Fascinating Things to do in Jerusalem with Kids

Jerusalem is not just a place for religious tourism. It is a vibrant city rich in history and diverse in food, religion, and culture. The city contains some of the oldest and holiest sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, yet it is also filled with modern and trendy shops and restaurants.

Jerusalem with kids, super impsoed over a view of the Old City

As Israel’s cultural and official capital, Jerusalem attracts millions of visitors every year and is also one of the most kid-friendly places to visit. Children are welcome everywhere, and there are many kid-friendly options for restaurants, museums, and excursions.

Best Time to Visit Jerusalem With Kids

In Jerusalem, the summers are warm and arid, and the winters are mild. Weatherwise, the most pleasant time to visit Jerusalem is spring (April and May) and autumn (October and November). During this time, there are also fewer crowds and lower prices for accommodations.

In summer, the average daily high temperature is 29°C (85°F), with an average low of 19°C (66°F). In winter, the temperature can go as low as 6°C (43°F).

As Israel is a Jewish state, expect busy travel times around major Jewish holidays like Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

If you are not planning to visit Israel for religious reasons, consider planning your visit outside of the busiest times of the year and enjoy the best weather that occurs during the spring and fall.

Travelling around Jerusalem is generally safe. Most of the incidences of terrorism in the country occur in the West Bank and Gaza. Jerusalem has a massive security presence in the city to keep tourists as safe as possible.

Be aware that in Jerusalem, and other Israeli cities, almost everything (transportation, shops, and restaurants) shuts down for the Sabbath (the Jewish day of rest) from Friday 3:00 PM to Saturday 9:00 PM.

You can see our complete guide to all the best times to visit Israel and religious occasions to be aware of here

How to Travel to Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the capital of Israel; however, there is no airport directly serving the city. Instead, travellers to Israel fly in and out of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv (TLV).

Israel is a relatively small country, and Ben Gurion airport is only about 52 kilometres (30 miles) from Jerusalem. From Tel Aviv, you can travel to Jerusalem in around one hour.

There are direct flights from the US via American Airlines, Delta ,and United. And there are also direct flights from many major European cities on airlines, including RyanAir, Whizz, EasyJet, and Virgin.

From Ben Gurion airport, you have a few options for getting to Jerusalem.

  • Your hotel may have arranged private transportation. Taxis are plentiful and are also available (though more expensive) during the Sabbath (which is from Friday 3:00 PM to Saturday 9:00 PM),
  • A coach bus runs from Ben Gurion to Jerusalem once an hour, and the cost is about 16 shekel per person. The bus does not run on the Sabbath.
  • A new rapid train has been operating since 2019 that goes from the airport to Jerusalem’s Yitzhak Navon station. It takes just under 30 minutes, and the cost is about 17 shekel per person. The train does not operate on the Sabbath.

Israel no longer stamps passports when entering the country but instead stamps a slip of paper. This is because people who travel to Israel and get stamps in their passports are not allowed to visit certain Arab countries that have diplomatic problems with Israel. Keep this slip with you as some hotels and car rental agencies may ask for it.

Note that if you are from a country that requires a visa to travel to Israel, then the matter of an Israeli stamp is irrelevant.

Check out this post for more details and overland travel to and from Jordan.

Jerusalem - Wailing Wall

How to get around Jerusalem with Kids

Travelling around Jerusalem with kids is fairly easy. While a guided tour is always a convenient and hassle-free way to visit the tourist sights in Jerusalem, the city has a wonderful public transport system, and it is easy to hop on a bus, tram or train. Just be aware that public transport does not operate during the Sabbath.

Public Transport

Many of the attractions in Jerusalem are easily accessible by public transportation, and the buses and trams are a great option. To use public transport, you will need to buy a Rav Kav transit card in advance and load it with money. There are refill machines throughout the city.

Taxi

Taxis are another popular option, and there are plenty around. Note that tipping isn’t expected, but it’s common to round up the fare. Taxis do run during the Sabbath, but fares will be higher.

Car

For families who will be doing lots of day trips from Jerusalem, a rental car may be a good option. However, stick to the public transport system if you will only be touring Jerusalem.

If you decide to rent a car, check that there is parking where you will be staying as it is difficult to find parking in some places in central Jerusalem or where parking may be very expensive.

Try discovercars.com for competitive quotes to compare rental car providers in Israel.

7 Best Things to Do in Jerusalem With Kids

Jerusalem offers loads of great things to see and do with kids. As Jerusalem was built on a series of hills, using a stroller may be tricky, and a baby carrier may be a better option in some areas. Especially in the Old City, where the cobblestone alleys are bumpy, narrow ,and may have stairs.

1. Explore the Old City

The Old City is a one-kilometre square neighbourhood that is divided into four quarters and contains some of the holiest sites for each sector: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian.

It also has narrow cobblestone alleyways filled with shops and restaurants that are popular with both locals and tourists.

Jerusalem - City of David

There is so much history here that we recommend booking a guided tour to have it all explained. There is a free walking tour by Sandeman’s New Europe, which lasts about two hours and will take you around all the important highlights.

The tour is free, but tips are highly appreciated. For more information and for bookings, visit their website here. They also have paid tours that are worth checking out.

To enter most places in the Old City, you should also note that women must be dressed to Muslim and Jewish standards of modesty, so be careful about your clothing choices. Always have a shawl or scarf ready.

You can find all our tips for how to dress in Israel here.

Here are some of the highlights of the Old City for your itinerary:

Tower of David

Eight gates lead into the Old City, seven of which are in use today. Near the Jaffa Gate is the Tower of David.

The Tower of David (also known as David’s Citadel) rests on the ruins of fortifications made by the Israelite King David. It is one of the best places to visit in Jerusalem with kids because there are kid-friendly workshops, story times, game stations, and fun activities throughout the citadel for children of all ages.

Kids will also enjoy exploring the courtyard, where they can find important archaeological ruins, some dating back almost 3,000 years.

Jerusalem - Tower of David

Inside the Tower of David is a museum that depicts 4,000 years of Jerusalem’s history, and at night, there is also a spectacular outdoor light and sound show. The show lasts 30-45 minutes, and the history of Jerusalem is projected on the ancient walls.

For more information and to buy tickets, you can visit the Tower of David site here.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher – Catholic Jerusalem

There are many churches in the Old City, but the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the most important. This is where the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus reportedly took place. It’s free to enter, and many people come from all over to see the beautiful church and tour the stations of the cross.

The Western Wall and Kotel Tunnels

The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, is the last existing wall of an ancient Jerusalem temple. People of all religions come here to pray and write down their prayers which they then stick in the cracks of the walls. The wall is open to everyone all day long throughout the year, but there are separate sections for men and women, and visitors are asked to dress conservatively.

You can get underneath the Western Wall to see the excavated Kotel Tunnels. Inside the Kotel Tunnels, you’ll walk through ancient subterranean spaces with large stone arches, water pits, and an ancient water aqueduct that ends at the Struthion Pool. The tour of the Tunnels includes innovative virtual models.

For more information on the Western Walla and Kotel Tunnels and for tour bookings, you can visit the Western Wall Heritage Foundation site here.

Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine built on Temple Mount and is famous for its iconic golden dome, which can be seen from all over Jerusalem.

It dates back to the first century and is considered a holy site for both Jewish people and Muslims. Today, visitors can explore Temple Mount by wandering around the expansive plaza surrounding The Dome of the Rock, but only Muslims are permitted inside the shrine.

Jerusalem - Temple Mount

It is only open at very specific times during the day between Monday to Thursday: In winter, these hours are 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. In summer, the hours are 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM.

2. Explore the City of David

The City of David (not to be confused with the Tower of David in the Old City) is an archaeological site located just down the hill from the Dung Gate.

It dates back over 6,000 years and is believed to have been the main settlement of Jerusalem during the Bronze and Iron ages. Today you can tour the archaeological park to learn about the history of the area, visit ancient relics, and wade through ancient water tunnels that used to supply the city.

Jerusalem - City of David

This tour is not recommended for children under 5 years and babies can only be in front carriers (no back carriers or strollers).

3. Wander the Machane Yehuda Market

Machane Yehuda Market is Jerusalem’s most popular shuk which is an open-air market, although there are parts which are covered. It is a very popular market for both locals and tourists.

By day it’s a bustling market as you meander through stalls of fresh fruit and produce, spices, meat, fresh loaves of bread, nuts, candy, pastries, meats, and so much more. There are restaurants and cafes to rest your feet, and people watch.

We highly recommend visiting the market both during the day and at night to witness the transformation of Machane Yehuda from a day market to a nighttime hotspot.

Jerusalem - Yehuda Market

Once the vendors close their stalls at night, a completely different scene emerges with a vibrant bar and restaurant scene.

The shuk closes at 3:00 PM on Fridays and is closed all day Saturday. Consider taking a guided tour to show you hidden gems and even booking a cooking class.

For more information and to book tours, you can visit the Machane Yehuda Market site here.

4. Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is one of the top museums in the world and Israel’s largest cultural institution. Not to be missed is its exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the popular Youth Wing. The Israel Museum is one of the best things to do in Jerusalem with kids.

The historic Dead Sea Scrolls are 2500-year-old handwritten scrolls found in caves in Qumran near the Dead Sea and were found remarkably well preserved due to their storage in clay pots. Some are merely damaged fragments, while others are pristine and show entire Hebrew text chapters that look just like today’s style. The Youth Wing has lots of hands-on activities and exhibitions for children.

The Israel Museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Note that Tuesday’s hours are only 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and Friday hours are from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The museum is even open on the Sabbath (Saturday).

You can visit the museum website here for updated opening hours, events and activities schedule, and booking guided tours.

5. First Station

In the heart of Jerusalem, you will find the First Station, a historical complex that was once an Ottoman railway station dating back to the late 19th century. It was renovated in the last couple of years and is now a lively centre of culture, entertainment, shopping and a happening restaurant scene.

The First Station is a great place to soak in the local vibe and culture and a lovely and fun place to visit in Jerusalem with kids.

The station is open every day, though many restaurants close early on Friday (some reopen on Saturday). For more information and a schedule of events, visit the First Station website here.

6. Ein Yael Museum

The Ein Yael Museum is a living museum and a wonderful cultural experience for families as there are many hands-on activities for kids.  Some of the staff dress up in ancient Jerusalem clothing, and there are orchards and farm animals.

You can wander through the remains of a Roman villa and ancient public baths and take part in the many workshops and events for all of the family, like pottery and basket making, mosaic workshop, baking pita bread outdoors, and perfume making. You can tour a winepress and learn about the ancient production of olive oil.

They are only open in summer, on holidays, and on some Saturdays. Their official website is only in Hebrew, but you can also visit this website here for more information.

7. Yad Vashem

Families with older children might consider visiting Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial centre. Opened in 2005, the centre is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Jews who were murdered, honouring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors and those who selflessly aided Jews in need.

Jerusalem - Yad Vashem

The exhibits use a range of multimedia, including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. The museum also tells the story of how the state of Israel was created.

Entrance to Yad Vashem is free, but you have to schedule your visit in advance via their website here. They also have guided tours available.

How Long Will You Need in Jerusalem?

We recommend at least two days in Jerusalem with kids so that you do not feel rushed and so the kids don’t get exhausted from all the walking and sightseeing. If you have more time, then you can do day trips to the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, wine country and more!

One Day in Jerusalem suggested Itinerary

If you only have one day:

  • In the morning, go to the Old City and visit a holy site in each of the four quarters. Enter via the Jaffa Gate and head to the Tower of David museum (immediately to the right of Jaffa Gate).
  • In the Christian quarter, walk along the Via Dolorosa and see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • In the Muslim quarter, stroll along the Arab shuk and see Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock.
  • In the Jewish quarter see the Western Wall. Have lunch at one of the many cafes in the Old City.
  • After lunch, stroll along the Machane Yehuda market. Buy souvenirs and sample different snacks

Two Days in Jerusalem suggested Itinerary

If you have two days, you can add in a visit to the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea scrolls and either the Ein Yael Museum for younger children or the Yad Vashem museum with older children.

Have dinner at First Station and soak in the local atmosphere.

Three Days and More in Jerusalem

If you have three days or more, you can visit the rest of the sights on our list and even book day trips to other fascinating parts of Israel – learn more about fabulous day trips you could add to an itinerary here or see some of these choices from Get Your Guide, our recommended tour booking platform:

Best Places to Stay in Jerusalem With Kids

Two popular neighbourhoods in Jerusalem to stay in are the Old City and the German Colony.

The Old City and Jaffa Street are the heart of the city and the most convenient place to stay, especially if you are on a short visit. That area is close to the Old City, Ben Yehuda Street, Mahne Yehuda, and many restaurants.

For someplace calmer and quieter, staying in the German Colony neighbourhood is also an option. For families, there are plenty of playgrounds and restaurants nearby.

Here are some popular hotel options:

If self-catering is something you are after, there are also plenty of vacation apartments on Airbnb and vrbo, which would be a great option for families staying in Jerusalem.

More on Visiting Israel With Kids

We have a great selection of articles to help you plan your dream trip to Israel with your family.

We’d recommend starting with our guide, “Planning a Family Trip to Israel“ then for diving into more detail, things to do, and how to plan your days, we also recommend you check out:

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