Your guide to Hanukkah in Chicago

Your guide to Hanukkah in Chicago

(Click here to check out my 2012 Hanukkah guide!)

Happy almost first night of Hanukkah! Tonight the Jews of Chicago (and the world) will light the first candle on the Menorah. I always like it when Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas because then I feel a little more involved in the holiday festivities. You can imagine that just about every Chicago-area synagogue and Jewish Community Center has its own festivities (Click here for a list of places to go in the city), but I tend to like to see what my favorite Chicago venues are up to during the Festival of Lights.

I love potato latkes, but I don't so much cook. You can get your latke fill at Manny's, Eleven City Diner and Steve's Deli. Steve's is actually offering a 50 percent off coupon on their website, so check that out.

The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band will play song inspired by Marc Chagall at the Art Institute tomorrow night, the second night of Hanukkah. This is the perfect time to get your fill of those gorgeous stained glass windows.

The city's Kehilla program is hosting a Hanukkah Shabbat celebration on December 23. The event is for young professions to get together, light some candles, eat food and enjoy entertainment by local comedians. For $15 you get appetizers, dinner, dessert and an Israeli wine tasting.

I've said over and over that I won't ever promote lame bar parties on my blog. Well, there is one exception: when the bar parties are celebrating Hanukkah. Every year while the gentiles are at home drinking eggnog and enjoying their Christmas trees, the Jews are out to enjoy a night on the town. (Ever wonder why Chinese food restaurants are open on Christmas? It's for the Jews.) Since Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas this year, there will be even more Hanukkah parties on Christmas Eve.

Club 1948 will host their party at Tzar, featuring DJs and passed appetizers. The Matzo Bash will definitely be a hip place to be this year considering the event sees around 1,200 guests every year. Tickets include appetizers, DJ entertainment and complimentary entre to the after-party at Cuvee. The country-wide Matzo Ball will take place at Mercadito this year, although I can't find much information about it. My favorite party is Bucktownukah at Nick's Beer Garden. Admission gets you one free drink, free entertainment and free food - but the food sounds really good: sushi, doughnuts and latkes.

After partying all night join in the annual Bagel Ride on December 25 as it meanders through Evanston and Skokie and ends at the famous Bagel Restaurant.

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