40 green activities to check out in JerusalemSurrounded by dense pine forests, perched high in the Judean Hills, and graced by some of the cleanest air you'll ever breathe in an urban setting due to a longtime municipal policy of discouraging heavy industry, Jerusalem has always been one of Israel's greener cities.
Surrounded by dense pine forests, perched high in the Judean Hills, and graced by some of the cleanest air you'll ever breathe in an urban setting due to a longtime municipal policy of discouraging heavy industry, Jerusalem has always been one of Israel's greener cities. The advent of modern environmental consciousness, though, is a fairly recent phenomenon - one that Jerusalemites have been embracing with increasing verve. The eco-conscious tourist or resident in Jerusalem can today take advantage of a host of green options for dining, entertainment, volunteering and more. Read on and discover GoJerusalem.com's 40 recommendations for greening your experience in the city.
1. Check out a wide variety of native flora (pictured) at the Hebrew University Botanical Gardens, complete with explanatory signage.
2. Catch an edifying bit of filmmaking at the annual EcoCinema festival at the Cinematheque.
3. The newly renovated Bird Observatory is a treat for bird-watchers, and Jerusalem is a major hub for migratory birds moving from Africa to Europe and back.
4. One of Jerusalem's so-called garden neighborhoods (it's easy to see why), Rechavia makes for a great stroll - and the neighborhood also happens to be where ecological activist and architect Gil Peled (pictured) is retro-fitting old buildings to modern green standards.
5. Enjoy a takeout lunch from a downtown restaurant or a homemade picnic lunch on the grass at downtown's scenic Independence Park.
6. The Botanical Gardens feature, bar none, the most impressive collection of bonsai in the Middle East.
7. Explore the many spots outlined on the Middle East's first Green Map.
8. Gain a new appreciation for the landscapes and still-lifes (pictured) of painter and naturalist par excellence Anna Ticho.
9. Check out one of the city's many community gardens (including the one at the avant-garde Barbur gallery).
10. Attend a seminar on home gardening techniques at the Botanical Gardens.
11. See the ancient slopes of Givat HaTanakh densely carpeted with gorgeous wildflowers during the spring and fall.
12. Check out the new green space currently under development, repurposing Jerusalem's old, disused Mandatory-era train tracks (pictured).
13. Skip the gym membership fees and hit the city's relatively new exercise route, which includes nifty solar-powered gadgets.
15. Volunteer to help preserve Ein Kerem's ancient hillside terraces.
16. Kids love the many nature-centric activities for young green thumbs and budding naturalists at the Botanical Gardens.
17. Walk, jog or join a game of soccer at Gan Sacher (pictured), one of the city's largest expanses of green space.
19. Help make Jerusalem less car-oriented with a Critical Mass Bike Ride, which takes place on a monthly basis.
20. Take a hike in the thickly forested hills surrounding the city.
21. Check out the under-development Beit Zayit reservoir (pictured).
22. Watch the sun come up over the Judean Desert in far-flung northern Jerusalem neighborhood Tzameret HaBirah.
23. Participate in an educational or community service-oriented program with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.
24. Get to know the hills of Jerusalem even more intimately with a landscape painting class at Jerusalem Studio School.
25. Take a biking tour of the city (pictured) on a Saturday, when the roads are comparatively free of cars.
26. Protest the environmental impact of the high speed train construction.
27. Stroll through Gazelle Valley, where Jerusalemites said "no" to big business and "yes" to preserving endangered local wildlife.
28. Shop local at the annual Emek Refaim Farmers Market.
29. Enjoy potions brewed up from organic extracts (some of which you may have never heard of) at the shuk's folk remedy master (pictured).
30. Check out Nachlaot's Eco Yeshiva classes and field experiences.
31. When the roses are in bloom, wander the paths of the Wohl Rose Garden, in the city's government quarter in Givat Ram.
32. Have lunch at the vegetarian paradise that is the Village Green downtown. Strict vegetarians also love dinner at all-veggie Te'enim (pictured).
33. The annual Earth Day celebrations have been growing in popularity and scope in recent years.
34. Rub shoulders with other green-conscious Jerusalemites at the annual AlternaTeva expo.
35. Enjoy a healthy living consultation (book in advance) at the Macrobiotic Center.
37. Check out the future of electric transportation with Better Place's infrastructure development work in Jerusalem and with the new light rail system (pictured).
38. Go to an international sustainable city planning exhibit or a leadership discussion at the Bloomfield Science Museum.
39. Trek through ancient water sources at City of David's Hezekiah Tunnel.
40. Join Jerusalem's various religious denominations in yearly prayers for much-needed rain.
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