Jerusalem: Top activities and Tours

By Petal Mashraki | Published on 3/21/2021
6 min
Jerusalem is packed with iconic religious landmarks and incredible historic structures, but it is also a city where you can have a lot of fun. Exciting activities and thrilling experiences are waiting for you in the magical city of Jerusalem. Join one of the Jerusalem tours, or take part in exhilarating Jerusalem activities. There are family-friendly attractions, destinations for culture vultures, and one-of-a-kind historic landmarks. To help you plan your trip to Jerusalem, here are a few fascinating things to see, and fun things to do in Israel’s capital.

Tour Historical Sites and Discover Adventure in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is full of hidden gems where you can explore the city’s history through archaeological sites and ancient structures. Join a Jerusalem Old City tour to ensure you miss nothing and discover the stories that Jerusalem’s historical sites have to tell.

Western Wall, a place of prayer and pilgrimage sacred to the Jewish people

The Wailing Wall. Photo credit: © Shutterstock

  • Tower of David - The historic fortress is a symbol of Jerusalem and holds exhibits of excavated artifacts. At night, a spectacular sound and light show is projected on the ancient walls.
  • Western Wall - This must-see iconic Jerusalem landmark is the most sacred Jewish site in the world. The wall once formed part of the Holy Temple complex on Temple Mount.
  • Western Wall Tunnels - The Western Wall is a section of a much longer wall that continues underground. Visitors can tour the length of this incredible 2,000-year-old wall.
  • Siebenberg House - Go beneath ground level in the Old City to see the remains of an ancient home that may date back 3,000 years. This is a hidden gem and a unique tourist attraction.
  • Zedekiah’s Cave - The breathtaking cave of Zedekiah has to be seen to be believed. It is a jaw-dropping, enormous cave beneath the Old City. 
  • Mount of Olives - The mount that faces the Old City from across the Kidron Valley is one of Jerusalem’s top attractions. Explore the many biblical locations, spectacular churches, and the 3,000-year-old cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
  • Montefiore Windmill - See this picturesque windmill, built in 1857, opposite the Old City. Discover the fascinating history behind the restored windmill in the Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood.
  • Mt. Zion - This ancient hill is home to important religious landmarks, including the Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper
  • Davidson Center - This impressive archaeological site lies next to the Old City walls. Here you can see for yourself, excavated artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods. 


Cultural Activities

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world, and Jerusalem in particular is packed with cultural venues. The city is home to people from diverse religions and cultures. In Jerusalem, you can enjoy cultural performances, taste exotic foreign cuisine, and see sublime art. Keep an open mind as you discover the variety of traditions and lifestyles all in one city.

Shrine of the Book in The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Shrine of the Book in The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Shutterstock 

Jerusalem Museums - Jerusalem is home to museums covering a wide range of subjects. Whether you’re interested in art, history, science, or nature, there is a Jerusalem museum for you. Among the top Jerusalem museums are:

  • The Israel Museum is Israel’s largest and most important museum.
  • The Rockefeller Museum displays excavated artifacts uncovered in Jerusalem during the British Mandate.
  • Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust museum and memorial.
  • The Museum of Islamic Art has awe-inspiring art. 
  • The Bible Lands Museum is an archaeological museum that highlights the people and cultures of the Bible. 

Jerusalem markets -  Each Jerusalem market is a theatre in itself. If you are fed up with museums and churches, make a beeline to: 

  • the Old City Market which hasn't changed much for the last 2000 years - the market stallholders probably stood here making sales pitches in the very same way as today’s vendors. 
  • Mahane Yehuda Market - one of Jerusalem’s top attractions that sells a wide range of products but is best known for its food. Discover mouth-watering delicacies and traditional cuisine! To make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff, join a Mahane Yehuda Tasting Tour.
  • Mamilla, an upscale shopping avenue.                                                                                  

Jerusalem neighborhoods  -  Each Jerusalem neighborhood tells a story.  After your refuel at one of the market eateries, for a genuine cultural experience visit:

  • Mea Shearim - step back in time to discover this ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhood;
  • ChristianMuslimArmenian, and Jewish quarter of the Old City - explore the way of life in the very heart of Jerusalem;
  • Ein Kerem - get away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a peaceful Jerusalem suburb where the time has stood still. 

Pay attention to the colorful graffiti and murals brightening up Jerusalem’s streets when exploring such areas as Talpiot, Mahane Yehuda, The First Station, and the Artists' Colony.


Family Activities in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is packed with attractions for the whole family. There are Jerusalem activities for all ages, so whether you have toddlers or teens there is something for everyone. Family activities in Jerusalem include animal attractions, extreme experiences, thrilling rides, and educational museums. 

Children at Israel Aquarium. Photo credit: © Maria Morochnik
                                                          

  • Time Elevator - Take the kids on an adventure through time, with this multi-media experience that covers 3,000 years of Jerusalem history. 
  • Biblical Zoo - Here you’ll find regular zoo animals and a collection of animals mentioned in the Bible. Get to know the Biblical creatures as you enjoy the zoo’s lush gardens.
  • Bloomfield Science Museum - Science and technology are the stars of this top Jerusalem family attraction. There are hands-on experiments, exciting exhibits, and innovative displays.
  • Ramparts Walk in the Old City of Jerusalem -This rewarding experience takes place along the top of Jerusalem’s Old City walls. Look down on the ancient city below and see incredible views.
  • Siloam Tunnel -The underground water channel, also known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, was carved out of rock thousands of years ago. Thrill-seekers will love the adrenaline-packed experience of walking knee-deep in water through the tunnel.
  • Israel Aquarium -This is one of Jerusalem’s newest attractions and top family activity. The whole family will be excited by this unique aquarium that focuses on marine life in the waters surrounding Israel.  

Tours in Jerusalem and Surrounding Area

Jerusalem tours don’t end at the city limits; several tours combine Jerusalem attractions with excursions outside of the city. Discover the most important places in Jerusalem and also visit top destinations like Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and Masada. There is no limit to the things you can see and do in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. 

View of Jerusalem roofs and domes

Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Shutterstock 

  • Jerusalem Old and New Tour - See all the best attractions in Jerusalem’s Old City and take a short tour of the most important landmarks in the new city. You won’t miss a thing when you take this tour.
  • Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour - Cover the top Jerusalem sites plus the iconic Bethlehem Nativity Church, which was built around the Holy Grotto where Jesus was born.
  • Jerusalem and Dead Sea Tour - After touring Jerusalem, drive south to Kalia Beach on the shore of the Dead Sea. This must-see attraction is a bucket list destination and a natural wonder. 
  • Jerusalem Half-Day Tour - If you’re short of time, you can still see Jerusalem’s most important places. Tour the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, see the Western Wall, walk through the Muslim Quarter and get to know the Old City’s top attractions.
  • Bethlehem Half-Day Tour - Every Christian has Bethlehem on their travel bucket list, and with the half-day tour, you can visit Christ’s birthplace even if you have limited time. See Shepherds’ Field, Manger Square, and the magnificent Church of Nativity.
  • Masada and the Dead Sea Tour - Take a tour from Jerusalem to the top attractions in southern Israel-the Dead Sea and Masada. Discover the ancient remains of Herod’s mountaintop fortress at Masada, then enjoy floating in the Dead Sea.
  • In the footsteps of Jesus Tour - All Christians should take this once-in-a-lifetime tour of the places Jesus walked in Jerusalem. 
  • City of David Jerusalem Tour - If you’re looking for something slightly off-the-beaten-track in Jerusalem, explore underground Jerusalem. Tour the City of David and see ancient water channels carved thousands of years ago.

Top Activities and Tours in Jerusalem

See the top attractions in Jerusalem and the famous biblical landmarks, but leave time for interesting activities and exciting tours. There is so much to discover in Jerusalem that regular sightseeing is just not enough. You should also experience Jerusalem activities and take some Jerusalem tours to places in the surrounding areas. Plan your trip to include a little of everything and be prepared to be amazed. 

Spices at a street bazaar in the Old City of Jerusalem

Jerusalem bazaar. Photo credit: © Shutterstock