With the all the religious sites in Jerusalem, you would think that things to do in Jerusalem only consist of pilgrimage activities. That couldn’t be far from the truth. I have had quite a few trips to Jerusalem so I thought I would do a Jerusalem travel guide on things to see and do in the city in addition to tips on things to do in Jerusalem on Shabbat. Covering the best places to visit in Jerusalem, cool tourist spots in Jerusalem not to miss and more.
Things To Do In Jerusalem
There is so much to life in Jerusalem beyond the visits to the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, Holy Sepulchre and many other religious sites Jerusalem is famous for. Below is a list of places to visit, things to do, places to eat and hotel in Jerusalem. Make sure you know what to pack for Israel particularily if visiting religious sites in Jerusalem and beyond.
You can, of course, do a day trip to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and I have also done it all the way from Shlomi and Nahariya in the north of Israel boarding Lebanon. Israel is small enough to go from North to South is as few as 4-5 hours.
1. Explore Jaffa Street
Jerusalem’s main throughway. No trip to Jerusalem is complete without checking out this bustling hub in the city. The streets here are filled with people, from your locals going about their daily lives to tourists milling around cafes, restaurants, and shops that line the streets.
If you are looking for a little retail therapy or a few souvenirs then a trip to Jaffa Street and Ben Yehuda and surrounding streets are the places to head This area also comes alive after dark. This is also where you will find the street with the Umbrella Project I told you about in a recent post.
With all the beautiful sights and things to do in Jerusalem, you will surely work up an appetite in no time. A taste of Shawarma is a must when you are in the Middle so one cannot leave Jerusalem without sampling authentic Shawarma in the many restaurants in Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem.
Tasty falafel and hummus should be added to your list of things to try when you visit Jerusalem. There are many places to eat in and around the quarters. Check out places like Al Nasser and Abu Shukri in the Muslim quarter and B’sharayich in the Jewish Quarter. In the Christian Qarter be sure to check out Versavee and Lina for fantastic hummus and salads.
2. Taste Sharwama
3. Explore The Four Quarters In Jerusalem
The Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four quarters; The Jewish Quarter, The Armenian Quarter, The Christian Quarter, and The Muslim Quarter. Each quarter has its own characteristics and unique atmosphere.
There are seven gates in and around the walled city from which to enter. The Jewish Quarter is filled with narrow alleyways lined by the homes of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families, and schools where students study the Torah study.
Here you can observe the residents go about on their daily life. The Jewish Quarter’s narrow alleyways led you up to the Western Wall.
The Muslim Quarter is one of the busiest of the quarters with busy streets filled with shops with shish cafes. Streets here are filled with tourists, locals, this is the best place to try out your haggling skills with the many shops selling a variety of products.
From clothes to spices. This quarter also leds to the Dome of the Rock which sits above the Western Wall Plaze in the Jewish Quarter.
The Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is home to about 40 holy sites to Christians. The streets are filled with priests and pilgrims from around the world.
This quarter was constructed around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus is said to have been crucified and buried. The Armenian Quarter area is home to some 2,500 Armenians and is the smallest quarter of the Old City. The Armenian community are said to have resided here for over 2,000 years.
4. Check Out The Holy Sights
A trip to Israel is not complete without checking out the holy sites in the city. Mostly concentrated in the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will find some of the most important and holiest sites to Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
The Western Wall sits just below Temple Mount where you will find Dome of The Rock and a short walk from here is where you will find the Holy Sepulcher where it is believed Jesus was crucified. Remember to dress modestly if visiting these sites. Also note that non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Al Aqsa mosque but can tour around the building’s surrounding area.
5. Seek Out The Best Views Of Jerusalem
With all the beautiful sites that draw tourists to Israel and Jerusalem in particular, you sometimes need to take a few steps back to get a better view of the sights in Jerusalem.
In my recent post, I shared with you the beautiful views of Jerusalem from Haas Promenade. This place offers a beautiful vantage point to take in the site. My post also included a couple of other places with viewing decks and amazing views, somewhere you can even see as far as the Dead Sea.
6. Explore The Beautiful Markets In Jerusalem
Jerusalem has many a market to lose yourself in. The Old City of Jerusalem and its beautiful entrance gates is where you will find the Old City Souk. The market is busy and bustling with tourists and locals and you can find anything from fabric to postcards not to mention the Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall are nearby.
Another market to check out is the Farmers’ and Artists’ Market located in the German Colony, a prominent neighbourhood in Jerusalem. The market offers an array of items from cheese, handmade clothes to books and organic products. Another market to include on your list of things to do in Jerusalem is Mahane Yehuda Market.
This market is often referred to as ‘The Shuk’, here you will find fresh fruit and veg and many local delicacies. This market had a less than great reputation but has since seen some gentrification and now features designer boutiques among the fruit and veg market stores found in the area.
7. Take A Tour Of Jerusalem
Jerusalem is small but when you think of all the things to see and do in Jerusalem, its almost as if the city grows or the days suddenly get shortened. One cannot miss out on visits to Mount of Olives with amazing views of Jerusalem, Zion Gate, The Old City Cardo, Western Wall, Markets, The Quarters of Jerusalem, Via Dolorosa… the list is endless!
Thankfully there are many tours on offer from half day tours to full day tours to tours that pick you up at your hotel in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Some tours also combine visits to the Dead Sea, Bethlehem and other places in Israel.
There is plenty of fun things to do in Jerusalem at night. Its not all just about religious sites. The beautiful and bustling streets of Jaffa Street and Ben Yehuda are busy with locals and tourist in the day but also come alive in the night when they become the center of the nightlife in Jerusalem.
This area is home to the famous Mikes Place, an American style bar restaurant that comes with live music and sports. Other places to include on your evening of sampling nightlife in Jerusalem are Sira Pub, Hataklit, The Barrel and Tap and Mirror Bar. For more fun things to do in Jerusalem at night then also consider pub crawl tours where you can join and drinks and entrances to bars are included!
8. Things To Do In Jerusalem At Night On Ben Yehuda Street
9. Learn To Cook In Jerusalem
You have toured the Old City wall to wall, tasted authentic Shawarma, did you know that you can learn how to cook and make Israel’s or Middle Eastern cuisine in a cooking workshop?
Above I told you about I told you about Mahane Yehuda Market, located in the heart of Jerusalem is filled with fresh and fragrant produce.
One one of the many cooking workshops in Jerusalem this is where many will bring you and go through the selection of products you will use to cook your very own meals. Check out TripAdvisor for cooking glasses in Jerusalem.
|Where to Stay In Jerusalem:
The city of Jerusalem may be filled with old and ancient sites but that does not mean the hotels also fall into the relic category. After touring the city walls you might need comfortable places to rest your head and relax before embarking on yet more exploring. Jerusalem comes packed with some of the luxurious hotels this side of the Middle East.
For where to stay in Jerusalem, check out the likes of Waldorf Astoria is only a few yards from the Old City Walls. If luxury and beautiful interiors are how you like your hotels then The King David overlooking the Old City is one luxury hotel not to pass up.
10. Stay Locally In Jerusalem
Getting around Jerusalem and preparing for your trip.