On September 17, 2012Dan Heching answered the question:The best nightlife in Jerusalem takes place on Ben Yehuda Street, the epicenter of social life for the countless students who come to Jerusalem. Here you’ll find establishments like Zolly’s for the younger crowd and Mike’s Place, an American sports bar. Wandering the plazas and side-streets off Ben Yehuda will turn up various activities, the most culturally enriching of which might be to smoke at a hookah bar. Although there are some nightclubs located in the neighborhood of Talpiot, take note: Jerusalem is not the place for an all-night-out bender. For that, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you head up north to Tel Aviv.
On September 17, 2012Dan Heching answered the question:Without a doubt, the best way to get an overview of both the antique and modern components of Jerusalem is to take the Ramparts Walk along the walls of the Old City. This pathway is best explored in the early morning, and you’ll see the Muslim Quarter and the rest of the city waking up within the walls. The entrances to the ramparts are located near most of the Old City gates.
Next head into the Old City and get a glimpse of the Wailing Wall, as well as the neighboring Temple Mount. After that, check out the cantilevered cable bridge near the central bus station, as a modern counterpoint to all the ancient history. For a midday feast, make sure to take in Mahane Yehuda, the biggest and busiest fresh food market in Jerusalem and an absolutely delightful assault on the senses. Spices, dried fruits, nuts, meats and more extend as far as the eye can see and nose can smell, with bakeries, cafés and restaurants interspersed throughout the crowded market streets. Fridays are especially busy and dizzying here, with the city-wide preparation for the Sabbath.
For an afternoon break from the city, head to Ein Kerem, the picturesque village thought to be birthplace of St. John the Baptist. If you have time, hike through the wadis or dried riverbeds in the surrounding forest.
To complete your day, dine at Turkish Bourekas restaurant on Jaffa Street, with decadent bourekas served with hardboiled egg, tahini and pickles in an establishment open 24 hours daily except on the Sabbath.
On September 17, 2012Dan Heching answered the question:The premier shopping destination in Jerusalem is the modern Mamilla pedestrian corridor, a beautifully appointed open promenade connecting King David Street with the Jaffa Gate into the Old City. Here you will find luxury chains both familiar and exotic, along with an interior shopping center with some of the best jewelry in Jerusalem.
For more historic crafts, the Old City itself has some truly whimsical and very exotic shopping streets, like the ancient Jewish crafts market known as The Cardo, with its arcaded interior, and the Arab souk (market) just across from the Jaffa Gate. This is a classic Middle Eastern market, with vendor upon vendor selling decorative religious paraphernalia, scarves, clothing, jewelry and even footwear.
On September 17, 2012Dan Heching answered the question:As an ancient city, Jerusalem has many winding streets and old neighborhoods just waiting to be explored. Your kids will enjoy the adventure, especially if you take them on these five activities recommended by Forbes Travel Guide editors:
1. Visit Jerusalem Tayelet. The Haas Promenade on the Jerusalem Tayelet is a wonderful place to take the kids, snap some family pictures, and enjoy the outstanding views of both the Old City and modern-day Jerusalem below.
2. Go to the Biblical Zoo. The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, or Biblical Zoo organizes its diverse and fascinating tenants into two categories: animals mentioned in the Bible (on Noah’s ark and beyond) and endangered species from near and far. The zoo is a perfect diversion for the younger set, and a nice break from all the history.
3. Enjoy the City’s Parks and Gardens. Take your pick of either a leisurely afternoon in The Garden of Gethsemane, a holy spot just outside the Old City walls, or go a bit further afield to Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park, where you can choose to hike, drive and picnic depending on the ages and activity-level appropriate for your group.
4. Tour Mini Israel. A truly different attraction, Mini Israel contains almost 400 meticulously crafted replicas of Israel's most prominent historical, religious, archeological and modern sites, all laid out amongst small bonsai trees and thousands of miniature figurines. The entirely walkable park offers a 3D movie of Israel’s sites and landscapes (plus a new aerial edition), a restaurant and cafeteria, and a multimedia jamboree for the younger kids.
5. Explore City Of David. This historic city is an entertaining and educational site in its own right, where exciting archeological discoveries are being made every day. The site of King David’s illustrious palace grounds and Solomon’s Temple is presented in a brief 3D movie, and the highly recommended walking tours are well priced at only 60 shekels (approximately $15) per person. Recommended for young explorers aged 10 and up.
On September 17, 2012Dan Heching answered the question:Jerusalem offers a mixture of history, religion and gorgeous views like no other city in the world. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ tips for the five best things to see and do in Jerusalem:
1. Wander in the Old City. Just as Jerusalem makes Israel unique, the Old City is the heart of what makes this city so special. Divided into four quarters — Muslim, Armenian, Christian and Jewish — this bustling walled city is the birthplace of so many religious movements and historical traditions, it’s almost impossible to keep track. Notable sites are the Wailing Wall (or ‘Kotel’), the spiritual center for Jews; the Temple Mount with its emblematic Dome of the Rock, which is a Muslim holy site; and the Via Dolorosa.
2. Swim in the Dead Sea. Jerusalem is in a prime location not far from the Dead Sea. The lowest point in the world, this body of hyper-saline saltwater is a bizarre and breathtaking natural experience worth the 50-minute drive from Jerusalem (accessible by bus as well). As you float on the water, you’ll see the sweeping Jordanian mountains to one side and the desert on the other. The Dead Sea is famous for its mineral riches and therefore has several fantastic spas in the area, like the one at Ein Gedi.
3. Tour Yad Vashem. The world-renowned Holocaust remembrance museum is filled with excellent multimedia and high-tech displays, and is also in a class by itself architecturally: the space becomes increasingly claustrophobic as the war years rage on, soon opening up to a glorious view of Jerusalem and the surrounding Judean Hills. The tours are well run, but this can also be a museum to experience solo.
4. Follow Hezekiah’s Tunnel. For a truly archeological experience, explore the network of tunnels under the City of David, which once supplied water to the denizens above. The tour through the Biblical tunnels is an exciting one and meant especially for the more able-bodied. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet!
5. Mount of Olives. For the quintessential view overlooking the Jerusalem skyline, head up to this holy site which is held sacred in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. Notably, Jesus famously spoke on the Mount of Olives and the famous 3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery lies here.