Katamon is bounded by the neighborhoods of Talbiya in the north, and the German Colony and Greek Colony to the east. The two main streets are Rehov Rachel Imanu, which runs through the neighborhood from east to west, and Rehov Kovshey Katamon, which runs north-south. These streets connect to Emek Refaim and Rehov ha-Palmach.
Katamon was home to affluent Christian Arabs before it was captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. A major site in Katamon was the St. Simon monastery, on a hilltop to the north. The monastery is now surrounded by a large park in the neighborhood known as Givat Oranim. Another major attraction of the neighborhood is the L. A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art.
During the Siege of Jerusalem (1948), the neighborhood was an Arab salient between two besieged Jewish neighborhoods. A fierce battle ensued over control over the monastery that left many dead and wounded on both sides.
In her autobiography, Palestinian author Ghada Karmi describes growing up in Katamon, from which she and her father, noted linguist Hasan Karmi, and the rest of the family had to escape in 1948 after fierce fighting broke out. Arab scholar and poet Khalil al-Sakakini and land specialist and writer Sami Hadawi also escaped Katamon at this time. Al-Sakakini's daughter Hala wrote about revisiting the neighborhood in 1967. On September 17, 1948, UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte and UN Observer André Serot, were assassinated by members of the Jewish underground while driving on Rehov ha-Palmach.
The neighbourhood was home to the Hapoel Jerusalem football club from its foundation in the 1930s until it moved to the YMCA Stadium in the 1980s. In 2007, several dissatisfied Hapoel Jerusalem fans formed a new club, naming it Hapoel Katamon after the club's former home, although the new club does not play in the neighbourhood.