While it's a challenge to round up the top museums in Israel, we accepted the task. Ranging from reigning establishments like the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, to more experimental and quirky museums in Israel like the Design Museum Holon, which features top Israeli fashion, these institutions are among the top Israel attractions, especially when looking for things to do in Israel on a rainy day. These venues offer inspiring encounters with art, history, science and Israeli culture. Feeling artsy? Let us also point you to some of the best Israeli art galleries for some additional inspiration.
Israel's must-see museums
Arguably Israel’s most magnificent cultural asset, the Israel Museum is consistently ranked among the world’s leading art and archaeology museums. Housing encyclopedic collections with works dating from prehistory to the present day in archaeology, fine art, and Jewish art, this is the place to get schooled on Israel’s 5,000-year history.
Tel Aviv Museum houses the best of Israeli art as well as new and old masters. Gracing the walls of this museum are Israel’s most comprehensive collection of modern, contemporary and Israeli art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of the Old Masters, diverse temporary exhibitions, displays of photography, design and architecture, a performance hall and beautiful, calming sculpture garden to wander around in or relax. The newest addition to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Herta and Paul Amir Building was designed by professor Preston Scott Cohen. The interior space provides a unique setting for the display of contemporary art, a center for architecture and a gallery.
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 is a great museum for curious kids and adults alike. Giant exhibitions invite visitors to a hands-on experience surrounding history's greatest scientists and inventors. 3D films in the ‘Cinematrix’ are enhanced by moving seats, wind, water, and bubbles.
Unique for a number of reasons, the Eretz Israel Museum is especially unusual because its grounds encompass the archeological site of Tel Qasile, dating back to the 12th century B.C.E. The museum houses impressive, permanent collections of coins, mosaics, and Jewish folkloric objects from various periods and regions.
Yad Vashem’s 45-acre campus comprises indoor museums and outdoor monuments, exhibitions, memorial sites, gardens, sculptures, and world-class research and education centers – all devoted to preserving the memory of the Holocaust. The hallowed out cavern with a single candle reflected by a series mirrors commemorates the 1.5 million children killed.
Have you ever wondered about the history of Israel's natural wonders? If you venture over to Tel Aviv University’s campus, you will have the opportunity to explore just that. The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History is a museum that is home to collections depicting the natural history of Israel.
Haifa Museum is located in an historic 1930s building at the axis connecting Haifa’s Muslim, Christian, and Jewish neighborhoods. Three floors display works by artists from Israel and the world, including Daumier, Chagall, Chana Orloff, and Andre Masson as well as temporary exhibitions and video installations.
Now, it traces the history of the Jewish resistance fighters who were imprisoned or executed in this very spot. Run by the Ministry of Defense, the museum features an interactive display with original and reconstructed exhibits, a tour of the prison cells and an account of the prison’s rich history. Learn about those who fought to establish a national home in the state of Israel, the circumstances of their imprisonment and the fascinating story behind the 1947 Akko Prison break.
Jerusalem's Citadels, known locally as the "Tower of David," is a magnificently restored archaeological structure that bears witness to thousands of years of history. Inside the ancient guard rooms is a museum that houses permanent exhibitions telling the story of Jerusalem through specialized cultural events, activities, tours and temporary exhibitions. From the top of King Herod's tower, there are breathtaking 360 degree views of the city, both new and old. Don't miss the Night Spectacular: an outdoor sound and light show projected onto its stone walls telling the rich story of Jerusalem.