Ben-Yehuda Street is the heart of Jerusalem, and that means more than geography. It’s also the beating heart of center-city life in the capital. Shopping fun starts at the top of the street, where Ben-Yehuda intersects with King George Street, and you’ll find a great selection of Judaica, jewelry, T-Shirts and other gifts. At its mid-section, Ben-Yehuda turns into a pedestrian mall with sidewalk cafes and an assortment of buskers from around the world offering their music, from Offenbach to Carlebach and everything in between. It’s also the venue for some of the capital’s favorite annual events like the Jerusalem March in the fall and an Independence Eve bandstand in the spring.
Your stroll down the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall is a good chance to meet Israelis from all walks of life, especially on Saturday night as stores and cafes re-open after the Sabbath ends and it becomes especially popular with the teenage and young adult crowd.
Zion Square, at the bottom of the street where it segues into the city’s main thoroughfare, Jaffa Road, is also where Ben-Yehuda intersects Solomon Street and the neighborhood of Nahalat Shiva. One of the first neighborhoods to be built outside the walled Old City in the 19th century, Nahalat Shiva has been restored as a cluster of charming streets and lanes lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, where more good times await.