When planning your trip to Jerusalem it is important to know when the local holidays and festivals will occur. Jewish holidays are based on the lunar calendar so although they are always in the same season, they are not always in the same month.
Jerusalem also has an extensive festival schedule throughout the year with special hotel and restaurant offers available during festivals.
Fun In Jerusalem Festival & Holiday TIPS
MARCH – JUNE
Jerusalem Marathon – local Jerusalem streets close early in the morning and stay closed till 2pm. Marathon begins in Gan Sacher and non runners are invited out into the streets to cheer on the marathon runners.
Israel Festival – art, dance, music and theater across the city.
Jerusalem Design Week – meet local designers and artists as many of the museums turn into showcases of their design art. Hansen House is the main attraction.
Old City Light Festival – the most beautiful festival of the year. Walk through the alleyways of the Old City and see light exhibits, live shows and thousands of people.
Jerusalem Opera Festival – one of the newest festivals in Jerusalem. Main events take place in the Sultan’s Pool Amphitheater outside the walls of the Old City.
Jerusalem Film Festival – based at the Jerusalem Cinemateque and some outdoor venues this festival features movies for kids and adults – Israeli and International.
International Puppet Festival – puppet shows are not only for kids. Run by the Train Theater this festival has shows across the city.
Arts & Crafts Festival in Sultan’s Pool – meet local artists and International artists as they sell their wares. The festival also includes the most incredible concerts highlighting Israeli talent in the ancient Sultan’s Pool Ampitheater.
Wine Festival at the Israel Museum – taste some of Israel’s best wines and this super popular outdoor evening at the Israel Museum. Not a kids event but a favorite among locals and tourists.
Open House Jerusalem – a chance to walk into some beautiful houses/apartments and special building tours.
Hamshushalayim – weekends in December. Special hotel and food offers as well as shows and performances on Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Purim (March) – a holiday when the children dress up in costume and deliver food packages to their friends. The city has a special festive atmosphere during Purim week.
Passover (Pesach) – don’t expect to find any bread for 7 days in Jerusalem but there is still plenty of yummy food.
Rosh Hashana – Jewish New Year which lasts two days & all attractions are closed.
Yom Kippur – Fast Day when all the shops and attractions are closed & there is not transportation in the city. Driving in the streets is illegal and the roads are open to people and kids on bikes.
Sukkot – a festival where locals eat outside in special “sukkoth” huts lasts for 7 days.
Hanukkah – festival of lights for 8 days. Walk around the city and you will see candles in all the doorways at night. There are special concerts, night tours and shows during this time.