Here’s a list of something exciting to do in Jerusalem each night of the week. This doesn’t have to be taken literally – choose your favorites or mix and match, depending on how long you’re here. Post below with any other ideas of your own!
Saturday A classic and possibly overdone routine for Birthright groups: there’s a reason Ben Yehuda Street is always upbeat. Take a walk down and feel the love from the street performers with their unusual talents. Some do caricatures, some sing, play the harp, dance, swallow fire – there’s really no telling what to expect. There are delicious treats to pick up along the way, especially if frozen yogurt or crepes are your guilty pleasures. Along the train tracks you can stop by and grab a drink at some of the bars off of Yaffo street. Mike’s place is good to hang with the American crowd, Kings is good for dancing, and further down the street there are places to smoke hookah with a more laid back atmosphere. But don’t limit yourself to that area either. Explore some of the side streets. My friend and I decided to get creative and found another place hidden behind them with funky, Mediterranean music and a more Israeli vibe.
Sunday Emek Refaim is a place where on some days you can find a street fair with live music, art and theater. At night, take your taste buds for a tour of the area. Known for its great restaurants, you can eat your way through the neighborhood. Whether it’s Oriental, pizza, bagels or ice cream, there is an option for every craving. It’s like a little city in itself; a great way to have a more low-key night and ease into the week. Also, not far from the center of the city, you can take a starlit walk to the old city to burn off some of those calories when you’re done.
Monday The Mahane Yehuda market is a hub of chaos during the day. But every Monday night when the dried apricots are safely tucked away and all seems quiet, the street is resurrected. With only the lingering smell of the fish stands, the shuk turns into a late night party. A very hipster crowd packs the aisle and a DJ drops dance tunes. When I was there, it was a 90’s theme (score!) and people from all over the world moved to all the favorite childhood pop songs. A bar opens up in one of the stalls, with a rugelach and baked goods stand on the opposite side of the street. Take some to snack on for the way home, or pack some for the morning. The whole experience changes the perspective of the shuk and certainly makes for an entertaining evening.
Tuesday For a night with slightly more sophistication, check out Mamilla. The shopping area is beautiful with its giant stone buildings and twinkling lights. The Mamilla Hotel Bar will make you feel like a guest on a classy business trip. The hotel looks like a castle, and the bar is lit with candlelight, and features a giant projector and international beats. When I was there, the manager claimed to be featuring a DJ from Europe who cost 10,000 euro a night! Apparently a company brought him in for the night. Although it’s a little on the pricier side, the atmosphere is good for an intimate group of friends. Sip a glass of wine while watching the game or get up and dance. It’s a cool and classy way to take a trip to another country without even leaving Jerusalem!
Wednesday To make your inner child smile, take a trip to the Talpiot mall to check out Jerusalem Bowling. Really, any bowling alley brings back memories of elementary school birthday parties – and who didn’t love those? This location has an arcade and pool area attached so the entertainment can go on for hours. Make it a true youngster night and grab some candy while you throw the ball against the bumpers. Playing some skeeball or racecar games after is a sure way to send pure joy throughout your night. You can win tickets and even get those fake teeth you always wanted from the prize table. Drinks are also available if you feel the need to bump the night up from its G rating.
To stock up on the goods for your apartment, to bring home some souvenirs from your trip or just to appease your old soul, check out the retro fair every Thursday night on Agrippas street in the center of the city. The fair goes until 10 p.m. and features piles of antiques, vintage, collectors and second hand items. You can even bring your own items to be looked at by an international antiques expert for free. It’s a different way to spend the evening so can take you out of your usual routine and can kick off the weekend in a fun way. Plus, being in the center of the city allows you to explore any other option when you’re done browsing!
About the Author: Alex interns at JewishPress.com. She's a graduate of Binghamton University in New York.
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