Figuring out where to stay in Jerusalem is not only important to get the most out of the ancient city, but also an important logistical choice in the divided capital.
Every neighborhood has a different vibe (probably because some neighborhoods are administered by different governments). There is no place quite like Jerusalem, in terms of both the good and the bad. This guide can help you ensure that you make the most out of your trip.
Why You Should Visit Jerusalem in 2023
Jerusalem has been a site of mystery and awe for centuries. An important pilgrimage site for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, the city is one of the holiest in the world.
Every street in the historic quarters contains thousands of years of history, and visiting the city is an experience like no other.
For people belonging to the three Abrahamic religions, Jerusalem is an important site. Jews from all around the world come to pray at the Western Wall, the only remnant of the once-great Holy Temple.
The skyline of the city is dominated by the Golden Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest mosques in Islam (and an important site in Judaism as well).
Christians believe that Jerusalem is the site of Jesus’s death and resurrection, so the city is packed with important Christian sites as well.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is believed to stand on the site of Jesus’s death, and pilgrims can also follow the Via Dolorosa, which is supposed to retrace his last steps. Jerusalem is full of churches holy to different denominations, including ancient Armenian churches.
The religious atmosphere can’t fail to impress even secular visitors, but there is plenty to see even if you are not in Jerusalem with the purpose of making a pilgrimage.
Walk through the historic center and you can encounter a patchwork of different ethnicities, such as Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and Russians, all with their own quarter. The Old City is packed with beautiful buildings, some of which are over 1,000 years old.
Jerusalem also has a modern side to it — don’t let all the historical buildings fool you. The city is packed with modern museums, such as the Israel Museum and the Yad Vashem Museum.
Those looking for some fun can head to the pedestrian areas and malls that are packed with cafes and people looking for a fun night out.
Jerusalem is such an incredible city that each neighborhood feels like stepping into a different moment in time. That is why it is so important to pick the right neighborhood to stay in because every area of the city feels like a different experience.
The Best Places to Stay in Jerusalem
Our top 5 picks for the best areas to stay in Jerusalem include:
- Old City: Best area for history and religious pilgrimages
- City Center: Best area for shopping and convenience
- Musrara: Best area for art and to get away from the hustle and bustle
- German Colony: Best area for families and upscale travelers
- East Jerusalem: Best area for views and to experience Palestine
Where to Stay in Jerusalem: Best Areas & Hotels
For advice on navigating this complex yet rewarding city, look no further than this guide, which can help with the all-important question of where to rest your head.
1. Old City
Jerusalem’s Old City is the beating heart of the city, just like it has been for centuries. This is the neighborhood that contains Jerusalem’s most important sights, including important religious locations.
If you want to feel as if you are sleeping in another era, this is the area for you. The Old City is a small neighborhood packed with things to do.
All of Jerusalem’s holiest places, including the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Via Dolorosa, are located here. The streets are teeming with pilgrims from all over the world that come here to pay their respects.
The secular part of the Old City is divided into the Muslim Quarter, Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, and Armenian Quarter.
You can stroll through winding bazaars selling local artisanal goods in the Muslim Quarter, then go steps away to the Cardo, or main street of the Jewish Quarter, which feels like a slice of Ancient Rome, and finish the day by exploring the silent, ancient churches of the Armenian Quarter.
The Old City is the perfect location for history lovers and first-time visitors to Jerusalem. However, there are some downsides to staying in the city’s tourist core. The crowds can get overwhelming, especially around religious festivals.
There are also the problems associated with large crowds of tourists, such as noise, petty theft, and the potential for disorder. If you want a quieter vacation, you are better off staying elsewhere in the city and popping over just to visit the sights.
Things to Do
- Admire the spectacular tiles on the Dome of the Rock Mosque.
- Visit The Kotel, or Wailing Wall, and explore the whole complex, including the tunnels.
- Follow the pilgrims along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- Get lost shopping for souvenirs in the Old City’s Arab Souk.
Where to Eat
- Taste some of the best hummus in town at Lina.
- Try Armenian specialties in a former Crusader vault at the Armenian Tavern.
- Enjoy kosher dairy specialties or host an event at The Quarter Café.
Old City Budget Hotels
- Hashimi Hotel. Set in a building that is over 400 years old, this hotel welcomes guests with soothing rooms and an elegant garden and rooftop terrace for getting away from the city.
- Petrakis Inn. Guests at this simple hotel enjoy cool, air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms and a great location close to the Jaffa Gate.
Old City Mid-Range Hotels
- Saladin Boutique Hotel. This intimate, colorful hotel also has a restaurant accommodating all religious dietary restrictions, and the location on the Via Dolorosa can’t be beat.
- Gloria Hotel. This beautiful hotel is decorated fit for Crusader royalty, and the friendly multilingual staff add to the brilliance.
Old City Luxury Hotels
- New Imperial Hotel. Set in a gorgeous old church-owned building, this hotel has modern air-conditioned rooms and excellent views of the city.
- Old City Boutique Hotel. Behind the antique façade, this sleek new hotel has modern rooms with plenty of amenities, including air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs.
2. City Center
The Old City is where most of Jerusalem’s attractions are concentrated, but the real life of the city is focused around the more modern City Center. This is where you’ll find streets lined with shops, including famous international brands, trendy cafes, and restaurants.
The City Center contains some of the most important parts of modern Jerusalem. The pedestrian thoroughfare Ben Yehuda Street is lined with shops and restaurants, and is lively with walkers and street performers, especially on Saturday evenings.
Jerusalem’s elite tend to spend lots of time on King David Street, which is the city’s most expensive street.
If you want to get a little culture in after your wining, dining, and shopping, the City Center has some of the city’s most interesting museums, from the state-of-the-art Friends of Zion Museum to quirkier smaller museums such as the Museum of Italian Jewish Art.
At night, the neighborhood comes alive thanks to its many bars, jazz clubs, and other nightlife spots.
City Center is a bustling, modern neighborhood, but it can get a little crowded and overwhelming, including after dark. People in search of quieter nights of rest, especially families with young children, should probably stay elsewhere.
Things to Do
- People-watch in modern Zion Square.
- Window-shop along the elite King David Street or laid-back Ben Yehuda Street.
- Visit one of the specialist museums, such as the Hebrew Music Museum.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy traditional dishes sourced with local ingredients at Machneyuda.
- Try upscale, fun twists on traditional kosher food at Miss & Mr.
- Start your night at Chakra, which has delicious food and live music on the weekends.
City Center Budget Hotels
- White Moon Inn. Stay at this simple inn close to the center and enjoy comfortable rooms, great service, and views of the city for an affordable price.
- Urbanic Hotel. With sleek, modern rooms, a terrace for relaxing, and an easy walkable route to Jerusalem’s main attractions, this hotel is a great choice.
City Center Mid-Range Hotels
- Biazi Hotel. Feel right at home at this stylish guesthouse thanks to welcoming service, lounge areas for relaxing, and extremely comfortable rooms.
- Albi Hotel. Enjoy trendy designer rooms, access to a rooftop hot tub, and accommodating service when you choose this hotel.
City Center Luxury Hotels
- Bezalel Hotel. This stylish boutique hotel has rooms with private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs, some rooms with their own balconies, and a rooftop terrace perfect for relaxing.
- Mamilla Hotel. You’ll have a hard time leaving this hotel after dining at the rooftop lounge, plunging into the private pool, and getting pampered in the spa.
The quiet residential quarter of Musrara is an unexpected hidden gem in Jerusalem. Nestled between the Old City and the City Center, this neighborhood is close to all of Jerusalem’s major attractions.
However, since it gets fewer tourists than the other two, it is much quieter and a more soothing place to stay. However, just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean that Musrara is boring.
The neighborhood long had a reputation as a rebellious bohemian quarter which was home to the Israeli Black Panthers in the 1970s and is now becoming one of the centers of the Jerusalem art scene.
There are plenty of small galleries showing work by local artists on every corner. Musrara is no longer an up-and-coming neighborhood but a safe residential neighborhood with plenty to do.
It’s a great place to stay if you want to live like a local, eat in local restaurants, and see a side of Jerusalem that most tourists don’t get to see. However, Musrara is not the best place to stay if you want a busy city experience, especially not nightlife.
Other parts of West Jerusalem, especially the City Center, are a better choice for people that want to make the most of the bars and clubs of the city.
Things to Do
- Admire local artworks at one of the many galleries, such as the Musrara School of Art.
- Visit one of the strangest archeological sites in Jerusalem, the Finger of Og.
- Catch an evening show by students at the School for Oriental Music.
Where to Eat
- Peruse local produce and treats at the Mahane Yehuda Market.
- Enjoy an Italian meal in Lavan (and catch an independent film in the adjoining cinema).
- Try North African Jewish specialties at Hamotzi.
Musrara Budget Hotels
- Like A Local – Boutique Suites. Musrara is full of homestays, but few others have such light, airy décor and gorgeous rooftop views.
- The Odette Hotel Jerusalem. This clean, modern hotel has toiletries, wifi, and air-conditioned rooms, plus the option to rent a bike for exploring.
Musrara Mid-Range Hotels
- Sergei Palace. Guests at this classic hotel enjoy spacious rooms, an interior garden hidden from the noise of the city, and easy access to all of Jerusalem’s sights.
- Notre Dame Center. This expansive hotel located in a historic building offers several restaurants, newly renovated rooms, and a rooftop with great views.
Musrara Luxury Hotels
- Villa Brown Jerusalem. Feel like the guest of an old noble at this restored 19th century villa, which boasts elegant rooms and a rooftop hot tub and wellness center.
- Herbert Samuel Jerusalem. This glittering hotel has an indoor pool, wellness center with massages, awe-inspiring dining room, and everything you could possibly need on vacation.
4. German Colony
The German Colony, named after the German Templar Society that founded the neighborhood in the 19th century, is one of Jerusalem’s prettiest neighborhoods.
It is newer than much of the rest of the city and features buildings in famous modern art styles, from Art Nouveau to Bauhaus. It is also much quieter than other parts of the city, making it perfect for guests with small children.
The German Colony may not have as much history as other parts of town, but this being Jerusalem, it still has a lot of things to do. You can visit some of the local museums, which are smaller than the ones in the center but still worth your time.
From the German Colony, it’s also easy to head to the outskirts of the city where some of the more famous museums, such as Yad Vashem, are located.
The main street in the German Colony is Emek Refaim, which is packed with hip coffee shops, boutiques, and other businesses, making it the perfect place to linger and mingle among the locals.
Plus, the neighborhood is home to a huge expat population, so you’ll be sure to find English speakers in every local business.
You can also join the locals and walk around Liberty Park, a favorite among resident Jerusalem families thanks to its leafy expanses and fun activities, including a children’s theater.
The German Colony is a very hip part of town, so expect the prices to reflect that accordingly.
Although it is about 30 minutes away from the major attractions, that’s still a bit of a hike (especially with a family in tow). If you want to stay close to all the action, especially if you’re only in town for a short period, you may want to stay closer to the center.
Things to Do
- Blow off steam in the green expanses of Liberty Bell Park.
- Go shopping along Emek Refaim and people-watch in one of the many cafes.
- Make the trip out to the Israel Museum to see the treasures, including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Where to Eat
- Check out the tasty seafood at local favorite Satya.
- Try some Israeli riffs on sushi and other Asian fusion dishes at Taiku.
- Taste the eclectic menu at restaurant-café Caffit on Emek Refaim.
German Colony Budget Hotels
- Colony Suites – Hananya St. This sweet aparthotel offers guests full apartments with kitchenettes and private bathrooms and a warm welcome from the hosts.
- LEGATIA in the German Colony. Feel right at home in the apartments at this hotel, which have seating areas, kitchenettes, and TVs pre-equipped with streaming services.
German Colony Mid-Range Hotels
- The Templer Inn. Feel like you’re stepping back in time by staying at this cozy stone inn with authentic interior décor, but with modern amenities such as walk-in showers.
- Sweet Inn-Avishai. This apartment rental includes two bedrooms, a spacious seating area, and a full kitchen, perfect for families.
German Colony Luxury Hotels
- Villa Brown Moshava. Stay in one of the German Colony’s most beautiful buildings and enjoy perks such as free bike rentals and morning beverages in the garden.
- Orient by Isrotel Exclusive. This amazing hotel has a pool with amazing views of the city, wellness center, and gorgeous designer rooms with a bath and a shower. Let the pampering commence.
5. East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem is unique among the neighborhoods listed here in that it technically is under control of the Palestinian Authority.
Staying in this neighborhood allows you to experience what life is like in Palestine, helping you understand the diversity of the people living in Jerusalem. Places such as the Museum on the Seam help visitors understand what life is like in a divided city.
East Jerusalem is nestled on the hills of Mount of Olives, where Jesus is believed to have been captured before his death and the home of one of the oldest cemeteries in the world.
The view from the Mount of Olives is also one of the best views of the city of Jerusalem, and the climb to the top is difficult but rewarding. East Jerusalem also contains its fair share of important religious and historic sites.
Most of its important religious sites are Christian, such as the Church of All Nations, built in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Tomb of the Virgin Mary.
You can spend all day just going from church to church, marveling at the way different denominations of the same religion worship. The City of David, an archeological site dating back to biblical times, is also in East Jerusalem (although under Israeli control).
If you choose to stay in East Jerusalem, you will need to prepare yourself for additional logistical hurdles. There are checkpoints you have to pass depending on whether the place you are staying at is somewhere part of Israeli or Palestinian territory.
Visiting other parts of the city may get complicated if you have to pass through these checkpoints all the time, so keep that in mind when booking accommodation.
Things to Do
- Learn about the daily life of Palestinians and Israelis alike at the Museum on the Seam, a political art museum.
- Visit some of the holiest churches in Christianity, such as the Church of All Nations.
- Take a guided tour of the City of David, an ongoing archeological dig and the oldest part of town.
- Climb to the top of the Mount of Olives for a great view of the city.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy Palestinian favorites in a casual atmosphere at Sarwa Street Kitchen.
- Try authentic Middle Eastern dishes at Azzahra Restaurant.
- Relax in an authentic atmosphere at Al Mihbash and enjoy the varied menu.
East Jerusalem Budget Hotels
- St. Thomas Home. This homey little hotel has comfy rooms, a restaurant that opens per guest requests, and staff that go above and beyond to help guests.
- St. George’s Cathedral Pilgrim Guesthouse. There’s no better hotel to soak up the holy atmosphere of the city, and rooms are surprisingly comfortable with air-conditioning and TVs.
East Jerusalem Mid-Range Hotels
- Azzahra Hotel. This hotel is set in a beautiful 19th century building and has sleek designer rooms, plus the hotel restaurant is one of the best in the area.
- Jerusalem Hotel. Feel like you stepped back in time at this authentic mansion converted into a hotel, which kept the interior design details but also added modern amenities such as wifi and air conditioning.
East Jerusalem Luxury Hotels
- All Seasons Boutique Hotel – Jerusalem. This lovely hotel provides intimate service, excellent modern rooms, and a shared café and garden perfect for relaxing.
- The American Colony Hotel. Get away from it all at this luxe hotel, which boasts a pool, luxurious grounds in between hotel buildings, and elevated touches such as designer sheets.
Over to You!
|🏰 Most Historic||Old City|
|🛍️ Best for Shopping||City Center|
|🎭 Best for Art||Musrara|
|👪 Best for Families||German Colony|
|📷 Best for Sightseeing||East Jerusalem|
Jerusalem is packed with things to see and do. No matter where you stay in Jerusalem, it will be a trip to remember. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience all that this storied city has to offer. Happy travels!