Eat, shop, chill: Fridays in Israel are not just another day

Jerusalem, Israel
Photo by Daniel Tzairi

Friday in Israel is the best day of the week. The weekend is off to a start and there’s plenty of time to explore. This suggested itinerary will leave you feeling like a local.

If you’re starting the day in Jerusalem, start your day early. It’s an amazing feeling to see the city quiet and peaceful. Plus, if you choose to start your day later, there might be pressure to get too many things done in too little time.

1Start with a good breakfast


Any restaurant serves the infamous Israeli dish Shakshuka, a delicious egg dish served in a hot pan with seared tomatoes and spices. The dish always comes with bread and Tahina for a nutritious, filling way to start the day so you’ll have the energy you’ll need for a day of adventure!

2Explore Mahane Yehuda Market

Mahane Yehuda Market

One of the most iconic places in Jerusalem. Every day the market is full of people but on Friday’s the market is especially crowded because people are shopping for their Shabbat feasts — don’t let that stop you. It’s phenomenal to see the true colors of Jerusalem come to life. In the shuk, you will fully experience the culture by smelling the baked goods and spices and getting a chance to taste the essence of the Israeli kitchen, which gathers flavors from all over the world. There are local pubs in the market as well, where you can sit and enjoy the scenery and vibe.

3Make time for lunch


Another great recommendation would be to stop at a Hummus restaurant for lunch — a delicious Israeli cuisine. It’ll provide the ultimate Middle Eastern experience. The Hummus is homemade on the spot with fresh pita bread and can come with all kinds of fun toppings. Another treat you’ll find is Halva and it’s something worthwhile to grab some before hitting the road.

4Chillax at a Tel Aviv beach

Jerusalem Beach in Tel Aviv, Israel

It’s well-known that the Israeli climate is quite warm, especially in the summer. Therefore, be sure to cool down while enjoying the Tel Aviv beaches. Families and soldiers that are off base for the weekend come to the beach to spend time with their family and friends. The most crowded time is probably from noon onward.

While you’re there, play the Israeli national beach sport called “Matkot” to feel like a true local. “Matkot” is kind of like ping pong, but without a table. Make sure to put sunscreen on too! The Israeli sun is quite strong and sunburns are not fun.

After this exciting but exhausting day, make sure to find yourself a good Shabbat dinner. There are many families around Israel who generously open their homes on Shabbat and would love to host you.

Daniel Tzairi
World traveler, DSLR & GoPro photographer, currently in Israel.