Downtown Jerusalem generally means the area in and around Jaffa Road, Ben Yehuda Street Pedestrian Mall. For visitors staying at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel on King George Street, the nearby Prima Kings or the Mamilla Hotel--you're in easy walking distance of downtown Jerusalem. First pick for things to do in or around downtown has to be a stop at the lively and colorful Machane Yehuda market. A walk through the market, which covers about a 4 block area between Jaffa Road and Agrippas Street, will give you a real flavor of Jerusalem life and a close-up look at Jerusalemites in all their variety. Find a spot at one of the many little cafes and sit and take it all in. Don't leave without picking up some local fruit that's in season. Cross Agrippas street and walk through one of the arches that are at the eastern end of the street. You'll find you've stepped into a quiet and historic Jerusalem neighborhood. Nachlaot or Nachlat Moshe (depending on which arch you've stepped through) is a traffic-free neighborhood founded in the early 20th century by immigrant families--many from Turkey, Greece and the Isle of Rhodes, Syria and Iraq. Wander around, head down to Beersheva Street where you'll find the beautiful Ades Synagogue on the corner. That's our number 2 pick. Not too far away is the Gush Katif Museum, dedicated to the area that was part of Israel until 2005. Another worthwhile museum that makes it to our list is the Wolfson Museum at the Hechal Shlomo on King George Street, right next to the Great Synagogue. The Judaica objects and Jewish art on view here are fascinating and varied. A few blocks away on Hillel Street is another museum well worth visiting for its restored full size synagogue as well as unique Italian judaica--that's the Nahon Museum at the Italian Synagogue. An intimate museum that will give you a window into Italian Jewish culture. By now you'll be looking for a place to stop for a break--try the funky Tmol Shilshom Bookstore and Cafe in Nachlat Shiva, just off Zion Square. Great soups in the winter, iced drinks and salads in the summer and never anyone hurrying you out the door. If you're looking for something a little more formal, cross Jaffa Road and walk up Rabbi Kook Street till you see the brown sign on the left for the Anna Ticho House--a cafe and art gallery that's another lovely spot to relax as well as enjoy the art.
Agripas Street and Jaffa Street
Synagogue built in Nachlaot in 1901 by Jews fleeing Aleppo, Syria... read more
King George St.
In Heichal Shlomo, King George St
27 Hillel St
Museum dedicated to Italian jewry... read more
9 Harav Kook Street