Half a Day in Downtown Jerusalem
Downtown Jerusalem is the center of life in the modern metropolis, offering a bevy of things to do, from dining and shopping to simply absorbing the atmosphere.
Obviously, you can’t see everything in one day, but here are some recommendations for how to spend your day. Choose whatever fits you best!
Things to do in Downtown Jerusalem
Grab a bite (1 hr)
If you’re exploring the downtown Jerusalem for any amount of time, at some point or another, you’re going to want to eat, and you’re in luck because the area is absolutely full of dining options.
Breakfast people should definitely start the day in Nahalat Shiva and stop by Tmol Shilshom for fresh juice, coffee and its famous shakshuka if they’re in the mood for something hearty and healthy, drop in on Gourmandises for a typical French coffee and pastry.
The lunch crowd will definitely have many more options. For hearty Middle Eastern fare, you can’t go wrong with Rachmo or Taami, but if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, try some Italian food at Piccolino while listening to some pleasant live music.
Dinner is where things really get interesting. Most of the places serving local fare will be closed, but it’s the perfect time to explore Jerusalem’s burgeoning creative culinary scene, such as Menza or Mona. If you’re looking for something more casual, Piccolino is also a great choice for dinner, as well as resto-bar Link or the something-for-everybody Focaccia Bar.
Piccolino, 12 Yoel Salomon Street, Jerusalem
Check out all the restaurants in downtown Jerusalem >> (link)
Ben Yehuda Street (30-60 min)
It may seem a bit cliche and even kitschy with all the souvenir shops, but you can’t forget that the Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Mall is synonymous with Jerusalem lifestyle, full of street musicians, quirky local celebrities and hidden gems like the Muffin Boutique.
There is simply no way you can say you know Jerusalem if you haven’t strolled down Ben Yehuda and maybe grabbed a coffee or juice, sat down and watched the people do their thing.
Muffin Boutique, 16 Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem
Mishkenot Shaananim (1 hr)
The first Jerusalem neighborhood built outside of the Old City, Mishkenot Shaananim is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. There’s no shame in just strolling through the alleys and up and down the stairs, but you should make time for the Hutzot Hayotzer artist colony, where local artists and designers have studios and shops.
Read more about Mishkenot Shaananim >> (link)
Read more about Hutzot Hayotzer >> (link)
Shopping in the City (1-2 hrs)
Shopping isn’t usually the first thing you think about when it comes to Jerusalem, but it’s actually an oasis of local art, jewelry, Judaica and clothing boutiques for every type of budget, high-end international brands, souvenir shops and much more.
If you’re in the market for something truly special, check out the Avi Luvaton Gallery in the David Citadel Hotel for one-of-a-kind Judaica and art from one of Israel’s premiere designers. It’s pricey, but completely worth it.
If you’re on a budget, but want something uniquely Jerusalem, there are still numerous options around town, including independent clothing and accessories boutiques on Shats Street and local mainstays like Ophir Jewelry, Charlotte gifts or the Betzalel Art Fair on Friday afternoons.
Avi Luvaton Gallery, 7 King David Street, Jerusalem
Stop and Smell the Roses (as long as you want!)
Despite what you may read in the news, Jerusalem is a laid-back city. Locals love to enjoy a coffee outside, eat out for lunch, stroll around and simply enjoy life.
Don’t be afraid to follow suit by taking a break from your sight-seeing to relax on the lawn in Independence Park or grabbing a coffee and cake at Kadosh or on Ben Yehuda and parking yourself in a chair outside to enjoy some people-watching or conversation with friends.
Kadosh, 6 Shlomziyon Hamalka Street, Jerusalem
Photos: Israel Ministry of Tourism and iTravelJerusalem