July 6th 2013
Open air shopping is often cited as an extraordinary experience for visitors to Israel. Its charm is enhanced by Israel’s relatively mild weather during most of the year and by the exotic array of items available for purchase at local markets. Whether you’re looking for distinctive homemade crafts, special sweets for Shabbat, gifts for friends and loved ones or nutritious, colorful produce grown in the Land of Israel, you can’t beat the experience of an outdoor market, or “shuk” in Hebrew.
The mother of all Israeli outdoor markets is undoubtedly Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market, which locals refer to simply as “the shuk.” Here you’ll find spices, produce in eye-popping variety, clothing, souvenirs, specialty food items, toys, dried fruit, nuts, kosher cheeses, wines and much more. Don’t miss the world famous, slightly undercooked, gooey chocolate rugelach from Marzipan. And sample one of dozens of flavors of the dense confection known as halvah from the Halvah King. At Halvah King, the employees wear golden crowns and pass out samples of the sweet, sesame-based Middle Eastern treat all day long. Mahane Yehuda Market runs between Yafo and Agrippas Streets.
Haifa’s Talpiot Market has been attracting shoppers since it opened in the 1940s on the slopes of the northern Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood. The marketplace here sprawls across multiple terraced alleys, plus an underground area, in the basement of a large building on Sirkin Street.
Tel Aviv’s main marketplace is the open-air Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel), located in southern Tel Aviv, close to the Neveh Zedek cultural quarter. Here you’ll find mounds of colorful, seasonal and locally grown produce, fish, meat and much more. Whatever you purchase is guaranteed to be garden-fresh and flavorful. Just wandering around the aisles of the Carmel Market is a whole Middle Eastern market experience. The Carmel Market is located primarily along Carmel Street.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, on nearby Nachalat Binyamin Street, handcrafted art, jewelry, wooden toys, glassware and other designs are sold by independent artists and vendors, as the browsing masses are regaled by street performers.
During the warmer months, the Betzalel Arts Fair is open every Friday, right in the center of Jerusalem. Area artists display their distinctive crafts, ceramics, textiles, wood and glassware. Vendor tables are set up on and around Betzalel Street, in the midst of cafes, government offices and storefronts.
Akko’s Old City Market offers quieter charms, with Crusader-era thoroughfares overlooking the northern Mediterranean coast populated by vendors offering kitchenware, Arab-style clothing, Turkish coffee blends and
The Tel Aviv Port Complex (Mitcham HaNamal) is a seaside promenade located right on the Mediterranean. Stroll along the wide, sun bleached wooden decks among boutique stores and restaurants. The boardwalk is a popular place for bicycle riders. A great organic market, an array of bars with patio seating, clothing stores and waves from the Mediterranean splashing over the railing all contribute to the leisure quality of the Tel Aviv Port. Kosher consumers should be mindful that there are a few restaurants that serve decidedly non-kosher fare here.