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How to See Jerusalem like a Local

After you’ve visited the Western Wall, the Holocaust Museum, the Dome of the Rock, the Via Dolorosa, and all the other must-see tourist sites, check out these spots and see Jerusalem like a local.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Stop by St. Mark’s Monastery, located on the northern side of Mount Zion. Among the chapel’s treasures is an icon of the Virgin Mary, which, legend has it, was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist.
  • Step 2: Head to the burgeoning wine country located in the Judean Hills, about a 45-minute drive from Jerusalem, for a tour and tastings. The hills have more than 25 wineries, some of which are considered the best boutique wineries in the country.
  • Step 3: Tour the Soreq Cave. Discovered in 1968 and believed to be at least 8 million years old, it features complex clusters of limestone stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is in the Avshalom Nature Reserve, a 40-minute drive from Jerusalem.
  • FACT: Jerusalem has 1,578 public parks and gardens, even though it’s just 48 square miles.
  • TIP: Try the popular street food sabich -- pita bread stuffed with a hard-boiled egg, fried eggplant, hummus; tahini, pickled mango sauce, and salad.
  • Step 4: Browse the open-air market Mahane Yehuda, known as the shuk, where the locals go for the freshest fruits, vegetables, eggs, breads, meats, fish, sweets, nuts, and spices. Don’t miss the restaurants, clothing boutiques, and specialty food shops tucked away in the alleys off the shuk.
  • TIP: Women should carry a shawl to cover bare shoulders when entering holy places.
  • Step 5: Realize that many businesses are closed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday for Shabbat -- the Jewish Sabbath. Buses run only in Arab neighborhoods on Saturday.
  • Step 6: Visit the Ades synagogue. Tucked away on a pedestrian-only street in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nahlaot, it features beautiful inlaid mother-of-pearl furnishings and liturgical singing.
  • Step 7: If you like art and architecture check out Musrara. Near the Old City, it's filled with up-and-coming art galleries and beautiful homes. Then take a stroll through the upscale neighborhood Rehavia and enjoy a treat from one of their many bakeries, chocolate shops, and cafes.
  • Step 8: Dress modestly in Jerusalem if you want to fit in -- and to ensure you won’t be turned away from religious sites. Long pants or skirts are required. Men should have a kippah ready for places that require one.

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