holiday with a menorah lighting at sundown on Tuesday, Dec. 16 in the main courtyard. Immediately following, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.) the venue will turn into Chanukah Wonderland with latkes, donuts, games and more.
Throughout the entirety of Hanukkah, Tuesday, Dec. 16 through Wednesday, Dec. 24, London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave.) will light their house menorah at 5:30 p.m. and serve latkes — traditional, sweet potato, wild mushroom and goat cheese — as well as duck confit, chicken livers, cured salmon, caviar and more.
Flavor up the midweek with a Hanukkah dinner at Sbraga (440 S. Broad St.), featuring six courses of deliciousness from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on both Wednesday, Dec. 17 and Thursday, Dec. 18. Courses include matzo, fried chicken, and cinnamon and sugar doughnuts.
Holiday laser show? It is the festival of lights, after all. Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (300 S. 18th St.) turns out the lights and turns up the lasers for a high-tech show and family party at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17.
The Germantown Jewish Centre (400 W. Ellet St.) celebrates Hanukkah with latkes, games, singing, activities — the usual — on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.
Have some latkes with your cocktails at the National Museum of American Jewish History (101 S. Independence Mall East). The museum is hosting a mixer and candle lighting from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for young professionals on Thursday, Dec. 18, giving attendees an opportunity to see their newest exhibit "'Twas the Night Before Hanukkah," an audible look at both Hanukkah and Christmas music (open through March 1).
As a part of their Art After Five program, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (26th St. and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) welcomes New York folksters DeLeon to play in the museum, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19.
Hooray for Hanukkah! The Garden State Discovery Museum (2040 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill) presents themed programming suitable for kids in the form of story time, crafts and a concert from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21.
The Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce Streets) hosts a free afternoon of music, games, story and more on Sunday, Dec. 21. Starting at 1 p.m., the event features the opportunity to score half-price admission to the National Museum of American Jewish History.
The community is invited to the Ethical Society (1906 Rittenhouse Square) for a puppet show, snacks and more at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 23. Following the party, Rittenhouse Square (18th and Walnut Streets) gets into the spirit on with a menorah lighting at 6 p.m.
Return to Zahav (237 St. James Pl.) for A Very Jewish Christmas, where the restaurant will be serving up Chinese fare and a movie (as of now, unannounced and maybe R-rated, so parents be aware!). Two seatings are available on Tuesday, Dec. 23: 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
No desire will be left unsatisfied on Wednesday, Dec. 24. A combination of comedy and Chinese food will be the menu items of choice at Ocean Harbor Restaurant (1023 Race St.) when Dave Konig, Jon Fisch, Robin Fox and Stewie Stone perform standup during a multi-course dinner, starting at 6 p.m. during the Moo Shu Jew Show.