Tel Aviv's must-see attractions
Rabin square is more than just a large public city space in the heart of Tel Aviv. Renamed in 1995 to honor Yitzhak Rabin following his tragic assassination, the iconic space houses numerous political rallies, parades, and holiday events (like the all-night dance-a-thon that is Simchat Torah). Every year, on the weekend of Nov 4th (Rabin’s assassination), thousands of people assemble in the square for a huge commemoration. When not occupied by an event, the open space with its peaceful fountain and unique sculpture is a perfect place to sit down and read a book in front of the Tel Aviv municipality building.
The Suzanne Dellal Center, located at the heart of the picturesque Neve Tzedek neighborhood, has been the spot for Israeli and international dance performances (as well as the home of one of Israel’s most famous troupes, the Batsheva Dance Company) since 1989. A performance at the center and dinner in the restaurants nearby make a great night out.
Jaffa Port, a renewed culinary, shopping and entertainment stop set in the city's ancient harbor, is home to various merchants and stalls that offer a vibrant and exciting experience inspired by the historical, cultural, and, of course, culinary legacy of its location. Take a stroll around the charming port, watch as elderly, weather-beaten fisherman hook calamari, stop off for an ice cream, or for a spot of live music at the Port’s Container bar. Jaffa Port Market combines traditional and ethnic elements with modern, urban touches. The 1,200 square metered area is set up like a race track, one path going through its entire length with shops, restaurants, galleries and booths on either side. Passageways peering into open-plan kitchens offer a carousel of tastes, smells and colors.
Nothing beats walking – or cycling – along the seaside promenade, breathing in the fresh, salty air of the Mediterranean. With Old Jaffa stamping the horizon to the south and the city’s skyscrapers to the north, it’s no wonder the Tel Aviv boardwalk is considered one of the world’s most beautiful. Sit on a bench and watch Tel Aviv life unfold before your eyes with beach-goers, paddle players and joggers doing their thing as the sounds of the waves gently crash on the shore.
The Eretz Israel Museum is more than a series of exhibits exploring the history and culture of Israel. Inside the multidisciplinary museum sits a magical place that is literally “out of this world.” At the Planetarium you can sneak a peek at the stars the same way that Galileo did through his telescope. Watch a riveting presentation about the mysterious galaxies that exist all the while spinning in revolving seats or learn about Israel’s first ever astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and view real time pictures of outer space provided by NASA. The Planetarium is a great place to bring your children and also expand your adult minds to the boundless worlds of science. English presentations are available by reservation.
Poor quality bric-a-brac lies alongside vintage treasures and antique furniture in Jaffa’s flea market. Of all the places to work your haggling skills, this is it. Even just wandering among the clothes stalls, traipsing around secondhand stores or grabbing some authentic street food is enough to make for a blissful day.
In 2001 the Tel Aviv Port, known locally by its Hebrew name Namal Tel Aviv, was completely revamped to the tune of NIS 100 million, becoming one of the biggest attractions in Tel Aviv. The wooden wave-shaped deck is replete with stores, cafes, bars and leisure centers. Even if you don’t fancy dining, shopping or drinking, just walking around to soak up the atmosphere and ocean spray is well worth the time. There’s an indoor market at Hangar 12 which offers the freshest and finest of Israeli food – but prepare for boutique prices. There is also plenty to keep the little ones occupied. With three playgrounds spanning over 9,000 meters, the Namal’s Yarid HaMizrach aims to cater to kids of all ages – including those in their forties! The playground equipment, designed in England and Germany, is outstanding – both from the perspective of childs-play and visually – and includes slides, climbing ropes, a boat swing, a cable pyramid with hammocks and a 30 meter long zip-line.