While tourists flock towards the iconic Tel Aviv Museum of Art or The Israel Museum in Jerusalem to cross off their ‘Israeli culture’ checklist, the true hidden beauty lies in Israel’s more quirky museums and Israeli art galleries off the beaten path. Just outside of Tel Aviv, the quaint city of Holon houses some unique museums that feature everything out-of-the-ordinary from Israeli fashion design to cartoons and children’s games. Inside the cultural capital, Florentine’s hipster haven opened Tel Aviv’s very first street art gallery. And, up by Mount Carmel, the Ein Hod Artists’ Village has the works of Marcel Janco, one of the founding fathers of Dadaism, up on display. These museums in Israel are worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a change of pace from giant crowds and long lines.
Ten out-of-the-box galleries and museums in Israel
Commercializing an essentially anti-establishment outdoor art form runs the risk of compromising its character. Yet, bringing them indoors assures the works’ permanence, allows admirers to own them and helps the artists monetize their talent. Though many of the works hanging in the Street Art Gallery mirror those painted on the walls and buildings of the neighborhood, here you can buy the artworks as well as street art phone skins and archive-quality photographs of street art by the internationally renowned Daniel Siboni, who co-owns the gallery with Eli Edri. “The whole story of street art is here in Florentin.”
Nestled between tall bamboo, this museum is dedicated to art from the Land of the Rising Sun, showcasing a broad cross-section of both traditional and modern Japanese prints and paintings. Due to the delicate nature of Japanese craftsmanship, which is sensitive to light and weather, exhibits change frequently.
Since its erection in 1983, the Janco-Dada Museum has kept an impressive collection from Marcel Janco’s personal works of display. Appropriately situated in the middle of the Ein Hod Artists’ Village, established thirty years earlier in response to Janco’s efforts to promote the arts, the museum’s intention is to preserve and promote the revolutionary artist’s vision. On top of its three galleries and multimedia video floor, the DadaLab offers an interactive activity space that gives visitors the chance to get a feel for Dadaism through collage, assemblage, performance art and other mixed media. A picturesque village and an even more picturesque museum, there is no better place to understand the magic behind the mind of Marcel Janco than in the exact place he perfected his chef-d’ouevres.
From Jerusalem’s holiest sites to the urban beaches of Tel Aviv, the desert sun, and everything in between, come to Mini Israel to see it all. Here you will find hundreds of accurate models of the most important architectural, historic, religious, archaeological and social sites of Israel. The models sit surrounded by Bonsai trees and rich greenery and contain thousands of figurines of various Israelis. Watch a 3-D MiniMax aerial movie of Israel and view breath taking photography of the beautiful country. Located in Latrun, it sits just 20 minutes away from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A must see for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Originally a hostel, and used as a central prison during the British Mandate, hundreds of underground warriors were imprisoned alongside criminals here. The compound was conquered by the Haganah with the assistance of the Etzel and Lehi in 1948, and was used for a variety of civic purposes until the 1990s. Today, the Museum of Underground Prisoners is dedicated to describing the struggle for the Jewish people in establishing the State of Israel. The museum shows prison cells, the escape room, the synagogue cell, solitary confinement cells and the execution chamber. It tells the sacrifice story of Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barazani. Guided tours are available, which includes a film following a new prisoner at the prison. Tours for children include games.
Whiskey Bar & Museum is a unique compound from among the biggest in the world. The impressive wall of whiskeys showcases over one thousand varieties of "water of life" from classic locations like Scotland and Ireland, to the most eclectic like Taiwan and Indian. All bottles in the museum are available for tasting and purchase. On top of the extensive collection, the Whiskey kitchen offers diverse dishes like smoked meats prepared in-house and fresh fish and vegetable entrées. Don't miss their alcohol-infused desserts that incorporate sweet notes of whiskey for a perfect finish.
Meticulously curated exhibits display the utmost of thoughtful and esteemed contemporary works. Famed architect Ron Arad's winding spiral of modernity encompasses one of Israel’s most stand-out venues for progressive art and design. A short drive from downtown Tel Aviv, it's definitely worth the visit.
This museum tells the story of Israel’s rise in the world’s diamond industry. On the guided multimedia tour, guests will discover how diamonds go from their raw state to the beautiful, shining form found on jewelry. Learn about the various mining systems used, stages of cutting and polishing, and usage of diamonds in jewelry and industry, along with their trade. At Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum you can view a dazzling selection of diamonds and gems from around the world, as well as replicas of some of the planet’s most famous stones.
Purpose-built for kids, this museum offers a range of activities for kids aged 2-12. Unlike conventional museums, children are encouraged to touch all of the displays, and even play a role in the exhibits. Not-to-be-missed are the famous 'Dialogue in the Dark' and 'Invitation to Silence' exhibits, two experiences that provide emotional and telling insight into the worlds of blind and deaf people.
The Israeli Cartoon Museum was founded in cooperation between the city of Holon and the Israeli Cartoonist Association. The museum houses exhibits on various themes, presenting local Israeli cartoonists and leading creators in the field. It encourages academic research of cartoons, caricatures, and comics as a way of analyzing Israeli society and culture. Various educational programs, artist master classes, workshops and more are also available at the Israeli Cartoon Museum. A dream for comic enthusiasts, it will have you looking at animation in a new way. The perfect outing for families, with free admission for children under 5.