Streets of Israel: Ben Yehuda, Jerusalem

Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in central Jerusalem is one of those Israel destinations that won’t blow you away with its beauty or antiquity, but is one of those tourist attractions where you’ll probably end up window shopping and coffee guzzling. And where you’ll start wondering if anybody speaks Hebrew in the neighborhood…

Ben Yehuda street is named after Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who helped revive the Hebrew language in the late 19th century. And despite its grand origins, the street is widely known simply as one of Jerusalem’s finest shopping areas, what with its very central location alongside King George Street and Jaffa Road, and not too far a walk from perhaps the ultimate Jerusalem destination.

Despite the deluge of anglos – with both Jews and tourists from around the globe enjoying the local shops and cafes – Ben Yehuda street is also popular with the locals, who refer to the street as the Midrachov.

Shopping in Ben Yehuda street usually revolves around the regular tourist tack, such as tourist t-shirts and arty jewelry, but you can also find nice little niche shops, if you look carefully (I found a tiny toy car collector shop that kept my 3 year old son occupied for a few minutes).

You can also expect to be entertained by a variety of buskers down the length of the street, ranging from black folk singers to young Korean Christian choirs to street performers drumming on pipes and whatever else they can get their hands on!

Perhaps not the most authentic Israeli experience, but Ben Yehuda is definitely worth a look. And just around the corner you have some other great attractions to catch, including the Jerusalem Light Rail (which stops nearby in King George and Yafo Streets), which will take you on to a number of great Jerusalem sites (here are the Top TEN you have to see). And if you get tired of the noisy tourists and are in the need of some munchies, head round the corner to Foccacia, one of our favorite Jerusalem restaurants and a fairly peaceful retreat.

The video below will give you a taster of life on Ben Yehuda street…

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