The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is always a great place for a date. Filled with colorful flowers, meandering paths and flowing waterfalls, a visit here is always beautiful and relaxing.
But going during the annual Winter Lights Festival is especially magical. From mid-December through the end of January, the garden is filled with various light displays in the evenings. Pairing a visit here with dinner or hot drinks at the nearby Cafe Ella, Edenia Deli, or Caffit—some of the best cafes in Jerusalem–creates a perfect date outing.
A Magical Wonderland of Lights
More than 2.5 million light bulbs are used to illuminate the garden. Start your walk at the large pond, near the entrance and next to Caffit, one of the best cafes in Jerusalem. Classical music by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra plays from speakers, and balls of light float on the water among the reeds and giant goldfish. The path, lined by brightly illuminated trees, then leads around the pond and past a creek. In addition to lights, there are booths to buy snacks and hot drinks, as well as characters dressed up in glowing costumes.
The areas beyond the pond and entrance are usually quieter. The variety of lights also increases, with some trees decorated with giant sparking flowers, butterflies and hearts. Other areas are decorated with more subtle lights, including those placed underneath plants that light up all the leaves and branches. There are benches throughout to sit down and enjoy the scenery.
Pairing a Garden with a Visit to Some of the Best Cafes in Jerusalem
The botanical garden is located close to some of the best cafes in Jerusalem. The popular Caffit cafe is on the garden’s property, next to the pond. Its outdoor seating and large windows give diners a great view of the lights. The cafe has a full dinner menu, including fish, pizza, salads and pasta dishes, in addition to a bar and hot drinks.
The Edenia Deli is a newer option, located in the plant nursery just outside of the garden. In addition to hot drinks and a cafe menu, Edenia offers wine and cheese plates; but keep in mind that it is only open until 6 p.m., so it’s best to visit before exploring the garden. Another choice, also among the best cafes in Jerusalem, is Cafe Ella, just across Herzog Street from the garden entrance. Ella features both indoor and outdoor seating and has a full dinner menu as well as drinks and desserts. All of these cafes offer take-away food, which could be good for a picnic in the garden for those who visit before dark.
For up-to-date information about the Botanical Gardens, check out its Facebook page.