Ramallah is worth a visit!
I have spent a lot of time in Ramallah over the past two years and I thought it would be nice to compile a little list of things to do in Ramallah. It’s a small city but it is worth a visit in my opinion. It would be a fun weekend trip for anyone hanging out in the region.
The people are super friendly and helpful, and many are very proficient in English and sometimes French. People will stop you just to say hi and welcome you, and they also are eager to help you out if you have any questions.
There are banks that take foreign debit cards in their ATM machines, places to change money, hostels, hotels, bars, restaurants, museums, and plenty of other conveniences there. So, enough babbling, here’s my list of things to do in Ramallah!
My Favorite Things to do in Ramallah
1. Binge on Falafel and Shawarma
2. Stars and Bucks
3. The strangest sugar rush that is worth a try…
Right below Stars and Bucks is a little ice cream shop that serves Ramallah’s version of Unicorn Barf or whatever those trendy desserts are called. If I were to try and describe it I would say it’s a cup filled with fruit, nuts, some sort of smoothie, some scoops of ice cream, and whipped cream? Drink it through a straw? Use a spoon? No idea. It’s nice when it is really hot out! It is right in the center of Al Manara Square.
4. Snow Bar
So the Unicorn Barf didn’t cool you off? When it’s unbearably hot one of the best things to do in Ramallah is to go to Snow Bar. Sure, some people go for the bar, but the best thing at Snow Bar is the pool! It is nestled in a private location that feels like a secret garden. There are changing rooms and plenty of lounge chairs. The price to use the pool is a little expensive (in my head I think it is the equivalent of $10), but in that sweltering, Middle Eastern heat the pool is worth every penny!
5. Markets and Bakeries Galore
Near the bus station you will find the fresh fruit and vegetable market and plenty of bakeries. Go in the morning and get a cup of Arabic coffee on the street while you enjoy your stroll.
6. Sunset shisha from a top-floor cafe
Something more relaxing among the best things to do in Ramallah is to just chill out and smoke shisha (you may know it as hookah) and drink tea in one of the many top-floor cafes in the city center. There are several cafes above Arafat square and Al Manara that are on the top floors of the city’s tallest buildings. From there you can get the best view of the sunset over the city.
7. The Garage
My favorite evening spot among things to do in Ramallah has to be the Garage. This bohemian hang is filled with an eclectic group of artistic locals, expats, and travelers. They serve big beers as well as typical bar food like burgers and fries (that are quite tasty). Sometimes you can catch live music there. It’s a pretty open minded place (well, it IS a bar in a Muslim community), but I think it is worth mentioning that a girl going there alone may get some stares. If you have a friend you won’t have a problem. There were plenty of local ladies hanging out there with their friends, though the men always outnumbered the women like in most evening spots in the region.
This is a bar/restaurant and performing arts space with an eclectic mix of local acts that pass through. It’s not so far from the Garage and shares a similar clientele base. Definitely worth a visit!
9. The Old Town
The old-ness of Ramallah’s old town makes Europe’s old towns feel quite new. Get lost in the winding streets and notice the street art and hidden gardens. Be sure to stop by Al Kamandjati, Ramallah’s local music conservatory, to see if there will be any concerts that evening. Right next door is a violin maker’s workshop where you can see locals make and repair stringed instruments. Go to the hot dog shop that is hilariously named “It Waits”…Enjoy a freshly made juice from a cafe…OR get the BEST olive oil you will ever taste. If you leave the front of Al Kamandjati and turn left on the street towards the tourist shop and go down the hill, the olive oil place will be before the little grocery store. Oil costs around 30 Shekels per liter, and he will pour it into an old water bottle right in front of you. You can also get some lovely olive oil soap from there.
10. The Arafat Museum
Public Transport in Ramallah and the Region
A quick jaunt outside the city:
So there you go! This list of things to do in Ramallah is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it gives you some ideas! The best part of Ramallah is its people, and so I hope these activities will give you plenty of opportunities to meet some locals!
If you are looking for a place to stay, Habibi hostel and Area D hostel are great places for backpackers. If you’re sick of hostels, Ramallah has a large selection of really nice hotels that you can check out here.