Things to do in Jerusalem
September 9, 2011 3:51 AM   Subscribe

What's a guy to do in Jerusalem?

I just moved to Jerusalem for three months with a few friends. Any suggestions for cheap things to do? Forget the touristy stuff, if anyone could give some suggestions of places or things to go to you would be the light of my life!

posted by grimace636 to Travel & Transportation around Jerusalem, Israel (5 answers total)
I'll give you some generic recommendations - a bit touristy, but I'll need to know more about your interests to give better recommendations.

Definite must dos:

Learn the bus system, you'll be relying on it heavily.
Machane Yehuda (the Jewish shuk) including the Iraqi part of the shuk (there are some good/cheap restaurants there and you can buy anything you need cheaply). Buy rugelach at Marzipan bakery.
The Israel Museum (NIS 48 for admission, but there are student discounts.)
Check out the view of the city from the Hebrew University campus at sunset. Hebrew U cafeterias are good / cheap / kosher.
Go to Abu Ghosh for hummus and pita
Day trip to Tel Aviv - hit the beach
posted by dudeman at 7:53 AM on September 9, 2011

I don't know what your situation in terms of ethnicity, religion, and citizenship, which might matter a bit, but I'd consider exploring East Jerusalem and the West Bank a little bit. It's worth remembering that most people tend to be pretty friendly, if you use your brain--don't wear things that visibly identify you as Jewish if you're going to Arab areas, and vice versa. And because Jerusalem is a religious city, always better to be cautious and dress modestly.

East Jerusalem:
-the Museum on the Seam is pretty cool
-get drinks in the garden at the American Colony Hotel. Classy, old style East Jerusalem thing to do
-do some shopping in East Jerusalem and the Muslim Quarter, it's cheaper than in the more touristy parts of the western half of the city

West Bank (Arab): you can get on a bus and just go to Bethlehem or Ramallah. These cities are pretty close to Jerusalem and easy to reach; the buses and shared taxis leave from right near the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. It's super-simple and people are friendly--the security isn't onerous if you're clearly Western. Bethlehem struck me as a bit of a tourist trap, but Ramallah is vibrant and exciting. Check out Rukab's ice cream, which is pretty famous.

West Bank (Jewish): There's a small Jewish community in Hebron, which is one of the oldest towns in the world. The people can be a little intense, so this isn't for the faint of heart, but they'll gladly explain their viewpoint. it's interesting, at the least.

Random West Jerusalem thing to do, coming up in a few weeks:

There's also a lot of politically oriented tours you can take. They're ideological and necessarily have a viewpoint. I'd say not to do just one, or at least not just one side. Examples are Breaking the Silence, Ir Amim, and Beit Orot. The City of David, in the valley beneath the Old City, is cool too--but very controversial. Same goes for the tunnels underneath the Western Wall.

There's great hiking near Jerusalem, but I'd be very careful going hiking in greater Jerusalem without an armed accompaniment. It can get dicey at times. If you're going to hike with friends or alone, better check out the Sea to Sea hike up in northern Israel.
posted by j1950 at 8:14 AM on September 9, 2011

My favorite things to do when I was there:

walk on the wall around the city
float in the dead sea
hike up mount masada before dawn and watch the sunrise

I also enjoyed seeing the dome of the rock. When I was there, you could walk into the priest's area carved underneath. It was an energy intense experience.

And, seeing the wailing wall was very interesting.
posted by kashtana at 12:59 PM on September 9, 2011

I lovred the Jerusalem cinematheque! Great movies and an awesome cafe. You can get a discount pass for frequent flyers.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:26 PM on September 9, 2011

Make that "loved."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:26 PM on September 9, 2011

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