Shopping in the Holy City

People usually associate Jerusalem with its spectacular religious and archeological sites such as the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Old City, and King David’s City.  Less emphasized is the city’s amazing shopping.    Jerusalem offers a shopping experience unmatched in the Middle East.  You can find phenomenal deals in flea markets, outdoor shopping areas, huge indoor malls, and quaint neighborhoods.  You’re hotel receptionist can help you with directions as most Jerusalem hotels are familiar with the various places to go.  

If you’re searching for a real taste of Israel, make sure to visit the open air markets.  Machaneh Yehuda, located just minutes from most West Jerusalem hotels, is a blur of middle-eastern tantalizing smells and sounds.  You’ll hear street vendors yelling out produce prices and customers bargaining with shop owners for even lower, unimaginable prices.  You’ll see tons of fresh fish and meat, mouth-watering pastries, and vegetable and falafel stands lining the twisting alleyway.  

The Arab market, known as the Arab Shuk, is another amazing outdoor market.  Located in the Old City, it’s about a 20 minute walk from most Jerusalem hotels.  As soon as you enter the Shuk, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back into time.   Colorful scarves and linens, ceramic tiles and pottery, hanging lamb shanks, and fresh delicacies all vie for your attention.  Be prepared to bargain with street vendors, as it’s an accepted tradition.  

The heart and soul of Jerusalem’s shopping area is BenYehuda Street.  It buzzes with activity at all times, day or night.  Restaurants, shops, street musicians, and arts and craft vendors line the cobblestone streets.  Even a few Jerusalem hotels are located in its epicenter.    

If you’re craving a modern, Western-style mall experience, don’t miss the Jerusalem Mall, or Malcha Mall.  With over 500,000 sq. feet, it’s the biggest indoor mall in the Middle East.  You can spend the better part of the day visiting its nearly 200 shops and restaurants and eight movie theaters.  Located in Southwest Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Mall is only about 20 minutes from most Jerusalem hotels.   

For more great shopping, visit the Cardo, a renovated 6th century thoroughfare;  Emek Refai’m, the hip hangout in the German Colony; and King David Street, where you can find exquisite Judaica and priceless art and jewelry.

Once you’ve finished your shopping, make sure to go back to your Jerusalem hotel and just relax!