Jerusalem’s world-class museums include some of the finest in the country. In addition to their fascinating exhibits, most of them host lectures, workshops and special events throughout the year, many of which are English- and family-friendly. Some of the city’s foremost cultural institutions include:
The Israel Museum
The Israel Museum is the country’s largest cultural institution and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Among the highlights of the museum are the Shrine of the Book, which houses the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, and a large-scale model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period.
Yad Vashem is Israel’s official commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. Beyond its unforgettably moving exhibits such as the Children's Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, the museum also houses a research institute with archives, a library, an educational center, and the International School for Holocaust Studies.
The Museum of Islamic Art
Displaying a wealth of art objects and archaeological artifacts from different regions spanning from the 7th to the 19th centuries, the Museum of Islamic Art has earned a reputation as the home of one of the most significant collections of Islamic art in the world.
The Bible Lands Museum
The Bible Lands Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of the Ancient Near East from a biblical perspective. The core exhibition displays an extraordinary collection of ancient art and archaeology, which traces the roots of monotheism from the dawn of civilization to early Christianity.
Museum on the Seam
The Museum on the Seam is a contemporary art museum situated on the geographic line between East and West Jerusalem. The changing exhibitions focus on socio-political topics.
For a comprehensive list of Jerusalem’s museums, please refer to the website of the Municipality of Jerusalem. bHebrew
Cinemas in Israel typically screen movies in their original language with Hebrew subtitles, thus giving you the opportunity to watch movies in your mother tongue while practicing your Hebrew reading skills. The Jerusalem Cinematheque is one of the premier institutions for film in Israel. It screens classics, new releases, and foreign arthouse films, is home to the Israel Film Archive, and the Jerusalem Film Festival. Other cinemas in Jerusalem include Lev Smadar, Yes Planet, and Cinema City.
From classical music to Jazz, international and Israeli pop, and oriental music – Jerusalem’s music scene is enormously varied and offers live concerts for every taste.
The prestigious Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Israel Camerata are both based in Jerusalem. Israeli and international musicians of global acclaim regularly perform in venues throughout the city, such as the Jerusalem Music Centre and the Jerusalem Theatre.
Jazz, Pop and Rock
There are numerous concert halls and bars in Jerusalem where you can enjoy listening to live jazz, pop and rock by musicians from Israel and abroad. Some of the most established venues are the Yellow Submarine, Mazkeka, Nocturno, Mike’s Place, Besarabia, and Blaze Bar. For more live music venues, visit this website.
Oriental and Traditional Music
Jerusalem is home to the Jerusalem East and West Orchestra, which combines musical traditions from the West with Arabic musical patterns. A key venue for traditional Eastern and Jewish music is the Confederation House.
The Jerusalem Theatre is Israel’s largest culture venue and offers theater, dance and music performances. Most of the theater plays are performed in Hebrew. Located in a historical building of the 19th century, Jerusalem’s Khan Theater provides an atmospheric setting for the production of Israeli plays, as well as classical and modern European and American plays. Sometimes performances with English overtitles are offered.
There are also a number of theater groups in the city that perform plays and musicals in English, such as the Beit Hillel Theater Workshop at Hebrew University and Theater in the Rough.
To find out more about theater in Jerusalem, take a look at ITravelJerusalem. For information about English theater companies, visit this website.
Jerusalem also boasts some extraordinary, unique culture venues that one would not find anywhere else.
What was long an abandoned building from the 19th century in the center of Jerusalem has become a truly communal art space known as Ha’Miffal. The center serves as a workspace for local artists, offers free workshops to the general public, and hosts signature events like the colorful Chagnival celebration before Christmas and the Jerusalem Art Fair.
FeelBeit is one of the most progressive venues in the entire city, a community project bustling with creativity and energy, serving as a meeting space and a bridge for the city’s diverse populations. FeelBeit offers a range of events reflective of the city’s multiculturalism, from DJ sets and open-mic nights to artisan fairs and parlor meetings and discussions. Most of the events are free of charge.
Located in a former hospital built in the 19th century, Beit Hansen reopened to the public in 2013 and today serves as a renowned and innovative center for design, media, and technology with changing exhibitions.
The Abraham Hostel
Besides being one of Jerusalem’s trendiest hostels, the Abraham Hostel is also a meeting space for young internationals and locals. Many events, such as the weekly Jazz Open Mic Night, Ladies Night, and the Jerusalem Blues Dance Evening are free of charge.