Exploring Haifa: Walking in Wadi Nisnas

Wadi Nisnas
Street Art in Wadi Nisnas

I always encourage people to be like a tourist in their own city, and to get out on foot and just explore. In keeping with this spirit, I like to pull out my serious walking shoes (okay, flip flops!) and hit the road when I have a free day and check out new corners of the city on foot.  I also like going back to places that I haven’t been in awhile to see the new changes and developments in the area.

I am continually impressed by the little snapshots of life that could easily have been missed or overlooked, and the little discoveries made.  Trust me, it doesn’t take any kind of time or financial commitment-usually just the cost of lunch and an afternoon, that would normally have been spent doing mundane everyday tasks. However, it can be as fulfilling and energizing as traveling abroad.  And you don’t need a travel companion either. These types of walks can be great opportunities to get some real thinking done, and do whatever soul-searching it is you need to do at that particular time. These quiet moments away are the little treasures of life.

 I have for quite some time now had a dream to live in Italy for a few months.  In this daydream, I imagine myself walking down the street on a sunny (yet cool) afternoon, wandering in and out of markets, and taking in the scenery. The thing is though that you don’t have to wait to get to Italy, or for your long-planned vacation (whatever you wish it to be), to get out and have your day, walking around and seeking foodie adventures.  If you’re a foodie, this spirit of exploration lives inside of you (not in your vacation), and you can make any day off, a day to try something new, take a walk, eat at a new place, or wander aimlessly through new alleyways. That’s not to say that I won’t try making it to Italy one day, but in the meantime, you can be sure that I’ll be living the lifestyle of a foodie, and on a budget as well!

 In my case, my last adventure out was in an Arab neighborhood of Haifa (wadi Nisnas) known for it’s traditional culinary delights. I left the baby with my mother-in-law, and had a lovely afternoon walking around, talking to the shop keepers, and admiring street art. And of course I had some great bites of food as well. This is a neighborhood that we “brush up against” on our tours, but don’t really delve deeply into (perhaps in the future!). It really is its own unique place within the city, and there is so much to see and taste there. It is a place to experience a very traditional kind of Galilean cooking that is steeped in tradition, but yet there is a young spirit there as well.  Your can be sure that I will be going back to explore again someday soon.

 For now, here are some photos of my little mini afternoon-long vacation in our beautiful city of Haifa for you to enjoy as well!:

Hummus restaurant Wadi Nisnas
Door to Al-Sham Restaurant, Wadi Nisnas
Hummus in Wadi Nisnas
Traditional dishes with a twist, at Al-Sham restaurant
Olives in Wadi Nisnas
Local olives
Arak in Haifa
Arak bottles
Halva in Haifa
Fresh halva candy
Haifa spice store
Assorted dried fruits at a spice store
About the Author
Jessica Halfin is owner and operator of Haifa Street Food Tours, through which she gives culinary tours to tourists in the beautiful coastal city of Haifa. She is an American immigrant to Israel of 10 years, an Israeli-trained baker and gourmet cook, and self-proclaimed “foodie.”
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