5 Reasons to Visit Jerusalem on Thursdays and Fridays

5 Reasons to Visit Jerusalem on Thursdays and Fridays

Here are some tips for a great weekend in Jerusalem; visiting the bustling Mahne Yehuda market, hoping into a retro-style cocktail bar, enjoying the city's nature gems.
autor iconBy Chana Roberts , May 4, 2023

Thursday Evening: A Shuk Party

The Jerusalem shuk (market) is a city icon. This is where you go to drink up the authentic Jerusalem atmosphere, and to find stands selling the best spices and delicacies in Israel. Plus, some of the best restaurants in the city are hiding in the shuk's various nooks and crannies.

The shuk comes to life on Thursday evenings, when all the tourists and residents come out for some R&R. This is the best time to enjoy one of the shuk's amazing restaurants and to learn about Israeli culture.

Machneyuda Restaurant proudly bears the shuk's name. One look at the décor is enough to see why this restaurant is special: The packed kitchen is filled with colorful china tiles, and the pans hanging from the walls create a cozy, modern, and homelike atmosphere. Run by three local chefs, Machneyuda offers hot and delicious Mediterranean dishes - made fresh and served perfectly.

Party in the City Center

Credit: Alex Yampolsky

The nightlife in Jerusalem's city center includes an impressive selection of all types of bars.

If you want an intimate experience, it's worth visiting Gatsby's cocktail bar. To enter, you'll need to walk through unidentified black doors, and then through a secret door in the library. Once you're in, you'll find waitresses wearing evening dresses, barmen with tailored clothes, and a chic cocktail bar.

Gatsby's retro-style cocktail bar is designed to be reminiscent of the Great Depression when people founded secret bars to quench the public's thirst. With jazz music playing in the background, Gatsby's cocktails are unique and extravagant, perfect for anyone looking for an alcoholic experience.

The Unique Hotels of Jerusalem


Jerusalem is well known for its hotels, which combine luxurious and modern design with the famous Jerusalem Stone exterior. Like everything else we've mentioned, this combination is something you'll find only in Jerusalem.

Some of the magic belongs to the small, intimate hotels, with their homelike feel and emphasis on personal attention for each customer. Carefully decorated to create a warm atmosphere, Villa Bamoshava is one of these special hotels.

Located in a quiet upscale neighborhood close to the city center, shopping malls, and cafes, Villa BaMoshava offers a perfect vacation experience. Lodging in Villa BaMoshava includes their famous breakfast and their "pie time." Don't miss the opportunity to taste the best pie in Jerusalem!

Located just minutes away from Jerusalem's Old City and the First Station, Saint George Hotel prides itself on its terrace overlooking Jerusalem's Old City, and boasts one of the best views in the city. All the meals are served in a warm atmosphere, and there's nothing like starting or ending the day with quality food and a good cup of wine opposite the Old City's walls and towers.

You'll also enjoy a view of Jerusalem's older neighborhoods, as well as the crowds of tourists streaming to the city from every corner of the globe. Saint George's staff is warm and friendly, and the hotel offers an old library complete with armchairs to relax in. With its reasonable prices and unique experience, Saint George's is the perfect hotel for couples, or for your uncle from abroad.

Villa Bamoshava address: 13 Yehoshua Bin Nun Street, Jerusalem. 

Reserve: Villa Bamoshava


Saint George Hotel address: 6 Amar Ben Ela'as Street, Jerusalem.

Reserve: Saint George Hotel

A Jerusalem Breakfast


Friday morning is the perfect time to go out for a delicious breakfast and start the day off on the right foot. There's nothing like Jerusalem air to help you start your day, and in the city center's Nahalat Shiva neighborhood, you'll find Kikar Hamusika, complete with shows, a museum, and a variety of restaurants.

Nahman Restaurant is one of these and specializes in rich and delectable Israeli breakfasts with an Italian twist. Nahman's head chef is Rachel Dabach, who is known for her excellent work in Pips Restaurant. Among Nahman's delicious breakfasts are French toast made from brioche pastries and topped with maple syrup, fresh fruits and cream, muesli with salad and seasonal fruits, and honey with goat yogurt and granola.

Did you start your Friday a bit late? Nahman's offers brunch until 2 pm. Their brunch menu includes freshly squeezed juice, hot drinks, a basket of bread, baked goods, and your choice of main course (shakshuka with soft white goat's milk cheese, Benedict eggs with creamy spinach and lox, filo dough pastries, and more).

Nature in the City - on Friday


Jerusalem has several nature spots perfect for romantic visits or a family outing with kids. Friday morning or afternoon is the best time to visit these places - because you'll have practically no competition.

The Biblical Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Jerusalem and is centrally located in the south of the city. Built according to European tradition, with wide shaded paths for visitors, the Biblical Zoo boasts animals in danger of extinction, such as tigers, lions, Persian leopards, elephants, and a variety of lively monkeys who are always happy to see visitors. You'll also see animals from Biblical times, such as wolves, ponies, and giraffes.

The biggest attraction, though, is watching the zoo staff feed the hilarious lemurs. Lemurs love to show off their abilities, and children and adults alike love watching them. Children also love the zoo's train, which stops at all the main zoo attractions. And if you love the zoo, you can buy a membership card and get a huge discount.

The Biblical Zoo adress: 1 Derech Aharon Shulov Street, Jerusalem.  

Reserve: The Biblical Zoo


Gazelle Valley, Natural park (Photo: Amir Balbn)

Another good nature spot is Emek Hatzvaim Park (Gazelle Valley), where you'll get to enjoy a great hike and the beautiful ponds. Watch the animals and birds, or take part in one of the various activities offered for all ages.

Emek Hatzvaim Park address: Pat-Herzog Junction, Jerusalem. 

Website: Emek Hatzvaim Park 



The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (Photo: Zvia Adler)

On Friday mornings, come watch the gazelles before the park gets crowded or the day gets hot. Just bring a mat, rent binoculars at the park's entrance, and find a quiet spot to sit and watch.

In the Botanical Gardens, you'll find ten thousand different plants from around the globe, planted with care in the heart of Jerusalem. Offering the largest selection of plants in the country, the Botanical Garden is one of the most impressive nature spots in the city. Plus, throughout the year, the Botanical Garden hosts cultural events and family activities.

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens address: 1 Burla Street, Jerusalem. 

Websiste: The Jerusalem Botanical Garden 


The Nili and David Jerusalem Bird Observatory Photography by Yotam Bashan

Another amazing nature spot is the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, where there are bird ringing activities. During the ringing, the birds are identified by their feathers and personalities, as well as by the trip they've made before arriving at the observatory and whether the bird is planning to continue. It's an intimate, enjoyable, and educational experience perfect for children and adults - and you won't want to miss it.

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory address: Rothschild Street, Jerusalem.

Website: Jerusalem Bird Observatory