What It’s Like Visiting Jerusalem, Israel

by Rachel Jones

Jerusalem was my first place to explore in Israel and I’m glad of that. It’s much easier to navigate than huge Tel Aviv and has a smaller town vibe making it a place you can ease into Israel.

Visiting Jerusalem Israel

For me there wasn’t much to ease into. A guide asked what I thought of some of the more run down areas and I said they look great to me, after all I live in India where the idea of run down is a lot different unfortunately. I also have traveled in Jordan which has similar terrain and food. Seeing different cultures mingle is the norm in India where people are Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and more.

In Jerusalem I did expect mostly Orthodox Jews, and it is a more Orthodox city than Tel Aviv, but actually it was much more of a mix than I thought and most Orthodox Jews I saw were in the Old Town. People dressed how they pleased.

You might notice small things like the McDonalds (yes, I had one!) was kosher here meaning that the dairy and meat can’t be mixed (no cheeseburgers for you) and it is okay’ed by a Jewish Rabbi. I was told that in Tel Aviv this isn’t the case and you can have non-kosher restaurants, even the chain ones.

So as a whole, Jerusalem is a holy city and the vibe is a little more Orthodox, but really only in the Old Town do you need to think about how you dress. The nightlife here is booming and in the last 10 years bars have popped up all over. The people here LOVE to party and it seems like at all times an Isreali was putting a beer, shot, or glass of wine in my hand.

As for neighborhoods, we stayed in the Downtown Triangle, which was full of life with cafes, bars, and shops all around. It is just 10 minutes walking from the Mahane Yehuda Market. This market sells fruit and veg, bread, and snacks in the day but at night-time comes alive when the stalls pull down their metal gates (which are covered in graffiti) and the bars start blasting music. It’s the perfect place to bar hop and have dinner.