Jerusalem

Jerusalem offers distinctive gifts from modern jewelry to traditional crafts to religious icons. The top shopping spots are the Downtown area, the Old City, and the Mamilla outdoor mall. The Hutzot Hayotzer artists' collective just outside the Old City walls is another popular and particularly beautiful spot, where during the August Arts and Crafts Festival you can visit the studios of resident artists and enjoy open-air music performances at night.

Prices are generally fixed in the Center City and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, although you can sometimes negotiate for significant discounts on expensive art and jewelry. However, bargaining is common practice in the Old City's colorful Arab bazaar, or souk (pronounced "shook" in Hebrew—rhymes with "book"); it's fascinating but can be a trap for the unwary.

Young fashion designers, often graduates of Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, have opened a stream of shops and boutiques. They’re scattered throughout the city. Several galleries representing Israeli artists are close to the hotels on King David Street.

Stores generally open by 8:30 am or 9 am, and some close between 1 pm and 4 pm. A few still close on Tuesday afternoon, a traditional but less and less observed half day. Jewish-owned stores (that is, all of West Jerusalem and the Old City's Jewish Quarter) close on Friday afternoon by 2 pm or 3 pm, depending on the season and the kind of store (food and souvenir shops tend to stay open later), and reopen on Sunday morning. Some stores geared to the tourist trade, particularly Downtown, reopen on Saturday night after the Jewish Sabbath ends, especially in summer. Arab-owned stores in the Old City and East Jerusalem are busiest on Saturday and quietest on Sunday, when many (but not all) Christian storekeepers close for the day.

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  • 1. Bilal Abu Khalaf

    Christian Quarter | Textiles/Sewing

    The family of Bilal Abu Khalaf has been trading in fine fabrics for Jerusalem's elite for three generations. The shop is an Aladdin's cave of...Read More

  • 2. Charlotte

    Center City | Crafts

    This 80-year-old shop carries colorful ceramics, weavings, painted silks, and jewelry. ...Read More

  • 3. Designers in the City

    Center City | Other Specialty Store

    More than 20 Israeli jewelry designers, leather workers, clothing makers, and ceramics artists have studios here, where you can watch them work...Read More

  • 4. Sabon Shel Paam

    German Colony | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Sabon—Hebrew for soap—sells its aromatic herb-infused soaps, creams, and lotions all around the world. The ritual hand washing in the shop is...Read More

  • 5. Sandrouni

    Christian Quarter | Ceramics/Glassware

    This shop just inside the New Gate stocks intricately hand-painted ceramic tiles in any shape or size, from small decorative tiles to elaborate...Read More

  • 6. Souk

    Muslim Quarter | Market

    Jerusalem's main market is the souk in the Old City, spread over a warren of intersecting streets. This is where much of Arab Jerusalem shops...Read More

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