Top Shopping Destinations in Jerusalem
Even if you didn’t make a trip to Israel in order to indulge in retail therapy, you won’t want to leave without buying a few souvenirs for family and friends. You probably also want to purchase some gifts for yourself, to keep the memories of the trip fresh in your mind for longer. While exploring Jerusalem’s various tourist attractions, keep your eye out for especially interesting shops selling local products you can’t get anywhere else.
The Muslim Quarter’s market begins near Jaffa Gate and continues all the way down to the top of the Western Wall Plaza. As you walk down the sloping passageways of the souk, you'll start to leave behind the classic souvenir stores and find the more authentic products. Muslim and Western style clothing, scarves and jewelry are all available. You can also purchase hookahs, backgammon sets, Armenian ceramics, tapestries and other ornamental objects. Enjoy local cuisine as you shop, including cheeses, pastries and fruit slushies.
Mahane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s primary open-air market. This shuk is heavy on food, but it also offers discounted clothing, Judaica, boutique designs and housewares. Take home some Israeli jewelry, linens, hats or tablecloths. Kipa Man is the place to buy yarmulkes and assorted Judaica. At the end of your shopping trip, put down your bags and grab a sumptuous meal in one of the home-style restaurants or landmark street food stands that line the market’s alleyways.
For a more contemporary, international and upscale shopping experience, head out to the Mamilla shopping center. Built to imitate the look and feel of the nearby Old City, Mamilla has branches of all the big Israeli chain stores. Buy clothes at stores like Fox and Renuar or pick up some books at Steimatsky’s. You can also find classic Western chains like Gap, Armani, North Face and The Children’s Place in Mamilla. The dairy cafes here serve typical fare overlooking the stunning views of the Old City walls and the newer neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
The pedestrian mall of Ben Yehuda St. offers every type of shop you can imagine. Stores geared to tourists focus on tee shirts, Dead Sea cosmetics, jewelry, Judaica and Israeli artwork. Local shops sell everything from clothes and shoes to handbags and backpacks. At the bottom of the hill, turn right into Nachalat Shiva St. for some interesting Judaica artists’ shops. Enjoy music played by various street performers and choose from a variety of sidewalk cafes and fast food joints when you’re ready to take a break.
If you prefer to do your shopping indoors, visit the Azrieli Jerusalem Mall, known colloquially as the Malha Mall. This sprawling contemporary facility features book stores, clothing and shoe shops, toy stores and electronics. The discount cosmetics chain, Beauty Care, is an excellent source of souvenirs. The mall is home to both dairy and meat restaurants, as well as a food court where each person in your group can order a quick meal of his or her choice, and everyone can eat together.
With all of the holy sites, antiquities, contemporary urban life, academia and green spaces that people enjoy so much in Jerusalem, it can be easy to forget to pick up some quality memorabilia and local exotica while you're here. But Jerusalem has much to offer lovers of shopping too – yet another diversion that makes the city such a powerful draw.