Jerusalem is a must go on our list of things to do in Israel. While tourists come to Jerusalem with a blind list of ancient historical sites and holy landmarks to check off, the capital of Israel is so much more than a big wall and a Jaffa gate. Jerusalem is quickly catching up to Tel Aviv in terms of Israeli culture & nightlife, while its hotel game and authentic cuisine are as on point as ever. Add some venues and activities from our extensive list of “the bests of Jerusalem” to your itinerary for a culturally and personally diverse experience.
Time Out's 'Best of Jerusalem' list
Whether or not you’re looking for kosher restaurants, Jerusalem offers a wide range of options that are both mouthwateringly delicious and suitable for a plethora of palates. Unlike many of the world’s other top destinations, in the Holy Land, you’ll find fantastic culinary experiences that aren’t solely expensive (thanks in large part to the city’s unparalleled Israeli markets). Here’s a look at the best restaurants in Jerusalem and what the thriving restaurant scene has to offer. Believe us, after a day of shopping at Mamilla Mall for Israeli jewelry and designer clothing, you'll be grateful for a reason to wear your newest purchases. And for those of you that are still up and pumping, try out the Jerusalem nightlife scene, it will surprise you.
Despite the lingering threat of unrest, Jerusalem is a thriving city and when it comes to its hotels, surprisingly modern. Aside from Five Star Alliance hotels and the luxurious King David, you’ll find unique boutique stays that put up a fair fight to the boutique hotels in Tel Aviv. And, If you come off season, you will even get reasonable prices that don't warrant a Jerusalem hostel, but rather still provide the most over-the-top amenities. Here’s a look at the best hotels for the next time you come to site-see in the Old City of Jerusalem or Israeli wine and dine at the best Jerusalem restaurants. Oh, and don't be surprised if you get to the hotel later than you thought, the Jerusalem nightlife scene is thriving more than ever!
Jerusalem, old and new, is packed with historical sites, archaeological artifacts, Israeli markets and a handful of the best museums in Israel. After a sweaty day of squeezing through the Kotel tunnels, admiring Jewish artifacts at the Israel Museum, and weaving through the masses at Mahane Yehuda, you’ll want somewhere to shower, nap, and recharge before heading back out at night to, say, one of Israel's jazz and blues venues. Save your shekels and opt for one of these Jerusalem hostels instead. You’re bound to meet cool travelers like yourself in a comfortable, inviting environment. Some of the hostels even sport a bar and live music!
While street food in Israel isn’t hard to come by, it’s hard to weed out the authentic eats from the tourist traps. Jerusalem’s food scene is one where like its classical musicians, Jewish authenticity takes center stage. Even the hottest spots thrive on Jerusalem’s genuine vibe, as hip night spots lead by chefs bring out the beauty of the market, delighting locals and visitors alike. In all this hustle and bustle, no matter how hip, there’s always a touch of vintage, history and Jerusalem-chic. From traditional sabich and falafel to new school pita pocket fillings like fried red mullet and "chraime" (a spicy North African fish dish), Jerusalem restaurants are serving up the goods. Join Keren Brown in her foodie adventures as she explores the Holy City to hone down on Jerusalem’s most authentic spots from little nooks serving piping-hot bourekas to cozy no-frills restaurants serving homemade dumplings.
Whether you’re a first time visitor or a seasoned veteran, when looking for things to do in Jerusalem, it’s impossible to conquer every artifact in Jewish history, Jerusalem restaurant, and under-the-radar site. Throw in Jewish art galleries and top tier museums in Israel and you’re looking at an Israeli culture overload, in the best of ways. Check out the best art spaces the Holy Capital has to offer for enlightening exhibitions suited to all ages.
Italy has the best espresso you say? You think France has a monarchy over the café au lait? Clearly, you haven’t discovered the right Israeli bakeries and cafés yet...and not just Israel. Jerusalem cafés, in particular, have been steaming up the best cappuccinos (‘café hafuch’ in Hebrew), the richest seasonal sachlab and the most thirst-quenching iced coffees for ages. Whether you’re a Jerusalem native coffee novice, or you’ve come from a long week of sightseeing in the Galilee or the Negev, these cozy cafés will hit the spot, warm the soul and feed your coffee addiction like never before. Forget the coffee chains, check out our list of the best Jerusalem cafés for the real deal. And you know what? These spots will satify not only your thirst. In these cafés you will find top of line comfort food for every hour of the day. Still hungry? Checkout the most authentic Jerusalem restaurants for more food options.
Many things come to mind when people think about things to do in Jerusalem, but it doesn’t tend to include nightlife. This, however, is quickly changing as the Jewish history-charged city – thanks to the great Jerusalem hotels, hostels, the Jerusalem restaurants, Israeli fashion designers and a bustling tech scene – is attracting a new crop of urban savvy tourists and denizens who may not have left the confines of the White City due to the endless to do in Tel Aviv in the past. Whether you prefer to sit back with a glass of exquisite Israeli wine or are looking to dance the night away to live music on Ben Yehuda street, we’ve rounded up the best of Jerusalem nightlife: bars and clubs.
Tackling a packed itinerary of Jerusalem site-seeing can be exhausting to say the least. There is so much to see and do with the family that eating a proper meal at the end of the day is often left off the itinerary. Usually hurried and on the fly, dinner becomes a matter of stuffing your face from hunger. These hotel restaurants in Jerusalem kill two birds with one stone: not only can you eat well, but you also don't have to waste any time travelling for yet another rendez vous because you're already at your hotel. Reserve your precious hours for the major attractions that can't be missed and Jerusalem’s surprisingly lively nightlife.
From the Wailing Wall to Yad Vashem and everything in between, squeezing thousands of years of history into a few days isn’t an easy task, but we were up for the challenge. And, not to toot our own horn, but our list of top things to do in Jerusalem also includes modern destinations and foodie meccas, all of which you can feasibly see on the same trip. Remember – while Jerusalem might be ancient, it’s red hot as far as the Jerusalem hotels , tech scene and of course the oh-so-good Jerusalem restauarnts. Here’s a look at all the museums, religious sights and fun things to so in Jerusalem for the entire family you should add to your Jerusalem to-do list.
Though the Wailing Wall and the Kotel tunnels are vital stops when in the Holy Land, you don’t need to be religious to appreciate the splendor that the Old City Jerusalem has to offer. It’s one of the world’s greatest and most historically rich sites filled with artifacts and museums. While it might seem daunting to cram so much history into one visit – not to mention shopping and foodie destinations – it’s perfectly feasible with our guide that rounds up all of the Jerusalem must-see sites (no matter your religion) that you’d be mad to miss.