The Jerusalem Bucket List: Things to do in the Holy City
Jerusalem is a diverse, spirited and bustling city, which combines both old and new in a multifaceted way. While this city encapsulates some of the oldest and most important worldly sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, it also is filled with little gems scattered all throughout its winding streets that are a must-see for world travelers and locals alike. Here is our Jerusalem bucket list of some must-see, must-dos and must-eats in this incredible city!
1) First things first – Where to eat in Jerusalem?
From street eats to fine dining, Jerusalem has developed its culinary offerings to please all palates. Whether you are looking for kosher cuisine or just authentic and vibrant flavors, Jerusalem has an endless list of options to please. The growing scene has developed over the years and you will certainly not be disappointed! Here are a few fine-dining restaurant recommendations:
Machneyuda – Beit Ya’akov St 10, Jerusalem – be sure to make a reservation
Eucalyptus – Felt alley (between Hativat Yerushalayim 14 and Dror Eliel st.), Jerusalem – great Israeli cuisine
Lavan Restaurant – 11th Hebron Road | Inside the Cinematheque, Jerusalem – try their pizzas!
Adom – Adom, First Station, David Remez 4, Jerusalem – especially great for meat lovers
2) Street Eats – market finds
The restaurants mentioned above will offer a wonderful dining experience, but there is also something to be said for the quick bites you can grab while out exploring. You can sit in a nearby park, a busy hummus joint or even a bench to enjoy some people watching while enjoying these delicious eats who belong on any Jerusalem bucket list:
Ja’afar Sweet Ja’afar Sweets, Khan Al-Zeit Street-Old city, Jerusalem – for anyone with a sweet tooth
The area around the Mahane Yehuda Market also offers some great spots who you should visit, if you love authentic food experiences:
Ishtabach – specialty: shamburek, a Kurdish-Syrian pastry with tasty fillings
Pizza Flora – the best Italian pizza in town
Azura – a real institution in the shuk, open since 1952
Manou Ba Shouk – tastes like your Middle Eastern grandma’s home-cooked food
Mousseline – the best spot to indulge in some ice cream for dessert
Don’t miss out on some of the best finds in the market! Join the Machane Yehuda Market Tour to discover the must-eat foods in the market; where to find the tastiest falafel and hummus, kebab, and freshest spices to buy. The Machane Yehuda Market Tour & Cooking Workshop combines the market tour with a cooking workshop by a local chef. Peruse the market and buy all of the ingredients that you will use in your cooking lesson.
3) More than Coffee
While the coffee options are plentiful, ranging from your usual cup of Jo to a dark Turkish coffee spiced with cardamom and served piping hot, you will also find an array of juice vendors throughout the city and you definitely don’t want to miss out on these fresh flavors! Out those options on your bucket list for Jerusalem:
Create your own colorful mix of fruit flavors in juice, smoothie or soft serve at Tutti Frutti Ben Yehuda 24, Jerusalem
Tamarind, Almond and Pomegranate Juice – try these unique flavors from any of the juice vendors lined throughout the Old City
You Need Coffee – Yafo St 30, Jerusalem – try the ice coffee!
Hatapuach 1 Juice Bar – Mahane Yehuda Market
Grab a cocktail at Gatsby, a high-class cocktail bar that offers special drinks, food, and music
4) Get lost in the Old City
Getting lost in the Old City is definitely one of the things you must do in Jerusalem. The best way to explore Jerusalem is with one of our many tours.
Visit the Church of the Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, and Western Wall, while also making a stop at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem as well as the Dead Sea, all in one day on our Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Bethlehem Tour. Or, visit both these historic sites as well as the modern city outside the walls on our Jerusalem Day Tour.
For a breathtaking view of the city, take a trip through the Old City to the “Austrian Hospice”, now a hotel, and there, make your way to the publicly accessible roof. Take a moment to view the gorgeous scenery, with the sound of the prayer call in the background.
While strolling through the Old City, pick up a pair of handmade leather sandals, or a gorgeous ceramic bowl. These along with spices, candies, and sweets are all worth purchasing in the are, you won’t regret it!
5) Neighborhood exploration
While there is no end of options of incredible and historical sites to visit, there are always a few extra things to see in Jerusalem, that belong on our bucket list as well:
Explore the Nachalat Shiva neighborhood sprinkled with many bars, cafes, and galleries. Definitely worth window shopping and peaking in these shops in the area.
Be sure to stroll through Ein Karem, a charming neighborhood tucked at the bottom of the Jerusalem Hills, and a different vibe from the Old City.
Or get lost on Emek Refaim, in the German colony, with its array of cute shops, cafes, bakeries and some great ice cream!
6) So extra!
While you spend your days weaving in and out of the Old City and visiting the many sites Jerusalem has to offer, be sure to take a break from the sightseeing and take note of a few alternative bucket list spots:
Take a break from all the sightseeing a rest in Gan Sacher or the park around Monastery of the Cross with its beautiful olive trees and many hidden pathways.
Check out the Israeli Supreme Court, the building is a marvel of architecture and worth checking out.
Find yourself in Wohl Rose Garden, a gorgeously maintained floral display which can be found behind Sacher Park, in the government quarter.
For an art break, be sure to “pop” into Art-Time Israel, a quaint gallery exclusively displaying pop art Art-Time Israel, 15 Shlomzion Hamalka St. Jerusalem, Israel.
For concerts and local happenings, check out HaMiffal this is an art and cultural center with a unique vibe and a very special atmosphere.
7) Weekend vibes
Experiencing the Holy City on the weekend during Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) is a special experience that can’t be compared to a weekend in any other place in the country. Our suggestions for things to do in Jerusalem on a weekend include:
On Friday mornings, go visit the Bezalel Street Fair. Handmade gifts and products crafted from over 120 artists, you won’t be disappointed!
Take a weekend stroll: You will watch the streets full of energy in the morning go quiet by late afternoon as Shabbat begins. The city will become relaxed and feel almost magical as stores close and everyone takes a break for Shabbat. Be sure to make purchases before everything closes on Friday.
On Saturday night, after a quiet and restful weekend take a look at Burstein’s Klezmer Basement – for a unique Klezmer musical experience! This special place also caters to English speakers and will be sure to offer an authentic experience, definitely worth visiting!
8) Escape the city
As captivating as Jerusalem is – the city is also a great base to explore the surrounding areas. Take a break from the sites and the noise of city life, and take a tour to Masada, Ein Gedi, and the Dead Sea with pickup and drop off from Jerusalem, or explore the stunning North of Israel – the lush Galilee.
Whether your taking in the historical sites or the new and innovative parts of the city, we are sure you will have no trouble filling your days while visiting Jerusalem, especially now that you know our Jerusalem bucket list with the best things to do in the Holy City.