Exploring Jerusalem on a budget is completely doable since there is so much to do for free.
When I was a college student in New York, then a grad student in Israel, and then underemployed but living in Jerusalem, I learned how to take enjoy what cities had to offer without spending much.
1. Free Events
Jerusalem often hosts free events. There is pretty much always something going on.
I usually found out by word of mouth but there are actually sites that share these things.
Jerusalem Municipality – This is the city of Jerusalem’s event page. What I like about it is that you can put in the dates you are looking for and mark the free button. This will give you everything free within your date range.
iTravelJerusalem – iTravelJerusalem is the cities tourist website. By clicking on the link you’ll automatically see all the free events listed. However, you can’t narrow it by date.
First Station – The First Station is pretty much constantly hosting some free event. While there site doesn’t give an option to only see free events, it’s easy enough to figure it out.
2. Walk Everywhere + Free Shuttle
Walking everywhere is a great way to really experience the city and you get to save money at the same time.
There is also a free shuttle from the First Station to the Old city.
3. Street Food
Jerusalem has great street food and it’s pretty reasonably priced.
A good thing to know is that you can often order a “half order” which is shawarma or falafel in half a pita which is about half the price.
You can find street food pretty much anywhere in town but especially in Mahane Yehuda.
You can also grab your favorite fruit from Mahane Yehuda, and let me just say fruit tastes so much better here.
4. Jerusalem City Pass
You can get a 3 or 7 day Jerusalem City Pass, which you can buy ahead and pick up at the airport.
It gives you unlimited public transportation with in the city and free access or discounts to attractions.
I will admit that it isn’t exactly cheap, but considering all the benefits it’s a good value for the money and if you use it to it’s fullest, you can see a real savings.
5. Free Attractions
There is loads to do in Jerusalem for free.
You can easily spend a whole day or two walking around just exploring the city let alone visiting all the free museums.
Tip Based Tour of The Old City
This tour is more than two hours long and you really gain a good basic understanding of all four quarters of the Old City.
While the tour is technically free, and is actually called a free tour, in reality it is a tip based tour.
The the guides earn their money exclusively from tips and on top of that the guides have to pay the company about three to five dollars for each tour participant.
I know this because a friend of mine used to be one of the guides.
However, because the guides work on tips, the tour is very good and worth every penny you decide to tip.