Jerusalem is a city that seamlessly blends the old and the new, offering a diverse and lively atmosphere. It is a treasure trove of historical significance for the Jewish community and hidden gems throughout its winding streets that travelers and locals should notice. Here is a comprehensive guide to this incredible city’s must-sees, must-dos, and must-eats!
Where to Eat in Jerusalem?
Jerusalem has something to offer, from street food to fine dining for every palate. Whether you’re looking for kosher cuisine or authentic and vibrant flavors, the city has an extensive list of options. Here are a few of our top fine-dining suggestions:
- Machneyuda – 10 Beit Ya’akov St, Jerusalem – Make a reservation for an unforgettable dining experience!
- Seoul House – 34 Chabad St, Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem – authentic Korean food (kosher)
- The Lavan Restaurant at 11 Hebron Road, inside the Cinematheque, Jerusalem, is known for its pizzas.
- In Jerusalem, Luciana – 8 Mamilla – is an upmarket Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the Old City walls.
Street Food Finds!
While the above restaurants offer a fantastic dining experience, there is something to be said for the quick bites you can grab. This is a more authentic eating experience in the fast-paced city of Jerusalem. You can grab a bite at a nearby park, busy hummus joint, or even a bench and enjoy some people-watching while savouring these delicious street eats that belong on any Jerusalem bucket list:
- HaHummus Shel Tchina is a must-visit for hummus lovers in Jerusalem. This hip eatery, located at 23 Nissim Bachar in Jerusalem, offers a unique and trendy dining experience along with its delicious hummus. The combination of its urban vibe and flavorful hummus makes it a popular destination for locals and tourists.
- For those looking for authentic hummus in Jerusalem’s Old City, Akramawi is the place to go. This hummus joint, located at 2 Nevi’im in the Old City, is known for serving the best in town. The simple menu and fresh ingredients ensure that each bite bursts with flavour.
- For a unique twist on the classic hummus dish, head to the Machane Yehuda market and try the sabich at Aricha Sabich. Located at 83 Machaneh Yehudah 15, Agripas, Jerusalem, this market find is a must-try for anyone looking to sample the best sabich in town.
- Urbun Cafe, located at 5 Rehov Ha-Shikma in Jerusalem, offers a sweet treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. Their famous cinnamon rolls are a must-try and will satisfy your sweet cravings. Whether grabbing a quick bite on the go or sitting down for a leisurely breakfast, Urbun Cafe is a must-visit for pastry lovers.
- Ja’afar Sweets, located on Khan Al-Zeit Street in the Old City of Jerusalem, is a sweet lover’s paradise. With a wide range of sweets on offer, including traditional Middle Eastern sweets and modern desserts, there is something for everyone. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, Ja’afar Sweets is a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge in a delicious treat.
The Mahane Yehuda Market area provides some great food finds as well. Some must-tries include:
- Suppose you’re looking for something unique and delicious, head to Ishtabach to taste their specialty, shamburek. This Kurdish-Syrian pastry is filled with various tasty fillings, making it a must-try for anyone visiting the Mahane Yehuda market.
- For a classic pizza experience, look no further than Pizza Flora. This Italian pizzeria offers the best pizza in town and is a must-visit for anyone looking for a delicious and satisfying meal.
- Founded in 1952, Azura is a market institution and a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic and delicious food. With a wide range of menu options, Azura is a popular destination for locals and tourists.
- For a taste of home-cooked meals, head to Manou Ba Shouk. This market find offers a menu that tastes just like your Middle Eastern grandma’s cooking, making it a must-visit for anyone looking for a warm and comforting meal.
- And, for dessert, head to Mousseline for some of the best ice cream in town. With a wide range of flavours, this ice cream shop is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. Whether you’re looking for a classic taste or something unique and adventurous, Mousseline has something for everyone.
You will want to take advantage of these fabulous finds!
Explore Israel’s favorite market a bit deeper and discover the tastiest falafel and hummus, the freshest spices, and how to buy them on the Machane Yehuda Market Tour. A local chef will lead a cooking workshop as part of the Machane Yehuda Market Tour & Cooking Workshop.
Explore The Old City
Exploring the Old City is a must-do when in Jerusalem. No visit to the city is complete without seeing the most significant landmarks in the Jewish community, such as the Kotel, the Rabbi’s Tunnel, and the Western Wall. Join a Jerusalem Walking Tour to visit these landmarks and the modern city outside the walls. Or, make a day trip to see mountain fortress built by King Herod, and the Dead Sea by joining our Masada & Dead Sea Tour.
As you wander through the Old City, remember to pick up a pair of handmade leather sandals, a beautiful ceramic bowl, spices, candies, trinkets, and sweets from the Old City market. After a guided tour, return to the Old City alone to get lost in its winding alleys for a truly authentic experience.
Discover Jerusalem Neighborhoods!
While there are plenty of famous and historical sites to visit in Jerusalem, there are also several other must-see places in the city. Check out the Nachalat Shiva neighborhood, dotted with bars, cafes, and galleries and connects to Downtown Jerusalem. The ultra-cool Rehavia neighborhood is also a must-visit, with its main street, Aza, lined with hipster coffee shops and bars. Stroll through the charming old neighborhood of Ein Karem, tucked at the bottom of the Jerusalem Hills, for a different vibe from the Old City and relax in Emek Refaim street in the German colony, with its cute shops, cafes, bakeries, and some great ice cream.
Take a break from the sightseeing and experience some of the local favorites in Jerusalem:
- Enjoy the beautiful olive trees and hidden paths surrounding the Monastery of the Cross or Gan Sacher.
- Discover the architectural marvel of the Israeli Supreme Court.
- Behind Sacher Park in the government quarter, you’ll find the beautiful Wohl Rose Garden.
- HaMiffal is an arts and culture center where you can find concerts and other local events.
Experience Jerusalem on the weekend during Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) for a unique experience. Purchases should be made before Friday’s early afternoon closing time. Here are some suggestions for things to do in Jerusalem on the weekend:
- On Friday mornings, over 120 artists sell their handmade gifts and products at the Bezalel Street Fair.
- The city transforms into a quiet, almost magical place as Shabbat begins as you stroll through it on the weekend. Yemin Moshe is a beautiful neighborhood to explore by foot on Shabbat.
- As the weekend draws closer, Machane Yehuda returns to life as a nightlife extravaganza.
Escape The City!
As mesmerizing as Jerusalem is, the city also serves as a great starting point to explore the surrounding areas. Visiting Tel Dan, Rosh HaNikra, or Safed in the Hill Country is a great way to take a break from city life. You can also visit the Ein Gedi in the southern region of Israel on the Dead Sea shores.
You’ll be fine filling your days with much to see and do in Jerusalem. Use this guide as your ultimate Jerusalem bucket list, and start exploring this captivating city!
Jerusalem is a city that has something for everyone. From its rich history and cultural heritage to its modern innovations and vibrant atmosphere, there is never a dull moment in this city. And, with ITAS Tours (Israel Travel Advisory Service), you can experience the best of what Jerusalem offers with their customized tours. Whether you’re interested in an Israel Jewish tour, or a custom Israel tour, ITAS Tours provides a wide range of options to fit your interests and preferences. As a leading Israel tour and travel operator , ITAS ensures your trip to Jerusalem is memorable, safe and seamless.
How do you want to shape your child’s memories?
Their Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a significant milestone in their life and identity.
As a parent, you have invested time, love, and energy in your child’s development.
Consider having their Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel for a unique and meaningful experience that connects them to their Jewish heritage, shows them how the past influences the future, and boosts their pride in their Jewish identity.
Talk to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Travel Consultant for more information. They have first-hand experience planning this special occasion in Israel for their own children.
Celebrate Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Your Way
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel is an opportunity to express your love for your child, not a tedious obligation.
You have the flexibility to personalize the celebration to match your family’s style and preferences.
Many Rabbis in Israel are open to accommodating special requests, such as performing part or all of the ceremony in English instead of Hebrew.
While some traditions remain unchanged, such as your child reading from the Torah, you can choose a unique and memorable location for the ceremony, such as the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Masada, or the ancient Ein Gedi Synagogue.
These unique experiences will create memories that last a lifetime for you and your child.
Simplifying the Planning Process
Planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah should be an enjoyable and stress-free experience. Combining it with a family vacation and working with a tour company can make the planning process even easier.
However, finding the right tour company can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
Ensure the tour company you choose takes care of all the details while giving you control over the planning process. The company should prioritize your needs and wants for the trip.
The company should also prioritize creating a meaningful and memorable experience for everyone in your family, especially your Bar/Bat Mitzvah son or daughter, so they return home proud and inspired by their Jewish identity.
What is the point if some part of you isn’t moved by your experience in Israel? Choose a tour company that prioritizes your family’s overall experience in Israel and creates lasting memories.
Discovering Jewish Heritage and Pride
Visiting Israel is a crucial aspect of understanding the depth of being Jewish.
The liberation of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967 holds immense historical significance, and witnessing it through the eyes of a soldier who was a part of it during your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip can be a powerful experience.
Being in Israel, surrounded by the Hebrew language, will allow your kids to connect with their heritage and culture.
Immersing themselves in the language by speaking with locals will create a lasting memory and appreciation for their roots.
Israel is renowned for its thriving startup culture, with more startups per capita than any other nation. This entrepreneurial spirit is rooted in the Jewish belief in improving the world.
From creating solutions for freshwater scarcity to developing technology to aid the visually impaired and paralyzed, the impact of Israeli innovation is undeniable.
Your family can visit the Center for Israeli Innovation to learn more and be inspired.
Exposure to the people and achievements of Israel is bound to instill a sense of pride and connection to your child’s Jewish identity.
Making it a Memorable Trip
Your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration is not only about the ceremony, it’s also a birthday celebration. So, make sure it’s enjoyable for everyone in the family.
There’s a wealth of activities to choose from, such as visiting historical sites, swimming with dolphins, sandboarding, going on a jeep ride, or taking cooking classes. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The highlight of the trip for your child might just be the party! In Israel, parties are an occasion to have fun too, not just performing rituals.
In the US, everything related to the celebration is done in one day, which can be stressful for the child.
However, if you have a celebration in Israel, you will have already experienced many activities and adventures, making the party a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
A Legacy To Remember
Think about it: how do you want your child to recall their Bar/Bat Mitzvah? As a chore they had to fulfill, or as a life-changing experience they will treasure forever?
You can give your child the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration you always wanted for yourself. Not only will it have a lasting impact on them, but it will create meaningful memories that they can pass down to future generations.
Turn your Jewish heritage into a family legacy and make your Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip a one-of-a-kind experience. Book a consultation with a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Travel Expert today.
Make your child’s bar or bat mitzvah a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.
ITAS Tours (Israel Travel Advisory Service) offers a wide range of bar and bat mitzvah tours to Israel designed to cater to your specific needs and preferences.
Whether you want to explore the historical and cultural sites or experience the fun and excitement that Israel has to offer, ITAS Tours can help make it happen.
Trust us to take care of the details and help you create a bar or bat mitzvah trip that you and your family will never forget.
Contact ITAS Tours today to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime Israel bar mitzvah tour or Israel bat mitzvah tour and make your mark on the legacy of your family’s Jewish heritage.