5 Ways to Experience Jerusalem Like a Local (and See a Side You Could Never Imagine)

The best things to do in Jerusalem are must-sees that should be included on every Israel itinerary. These attractions, both historic and modern, will interest travelers from all backgrounds and corners of the world. Here’s our pick of the top 5 things to do in Jerusalem.

1) Wander Around Ein Karem

One of Jerusalem’s best kept secrets is the idyllic neighborhood of Ein Karem. Situated at the edge of the city and marking the start of the Jerusalem Forest, head over to this small slice of nature during your stay in Israel. You’ll see grand monasteries, cobbled alleyways, important Christian sites, and even small chocolateries! Plus, you can impress your friends back home with beautiful nature pictures on one of the forest trails.

ein kerem jerusalem best things to do

2) Visit the Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is Israel’s flagship museum of art, archaeology, and history. The highlight is the Dead Sea scrolls, sitting in the beautiful Shrine of the Book. The rest of the museum has been extensively refurbished. It contains an incredible collection of pieces that chronicle the history of Israel, Jerusalem, and Jewish people through the ages. It is a fascinating museum well worth your time. To fully appreciate the miracle of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, make sure to visit the Dead Sea during your time in Israel.

3) Pay your Respects at Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is Israel’s national Holocaust Memorial, and is one of the most important places in the country. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is a sobering but powerful dive into the horrors of the Holocaust. At Yad Vashem, image and architecture are as important as the words telling the story. The incredible museum offers many different ways to interact with the story of the Holocaust. It doesn’t just tell the story of the tragedy, but also has a remarkable atmosphere that affects most visitors. The site in the lush Jerusalem Forest on Mount Herzl offers a place for contemplation after visiting the museum. If you’d like to pair this important site with some of Jerusalem’s most fascinating history, we offer a tour of Yad Vashem and the Old City.

Yad Vashem Israel
The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem

4) Eat at the Machane Yehuda Market

In the modern city of Jerusalem (west of the Old City) lies the Machane Yehuda Market, an authentic Middle Eastern market, or souk, filled with small stores selling almost every imaginable product, from every conceivable corner of the world.

A myriad of sensual experiences awaits you when exploring Machane Yehuda Market, with contrasting aromas, sounds, and sights filling the air. If you’re lucky enough, take an awesome walking tour of Machane Yehuda, one of the best markets in Jerusalem, or awaken your senses with a delectable tasting tour where you’ll savor its many delicacies. You’ll discover a plethora of new spices and local foods on these tours. Looking to take your cooking skills to the next level while getting to know this culinary hub of Jerusalem? Join the Machane Yehuda Market Tour & Cooking Workshop.

5) Visit the Old City of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem is hard to ignore! Standing at only 1 square kilometer in size, the ancient city contains some of the most important sites of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It also has some of the most intense history and politics, beautiful coexistence, and undoubtedly wondrous surprises.

Depending on your religious background, you might wish to focus your Old City visit in different ways. For Jews, the Western Wall is seen as the holiest place in the world as the last remaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple.

If you’re Christian, you must walk the Via Dolorosa and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

For Muslims, there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Dome of the Rock. As well as religious sites, the Old City is full of markets, alleyways, museums, and diverse people to observe.

Whether you follow one of these world religions or you’re simply curious to witness the reverence these sites hold, you don’t want to miss out on this incredible slice of world history during your visit to Jerusalem. You can see all of these special places in our half-day highlights of the Old City tour

Old City of Jerusalem top things to do

Other places to visit in Jerusalem

This article only touches on a few of the best places to visit and things to do in Jerusalem, a city full of incredible culture and history, religion, and adventure. There are many ways to explore the city, many like to see it on their own, at their own pace, and others will love our Jerusalem Day Tour. We also offer a wonderful private tour of Jerusalem that you can add to your Israel itinerary, making for a special and intimate way to experience the City of Gold.

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