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The Best US Cities to Visit for Kwanzaa

Written by Staff Writer

Kwanzaa takes place from December 26 through January 1 every year. This seven-night celebration is focused on honoring the African-American culture through various traditions and events.

There are seven principles associated with Kwanzaa that include collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity, faith, purpose, self-determination, and unity. Seven candles are placed in a special candleholder called a Mishumaa Saba and lit each night. A black candle is placed in its center, which stands for unity, while three red candles signify the struggles that the African-American people have faced and three green candles represent hope for overcoming these struggles.

Celebrations often include dancing, singing, poetry, dramatic performances, and traditional food. Many cities and communities across the United States have events for anyone interested in participating in the festivities. Here are just some of the best US cities to visit for celebrating Kwanzaa.

New York


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A lot of people find that the residents of New York City come together like they’ve never before to celebrate Kwanzaa. There are so many activities that take place that it’s virtually impossible to participate in all of them. Because the city is so well connected with mass transit, you can easily get to and from each event to fill your days with Kwanzaa. If you do end up visiting New York to celebrate Kwanzaa, make sure you see some of the many street performances and indulge in a lot of the traditional Kwanzaa food from the various vendors.


A lot of the Kwanzaa events that take place in Houston focus on bringing people together while keeping the heart of Kwanzaa’s principles at the center of all of them. The temperatures in Houston during Kwanzaa tend to be fairly mild, so a lot of the festivities are held outside. It allows visitors to enjoy a variety of musical and theatrical performances, as well as street vendors selling traditional food and memorabilia. The events tend to be fairly diverse, so there is always something for everyone to enjoy. There usually are numerous ceremonies held throughout the city each night where visitors can watch the Kwanzaa candles being lit.


The home of some iconic Kwanzaa events, the Chicago area has been drawing travelers taking cheap flights in December to experience the celebration for many years now. Colleges, museums, and churches all end up participating in the week-long festivities. A lot of the activities focus on collective work and creativity. This is a great city to experience Kwanzaa for those that are interested in art, want to take part in activities that will allow them to give back to the community in some way, or are looking for events that their children will enjoy. Chicago is fairly easy to get around on public transit or walking, so visitors can easily get to each event.

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Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an ideal destination for those that want to enjoy some warmer weather during Kwanzaa. Many of the events held during this time focus on highlighting black-owned businesses in the area. One popular activity is a driving tour to see the work of legendary African-American architect Paul Revere Williams, who is responsible for designing some of the most well-known buildings in Los Angeles. Williams’s designs include the Beverly Hills Hotel and the LAX Theme Building. And since the city is home to many celebrities, you will often see famous faces making appearances at many of the local Kwanzaa events, some of which they even sponsor.


The city of Atlanta had just a few Kwanzaa celebrations in years past, but the number of activities offered has really grown in size and many of these celebrations are quite unique. There tend to be a lot of live performances, art installations, and activities for children to learn more about the African-American culture. There’s positive energy that’s often felt throughout the Atlanta area during this time that really encompasses the unity at the center of Kwanzaa. It’s not uncommon for people to come from all over the country to take part in all seven days of celebrations.

Know of any other US cities to visit for Kwanzaa? Tell us about them in the comments!

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