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Things to do in Jerusalem

Things to do in  Jerusalem

Welcome to Jerusalem

The spiritual capital of roughly two-thirds of the world’s population, as well the capital city of the State of Israel, Jerusalem draws 3.5 million visitors every year to sites sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, such as the golden Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Tomb of King David, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Hall of the Last Supper. Get lost searching for these attractions in the walled portion of Jerusalem known as the Old City—or get a guide to help navigate the labyrinth of medieval alleyways connecting the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian quarters, each with its own set of sacred sites, residential districts, and bazaars. Although most of Jerusalem’s visitors seek the sacred and spiritual within the bounds of the Old City, most of Jerusalem’s residents live in the New City, which has the amenities to serve them. Visit the Machane Yehuda Market (“The Shuk”) to see the spices, teas, sweets, and foods that maintain Israel’s status as the land of milk and honey, or complete the museum circuit of the Rockefeller Museum, Yad Vasham Holocaust Remembrance Museum, and the Bible Lands Museum. Thanks to the small size of Israel and the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem’s central location, day-trip options abound to Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Masada, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the West Bank, Petra in Jordan, and more.

Top 15 attractions in Jerusalem

Old City of Jerusalem

The ancient winding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City house some of the world’s most sacred religious sites for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, including the Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Via Dolorosa, Dome of the Rock, and the Western Wall. Plus, each of the district’s four quarters has a unique character well worth experiencing.More

Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

An open-air synagogue where worshippers recite prayers, Israel’s historic Western Wall (Wailing Wall) is where travelers come to kiss pale gold stones the color of the Negev desert and to stuff paper prayers between the stones. The beating heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, this is a must-see sacred site in the Jewish Quarter.More

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, home to the lowest point in the world at 1,269 feet (383 meters) below sea level, also ranks as one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. This hyper-salinity that is so unique to the Dead Sea attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience the unusual buoyancy, as well as access the nutrient-rich mud on its banks.More

Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa)

The Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) is an ancient path in Jerusalem’s Old City, where it’s believed Jesus carried the cross to his crucifixion. Also known in Catholicism as the Stations of the Cross, it’s a pilgrimage that’s been followed going back to the fourth century. The route has changed over the years, and today there are 14 stations along the path, each marked with a plaque detailing what took place at that location.More

Kidron Valley

Set on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem, the scenic Kidron Valley is an ancient burial ground renown for its religious significance and natural beauty. The valley divides the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives and is prominently featured in both the Old and New Testaments, making it an important stop on many religious pilgrimages.More


An ancient city in the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Bethlehem is home to many significant religious sites, including the Church of The Nativity in Manger Square, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus.More

Jerusalem Jewish Quarter

Home to the Western Wall, Judaism’s most sacred site, as well as synagogues, religious schools, and a Byzantine-era stretch of the ancient Cardo thoroughfare, the Jerusalem Jewish Quarter is one of the Old City’s traditional four quarters. Rabbis, scholars, and ritually clad Orthodox Jewish believers still stroll its ancient streets.More

Garden of Gethsemane

According to the Christian faith, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his arrest. Today, the Church of All Nations guards this sacred site at the foot of the Mount of Olives, where Franciscan friars stroll past gnarled olive trees alongside pilgrims from around the world.More


The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Masada, an ancient fortress built by King Herod the Great, dates back to 37 BC. It’s location on a cliff overlooking the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea is a spectacular spot from which to watch the sunrise.More

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City sits on what is thought to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Christianity’s holiest site, the church stands at the end of the Via Dolorosa—the route Jesus is believed to have taken on the way to his crucifixion.More

Christian Quarter

The walled Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four major quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Christian Quarter. The city’s Christian Quarter contains around 40 religious sites holy to Christianity, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at its heart. The church is venerated as the site where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected and remains a place of pilgrimage for Christians from all over the world. For many it is regarded as the religion’s holiest site.Pilgrims often follow the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion, stopping at shrines and small sites along the way. Many churches, monasteries, schools, and museums are dotted throughout. You’ll also find residences, souvenir shops, cafes, and other pieces of daily life from those presently residing in the area. There is also an iconic, colorful market patched between the stone walls and narrow streets.More

Church of the Nativity (Basilica of the Nativity)

The Church of the Nativity encompasses a grotto where, according to Christain scripture, Jesus was born. Situated in Manger Square in Bethlehem, on the West Bank of the Palestinian territories, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed church is one of Christianity’s holiest places.More


Jericho is an ancient biblical town, with early settlements traced back 10,000 years, possibly making it the earliest site of human civilization. Located in the occupied Palestinian Territories, and reached by traveling through the Judean Desert, Jericho is filled with archaeological ruins, monasteries, mosques, and other religious and historical sights.More

Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)

According to the Christian faith, the night before his crucifixion Jesus prayed in anguish on a rock in the Garden of Gethsemane. Today, the Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony enshrines the sacred stone. Completed in 1924, the basilica stands on the remains of two older churches, with Crusader ruins still visible as you enter.More


During Byzantine Jerusalem a sunken north-south thoroughfare was built across the city, from what is now the Damascus Gate southward toward the Zion Gate. The general term for such a main street in Ancient Roman cities was cardo maximus, and today, the street is simply called the Cardo.Today the Cardo begins just south of David St. and is only half its original width — it was once as wide as a six-lane highway — and passes into the modern-day Jewish Quarter. A walk along the Cardo will reveal a strip of high-end shops selling souvenirs, Judaica, jewelry and artwork. A southern portion of the Cardo has been restored with colonnaded walkways, much like it had during the sixth century.More
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Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Jerusalem

How to Spend 3 Days in Jerusalem

Top activities in Jerusalem

Masada and the Dead Sea Day Trip from Jerusalem
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Day tour to Petra from Jerusalem

Day tour to Petra from Jerusalem

2-Day Petra Tour from Jerusalem

2-Day Petra Tour from Jerusalem

Holy Jerusalem Private Tour

Holy Jerusalem Private Tour

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All about Jerusalem

When to visit

Spring in Jerusalem is unbeatable: it’s warm, dry, and fragrant with blooms, plus it's low-season so you won’t run into huge crowds. Fall is equally lovely, with slightly cooler temperatures perfect for sightseeing. But no matter when you time your visit, be sure to check the calendar of Jewish holidays when many local businesses—and some attractions—close.

Israeli New Shekel (₪)
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IDT (UTC +2)
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People Also Ask

Why is Jerusalem important?

Jerusalem is Israel’s declared capital and has many places held sacred in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Sites include the gold-coated Dome of the Rock—holy to the Muslim and Jewish religions; the Western Wall—cherished in the Jewish faith; and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, hallowed by Christians.

How many days do you need to see Jerusalem?

Many travelers cover Old Jerusalem in a day, taking in sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Dome of the Rock, Western Wall and Jewish, Muslim, and Christian quarters. Add a day or so to delve further, exploring the excavated City of David, markets, and Yad Veshem Holocaust Museum.

Is it safe to go to Jerusalem?

Yes. Jerusalem is generally safe—the terrorism risk is pretty low—but it’s worth taking some precautions. Be ready for security measures and armed soldiers in the city and for security screening in certain locations. While street crime is rare, it’s wise to keep valuables like passports and wallets stowed away.

What is there to do in Jerusalem at night?

Jerusalem thrums with activity at night. Join locals at buzzing Mahane Yehuda market: a food and nightlife hotspot with narrow alleyways crammed with outdoor tables, bars, and clubs. Alternatively, take a sunset stroll through the Old City’s gold-hued lanes or watch a spectacular sound-and-light show at the ancient Tower of David.

What should you not miss when visiting Israel?

Top your sightseeing with Old Jerusalem’s historical treasures, including its old quarters, Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, and Holy Sepulchre Church. Don’t miss a swim in the Dead Sea, a sunrise Masada trip and—to chart the story of Christianity—the biblical sites of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Galilee.

What is the best month to visit Jerusalem?

May is probably best for visiting Jerusalem. You’ll avoid the peak crowds and intense summer heat, and likely enjoy warm, dry weather with daytime average temps of around 70°F (21°C). You’ll also miss the busy Passover holiday, usually in April. Another option is October, the last sunny hurrah before winter.


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