Manger Square and Old City (which has a lively market) is its center. There, you will find the Church of the Nativity and St. Catherine’s Church—which you can get to from the Nativity. The Mosque of Omar is across from the church—built in 1860 and named after the second caliph, Omar Ibn al-Khattab. The Peace Center, the newest building in the square, has information about the not-to-be-missed Olive Harvest in October-November. It’s a small city so most of its highlights are a short walk away from the square: Cave, located in Dar Annadwa-International Center of Bethlehem, where you will find a gallery, bookstore, and café; Crib Museum—famous for its nativity scenes; the Palestinian Heritage Center—preserves Palestinian cultural heritage, especially the arts of embroidery and traditional dressmaking; Old Bethlehem Museum, in a nineteenth-century Palestinian house—make sure to meet the lovely ladies of the Arab Women’s Union; not far from the square is the Milk Grotto Chapel and Shepherd’s Field.
My two favorite places to eat in Bethlehem: just off Manger Square, on the down-ramp, there are two falafel ventures. After eating their falafels, you will know what one should really taste like. Efteem, the second shop is famous in Palestine for his mix. And in the evening, head to Al-Kuz Café and Bar, a Bedouin-inspired tent-restaurant where you can eat, smoke arguileh (the apple flavor is my favorite) and feel the local spirit.