Hanukkah lasts eight whole days and nights, and is especially exciting and memorable in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is amazing all year around, but some of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem are even more amazing during Hanukkah. The city is filled with festive and fancy sufganiyot, or doughnuts, along with Hanukkah candles everywhere you turn, as well as special events and festivals.
The tastiest (and prettiest) sufganiyot in the city
Every year the newspapers and social media are abuzz with which Jerusalem bakeries are offering the best doughnuts, or the ones with the newest and most creative fillings and toppings. And each year, the offerings expand.
The truth is there are so many good options, it’s hard to say which is best. But here are some of the most famous:
Kadosh, a cozy but sophisticated European-stye cafe, has been in business for more than 50 years, and offers light fluffy doughnuts filled with an endless variety of different fillings, which change daily throughout the Hanukkah season. An extensive hot drink menu provides many good options to enjoy alongside the sufganiyot.
Roladin, especially its location in Mamilla, is the one of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem for sufganiyot, with the windows full of colorful and tasty options. Some look almost too pretty to eat. There are also many tables inside and outside that overlook the Old City walls, providing a festive backdrop for enjoying the treats.
Marzipan in the Mahane Yehuda Market is famous for its rugelach, but it’s also one of the best bets for sufganiyot. It is an especially good choice for those looking for delicious classic sufganiyot, filled with strawberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar. But there are also plenty of other choices, including chocolate and caramel.
Beautiful places in Jerusalem for seeing Hanukkah candles
One of the best ways to experience Hanuukah in Jerusalem is to go for a walk at night around some of the oldest neighborhoods, like Nachlaot and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, where lit Hanukkah menorahs fill the windows. With both of these neighborhoods made up of many small and winding alleys, the atmosphere is especially unique and magical.
The best time to walk around is shortly after sundown, when people begin lighting their candles, which burn for a few hours–and sometimes longer. While it is important to be quiet and respectful in residential areas, residents of these neighborhoods are also often walking around or heading out to enjoy the holiday. While anyone can simply wander around these areas, it may be worthwhile to join a walking tour, like the one Yalla Basta offers around Nachlaot.
Special events for Hanukkah
Every night all around the city, there are public menorah lightings. Some of the biggest and most popular ones are at the Western Wall, in the Mamilla Mall area, and in Zion Square, where the menorah is so tall it requires a fire truck to reach the top.
Another ongoing event is the annual Winter Lights Festival at the Jerusalem Botanical Garden. The garden is already one of the most beautiful places in Jerusalem, but its which runs during December and January, makes it even more spectacular. Visitors can wander through illuminated pathways and light displays, accompanied by classical music. Booths also offer food, art and other souvenirs.
Whether it’s sufganiyot, a menorah walk or a nighttime visit to the Botanical Garden, there is something for everyone during Hanukkah in the most beautiful places in Jerusalem.