Here is a sample of the many fun cultural activities visitors can enjoy during a weekend in Jerusalem. To be clear, the weekend in Israel is Thursday night through Saturday night and on the Sabbath (Friday evening to Saturday evening) many businesses and restaurants might be closed. But there is still plenty to see and enjoy in Jerusalem.
Markets and Shopping
Jerusalem’s outdoor markets are packed with shoppers on the weekend, especially in hours leading up to Shabbat (Sabbath). But it is also a great time to take advantage of free food samples, live music, street performances, and a festive atmosphere. Jerusalem’s famous Machane Yehuda market (or shuk) is a fun place to be on Thursday night. It’s huge, filled with everything from fresh produce and baked goods to clothing and souvenir trinkets, and often you’ll find a few street musicians playing for tips in the middle of the busy lanes between vendor stalls. After 9 pm, food vendors slash their prices for the night to make room for the next morning’s shipment.
Another fun place to check out is Ben Yehuda Street, a pedestrian mall with open air cafes, street performances, and souvenir shops. The best time to visit is before or after Shabbat. Yoel Solomon Street contains many small artsy shops that stay open until 11 pm, and the Bezalel arts-and-crafts street fair sells handmade wares between 10am-4pm every Friday.
Friday evening is the most popular time to visit the Kotel (Western Wall), and mingle with native Israelis and tourists alike to worship there. Just be sure to dress modestly. Women need their shoulders and knees covered, and men will need a kippah or other head covering (free paper ones are available at the plaza).
Jerusalem is full of holy sites to visit, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. Other important places to see include the City of David archaeological dig site, the Israel Museum, and the many churches on the Mount of Olives.