The one thing that takes up most of my “me” time after the kids go to bed is planning our adventures. Austin works SO hard while we’re on assignment- typically 9-12 hour workdays at work, plus another 2-3 hours of administrative work at home, that he does not care what we do on the weekends, just as long as I’ve planned it all out. When I’m starting to plan an outing to a new city, I pick the things that are “must-see” sights, things that my boys (ages 4 and 18 months) will enjoy, and things that we cannot do/see anywhere else in the world. With these things in mind, I plan our days to be just right- not too much in one day, but enough that we leave without regrets. In planning a good sight-seeing day, I group things together by geographical proximity. We did not have much time for pure kid-friendly fun, but my kids are used to visiting cultural/religious/historical sights and there’s typically dirt to dig in and interesting things to learn and explore. To further help with geographical planning, I found a neat, interactive map of Jerusalem.
Day 1: Mt. of Olives: This is a doable walking itinerary (with a stroller!), depending on the starting location. Everything in Jerusalem is very close together! We started from the very cheap and worn out Mt. of Olives hotel, right next to the Church of the Ascension
- Church of the Ascension and viewpoint on top of Mt. of Olives
- Garden of Gethsemane and Church of All Nations
- Old city- Pools of Bethesda
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre- we did not make it inside because it was unexpectedly closed, thus no separate blog post
- Garden Tomb
Day 2: City of David and the Dead Sea (only if going to the Dead Sea by rental car)
- City of David and Hezekiah’s tunnel
- Western Wall
- Cardo/Jewish Quarter of Old City
- Dead Sea – There are tons of tour options that go to the Dead Sea. If we had gone with one of those, most of them are full day excursions that also go to Masada and Ein Gedi.
Day 3: Bethlehem and Israel Museum
- Shepherd’s Fields
- Milk Grotto
- Church of the Nativity
- Israel Museum in Jerusalem- we never made it, but it supposedly has a good children’s wing and the Dead Sea Scrolls, among many other things!