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Tel Aviv Things to do & Attractions

For those wanting to visit "the sites" in Tel aviv, there is no shortage of attractions and things to do waiting to be explored in this energetic, cultural city. Shopping opportunities, historical sites, dive centers and archaeological locations make for days upon days of enjoyment in this buzzing metropolis.

Those looking to explore Tel Aviv with a bit of retail therapy, Hatachana is the perfect fusion of history, as the old railway station of Tel Aviv, and modernity, with the renovation that turned it into one of most enjoyable shopping centers in Tel Aviv. Shenkin Street offers a completely different shopping experience, with a positively bohemian feel to the street that is chock-full of shops, be they designer boutiques, jewelry stores, global brand shoe stores and far eastern clothing, to name just a few.

Those interested in a glimpse into the life of some of the people Tel Aviv is famous for, can visit Bialik House, the residence of the Israeli national poet, Haim Nahman Bialik which contains books, letters and works that Bialik received from Israel's finest artists, as well as personal items, his personal library and a children's room based on the well-known nursery rhymes that he wrote.  The Yitzchak Rabin Centre is also well worth a visit, which is dedicated to the history of society and democracy in Israel, Yitzchak Rabin's life and the legacy he left behind.

The Na Laga'at Centre, with it's truly special artistic experiences for the general public, presented by deaf and blind people, offers a unique opportunity for visitors to understand a fraction of what it means to live in this world without the senses of sight and hearing.
We have only touched upon some attractions in this city, there is so much more to see and do; the list is endless…
 

 


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The Jaffa Clock Tower is one of the seven clock towers built in Israel during the Ottoman period and stands three-stories high, topped with a multi-gabled roof. The other clock towers were built in Safed, Acre, Nazareth, Haifa, Nablus and Jerusalem and all, except for the one in Jerusalem, stand until this day. The Jaffa Clock Tower is one of Jaffa's landmarks and is located on Yeffet Street at the northern entrance of Jaffa, near to the Flea Market.
The tower is made of limestone, incorporates four clocks and a plaque commemorating those who fell in the battle for the town in the 1948 war. It was built by a Turkish Sultan, to commemorate the silver jubilee of his reign and the Arab and Jewish residents of the city contributed towards the building. The Clock Tower was built between 1900 and 1903 and apart from the seven clock towers built around Israel, close to a hundred similar clock towers were built throughout the Ottoman Empire at this time due to the celebration of the Sultan.
In 1965 the Jaffa Clock Tower was renovated, colorful mosaic windows that described the history of Jaffa were added and new clocks were installed.
The Jaffa Clock Tower is the starting point of most tours around Jaffa. In fact, there is a free tour of Jaffa, given by the municipality, every Wednesday that starts out from the Clock Tower at 9:30a.m. There is no need to sign up in advance, just show up on the day.
 




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Tel aviv, the busy metropolis in the center of Israel, was named as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003 thanks to the four-thousand plus Bauhaus-style buildings that grace the White City zone of Tel Aviv, known as such due to the predominantly white and pastel-colored buildings along, in the main, Rothschild Boulevard, Dizengoff Circle and Bialik Street. UNESCO noted that the White City presents a wonderful example of town planning and architecture in the early twentieth century as modern architectural trends that originate from around the world are successfully adapted and integrated into the traditions of the city.
In the 1920s, the rapidly-changing city was lacking, decided city officials, a collective architectural style. A large number of architect graduates immigrated in the thirties to Tel Aviv and brought with them the Modernist style of architecture that they had learnt in Germany. The international style was known for it's asymmetric lines, minimalist approach and lack of useless decorations. Interior design is simple and functional.  Perhaps more than anything, the ever-present balconies set Tel Aviv apart from other cities, creating a sense of community as socializing is simply a matter of peering across to one's neighbors' balcony.
For the visitor to Tel Aviv who wishes to visit one of the notable 830 sites on UNESCO's famous list that are said to be invaluable to human culture as a whole, be sure to make your way to the White City zone of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv's first boulevard, Rothschild Boulevard, has a large number and variety of intriguing buildings. The street is a literal piece of architectural art and provides the chance for visitors to savor the unique fusion of old and new that makes Tel Aviv the exciting place it is.
 




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A visit to the planetarium offers site visitors, who take a seat on a turning stage, an remarkable "flight" in line with the film "Stars" (created through the National Space Center of Leicester, England), going through the huge world using its infinite galaxies, each one of these that contains vast amounts of stars, quite different from each other. These stars are constantly altering, living, dying, and therefore are then born anew. The tour is definitely the riveting story of the very most ancient stars alongside brand new ones, as well as individuals that'll be produced later on. This can be a flight towards the furthermost devote the universe. The site visitors might find both magnificent beauty and also the destructive pressure from the stars.




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On November 4, 1995, Heshvan 12 5756 according to the Jewish calendar, Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense in Israel attended a peace rally under the title of "Yes to Peace, No to Violence". On that fateful night, an Israeli Jew shockingly killed Rabin with three bullets as he left the rally. The murder shook the young State of Israel and exposed in an instant societal conflicts that had been rumbling below the surface for decades.
Two years after that painful night, the Yitzhak Rabin Center was established in an attempt to commemorate Yitzhak Rabin and his great contributions to Israeli society, educate towards democratic values, to encourage involvement and taking of responsibility by all sectors of society. The Center is based on the 1997 Law for the Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Day and has two main educational purposes; to teach about Rabin and his legacy and to illustrate the importance of democracy in Israel and the threats it faces in today's day and age.
The Yitzhak Rabin Center is located in Tel aviv, on the foundations of a top secret power station and was designed by famous Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie. The Center has a magnificent view of HaYarkon Park and Tel Aviv and is close to the Eretz Yisrael Museum, the Palmach Museum, Tel Aviv University and Bet HaTfusot.
There is a permanent exhibition at the Center, called the Israeli museum, that details the history of society and democracy in Israel, with the life of Yitzhak Rabin connecting between various sections. The Rabin Residence Library and Yitzhak Rabin Archives are also on site and personal papers of Yitzhak Rabin, the campaign against Rabin and Israel and the world's reaction following the assassination can be found there in the form of photographs, videos, posters, documents and interviews.
The Yitzhak Rabin Center is must for any visitor wanting to truly connect to a black day in Israel and the Jewish people's history. This Center eternalizes Rabin's legacy, commits to creating discourse between different sectors in the multi-cultural Israeli society and advances the unification of the Jewish people. It is a beacon of light in the complicated tapestry that is the modern State of Israel.
 




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Saint Peter's Church is a Franciscan Church located in Jaffa. It is the single largest and most distinctive building in the city. With it's impressive interior, Masses that are conducted there in several languages, as well as being open every day to the public, the Church is a beacon for pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.
Saint Peter's Church was built in the Ottoman Period, in 1654 in honor of Saint Peter over a medieval citadel. In the late eighteenth century, the Church was twice destroyed and rebuilt. The Church as it is seen today was built between 1888 and 1894 and was renovated in 1903.
The interior of the Church has a definite European feel to it, with high ceilings, stained glass windows from Spain and panels depicting episodes from the life of Saint Peter. Most of the windows in the Church feature Spanish Saints, unsurprising considering that the building was erected in Spain. The magnificent pulpit is carved into the shape of a life-like tree.
Saint Peter's Church also houses remnants of the St Louis citadel; two entire circular rooms with low ceilings and fireplaces. Legend has it that Napoleon Bonaparte lived in these rooms in 1799 while he was at Saint Peter's during his campaign in Egypt and Syria.
The Church was constructed in Jaffa due to the significance of the city in Christianity. Saint Peter was said to have raised one of Jesus' disciples, Tabitha, from the dead and the Church is named in his honor. The Church is situated on a hill by the shore and therefore served as a beacon to pilgrims who, upon seeing the Church, would know that they were approaching the Holy Land.
 




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Shenkin Street is famed for being the street that epitomized the spirit of the Tel aviv streets in the eighties. Shenkin was the birthplace of some of the most exciting and original music, theater and dance groups that formed at that time. Despite the more conservative direction that the street has taken in recent years, it remains a hot attraction and offers some of the best stores and coffee shops.
For the shopaholics among us, welcome to the garden of Eden! Leading Israeli designers- Ronen Chen (49 Shenkin), Naama Bezalel and Banot-Lulu Liam (40 Shenkin), to name just a few chose to set up stores on the mythical street. Jewelry and accessory shops are also plentiful with world-famous Michal Negrin (37 Shenkin) setting up stall here, alongside Daniella Lehavi (35 Shenkin), famous for her bags and shoes. Speaking of shoes, for those looking for global brands, Aldo, Camper and Adidas can also be found on Shenkin. The Far East style is very popular in Israel and if that interests you, be sure to pay a visit to The Third Eye (7 Shenkin).
If you've worked up an appetite with all that retail therapy, there are plenty of eateries to choose from, including  Café Tamar (57 Shenkin), famous for serving coffee to well-recognized Israeli figures, Orna and Ella, unarguably the best restaurant on the street and the well-loved Aroma coffee shop (30 Shenkin).
Visitors can easily spend an enjoyable day perusing Shenkin Street, shopping, eating and soaking up the unique atmosphere of one of the most popular streets in Tel Aviv.
 




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The Metzitzim Beach was formerly known as the Sheraton Beach because the Sheraton Hotel used to be located by this beach. Nowadays, it goes by Metzitzim, named after a legendary Israeli movie from the seventies of the same name. Metzitzim beach is the most northern of all Tel Avivian beaches and definitely has more of an urban feel to it than other beaches.
Metzitzim Beach has a bohemian feeling to it and attracts beautiful, young people as well as families. The water is not always the cleanest but is always calm due to the man-made lagoon. There is a café-restaurant on the beach, newly refurbished showers and toilets, a beach bar that is open in the evening, two volleyball courts, facilities for the handicapped and a children's playground.
 




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The Jaffa Slope Park borders the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa and spreads over 50 acres of luscious, green, rolling hills. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parks in the area and stretches from the Jaffa Port in the north to the Aliyah Hill in the south.

For years the site was used as a dump yard for construction waste and was an environmental hazard as well as a center for criminal activity. Then, in 2010, the park was opened after extensive renovation and since then has become a popular and busy leisure site. The promenade running alongside the park serves as a wharf for fishermen, a path for walkers, bike-riders and those wishing to sit on the benches and just take in the lovely view. The park is also a great place for a barbecue and for those with children who can enjoy the facilities offered on site.




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The Na Laga'at Centre in Jaffa offers a truly unique experience for visitors. Na Laga'at is Hebrew for "Please DO touch" and the Na Laga'at Centre is essentially a meeting place for deaf, blind, deaf-blind and the general public through artistic experiences.  Na Laga'at is the first Israeli deaf and blind theater company and as well as theater productions, the Na Laga'at Centre houses two restaurants.
Café Kapish is a dairy restaurant manned by staff who are all deaf. The staff are highly attentive to their client's needs and the menu and tablecloths feature basic sign-language tips and the waiters are often more than happy to provide impromptu sign-language lessons. Performances start at 8:30 p.m. and if you don't plan on attending the performance it is recommended to dine after it begins because the dining area can get very noisy. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST.
The Blackout Restaurant is run under the auspices of celebrated Israeli chef, Nir Tzuk. In this restaurant the staff is blind and your food is ordered before entering the dining area. There are meals served between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. before the performance (90 NIS per person) or three-course meals served after 9:00 p.m. (140 NIS per person). Once again, ADVANCE RESERVATIONSARE A MUST.
The Na Laga'at Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble is a way of enhancing public awareness that deaf-blind people are equal citizens and allows the actors to express themselves creatively. The Ensemble is made up of eleven actors, most suffer from "Usher Syndrome" that is a genetic disorder that causes deafness and gradual vision loss, resulting in complete blindness. Their first production was "Light is Heard in Zig Zag" and received rave reviews both in Israel and abroad. Their second production, "Not by Bread Alone" is currently on stage.
 




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The Palmach Museum is an experiential museum that relays the incredible story of the elite striking force of the Hagana-the underground military organization of the Jewish community in Palestine, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Visitors to the museum join a group of new Palmach recruits from the establishment of the Palmach through to the end of the War of Independence. The presentation is highly innovative with three-dimensional décor, films and special effects bringing to life the documentary material.
The Palmach museum was in construction for almost a decade and the wait was well worth it. The Director of the Museum, Ilan Lev, explains that the Museum's goal was to enable the public to truly sense the period in which the Palmach operated and this gem of a museum does just that with it's exciting multi-media experience.
Visitors are arranged into groups, keeping in with the character of the presentation and symbolizing the Palmach team spirit. Individual visitors are pre-arranged into groups. The exhibit is built in a chronological fashion and advances through a series of underground chambers, starting and finishing in a memorial hall for the Palamach members who died while fighting for the establishment of the State.
Visits to the museum must be pre-arranged. The ninety-minute tour is carried out in groups of up to twenty-five people and children must be over the age of six to participate. The presentation is in Hebrew and English, Russian, French and Spanish speakers will receive head-phones that provide a translation.
 




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Rothschild Boulevard (known in Hebrew as Sderot Rotshild) is one of the main streets in Tel aviv. It begins at the southwesterly neighborhood of Neve tzedek and runs all the way to the Habima Theatre in the centre of Tel Aviv. It is an extremely busy and pricey street and a huge tourist attraction, both due to historical significance and architecturally fascinating buildings.
The original name of Rothschild Boulevard was Rehov HaAm (translates to mean "Street of the people") and was changed at the request of the residents, to honor Baron Edmond James de Rothschild.
Places of interest on Rothschild Boulevard:
• There is a house on the street corner where the street meets Herzl Street that was built at the turn of the nineteenth century by one of Tel Aviv's founding families, the Eliavson family. The building was restored in recent years by the French Institute.
• Independence Hall, the famous location of the signing of Israel's Declaration of Independence is situated on Rothschild Boulevard.
• Several buildings on the street are built in the Bauhaus style, the style that caused Tel Aviv to be recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. There is a free tour of the Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv that leaves every Saturday at 11 a.m. from 46 Rothschild Boulevard (corner Shadal St.)
• At the intersection with Allenby Street, the 1925 Lederberg house can be found that features ceramic murals designed by a graduate of the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Ze'ev Raban.
Be sure to make your way over to Tel Aviv's most beautiful boulevard, Rothschild when in Tel Aviv for a coffee in one of the many coffee shops that live the street, a quick snack in one of the many snack shops or just to enjoy a pleasant stroll along this historic street.
 




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The Israel Army Museum presents the history of the Israeli Army, the IDF, from it's formation in 1948 until the present day. The IDF (short for the Israel Defense Force) was formed from the merging of the pre-state Hagana, Lehi and Irgun military forces and today the IDF is regarded as one of the top military forces in the world (ranking number ten in the 2011 World Military Strength Ranking).
The Israel Army Museum is a must for IDF and/or military fans, with it's displays of weapons caches, weapons, tanks, armored vehicles, uniforms, photographs, gifts from the chiefs of staff, etc. The vehicle used by Motta Gur when the Old City was captured in 1967 also rests in this Museum, as does David Ben-Gurion's car from when he was Minister of Defense. It is easy to amble around this fascinating museum, taking in the colorful history of the IDF in the mainly outdoor pavilions.
 




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Dizengoff Street is the only street in Israel that coined a new word, based solely on the iconic status of the street. That's right, did you just "hizdangeff " or Dizengoff yourself? This amusing slang word pays tribute to Dizengoff Street's peak days after it was named after the first mayor of Tel aviv, Meir Dizengoff. Dizengoff Street represented the vibrant cultural life that rocked Tel Aviv at that time. In the seventies and eighties, it fell out of favor due, in part, to the Dizengoff Center mall that made its mark on the neighborhood. In recent years, Dizengoff has begun to enjoy a revival with new restaurants, shops and cafés popping up frequently, creating a lively, exciting location.
Dizengoff Street is located at the corner of Ibn Gabirol Street, runs past the Dizengoff Center and Dizengoff Square and ends by the Tel Aviv boardwalk. Eateries run along the entire street and bars and boutiques are more concentrated at the northern end. Some of the best Israeli designers sell their creations on Dizengoff and the variety of clothing is extensive- on this one street one can pick up wedding dresses, handmade shoes, fifties-style clothing, original children's clothing and vintage clothing.
Dizengoff Square is found in the center of the street and is a fountain with a moving display of fire and water, created by Yakov Agam. On Tuesdays and Fridays, the Creative Artists Fair is held at the Square and local artists display their glass, ceramic, metal works, jewelry, paintings and sculptures.
The Dizengoff Center mall is also located on Dizengoff Street and houses designer shops, global chains, fast food, entertainment in the form of two cinemas and health centers that include two gyms and a swimming pool.
There are some lovely hotels on Dizengoff Street for those looking for accommodation in the area, such as the Hotel Cinema, located at 1 Zamenhoff Street which is built in the Bauhaus style that Tel Aviv is famous for.
Be sure to pay a visit to this shopper's heaven and to report home on how it is to l'hizdangeff down the legendary Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv.
 




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The Rubin Museum (known in Hebrew as Bet Reuven) is the house-turned museum of the painter Reuven Rubin, situated in the heart of Tel aviv.
Reuven Rubin was one of the very first Israeli artists who gained world-wide recognition. Rubin was born in 1893 in Romania and  immigrated to Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century in order to study in the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.
Rubin lived, together with his family, in this house on 14 Bialik Street from the year 1945 until he died in 1974 and bestowed the house to the city of Tel Aviv. Just under a decade after his death, the house was opened to the public as a museum.
The Museum displays a collection of Reuven Rubin's paintings that are occasionally replaced by guest exhibitions that focus on the early period of Israeli art. The Museum consists of four floors; at basement level there is a new children's workshop that opens up to the backyard, at street level the main gallery, entry hall and the  Museum's shop, the second floor is home to an additional gallery as well as a library and reading room and the third floor is where Rubin's own studio is preserved as it was during his lifetime. The third floor also contains a biographical journey into Rubin's life story through photographs, documents and sketches.
The Rubin Museum makes for a quiet and charming visit into Reuven Rubin's life, works and legacy.
 




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The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre is the largest and most highly reputed centre for dance in Israel and is situated in the beautiful Neve tzedek neighborhood in Tel aviv, minutes from the Mediterranean Sea shore. In 2010, the Suzanne Dellal Centre was awarded the Israel Prize for its invaluable contribution to dance.
The Centre was established in 1989 by the Dellal family of London, England in honor of their daughter Suzanne who passed away at a young age, together with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, the Tel Aviv Foundation and the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Education. The construction of the Centre took five years and the urban renaissance that has occurred in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood in the past couple of decades is thought to be largely due to the appearance of the Suzanne Dellal Centre.
Countless dance events and festivals are held at the Suzanne Dellal Centre throughout the year with three of the most well-known being the six-week-long Summer Dance Festival which hosts some of the best local talent alongside guest performers in the months of July and August, the Dance-Europa Festival which heavily emphasizes collaboration between Israeli and European dancers at the end of October and the Haramat Masach (Hebrew for Curtain Up) Festival at the end of November at which independent performers and choreographers show off their talent.
If you happen to be in the area at other times of the year be sure to check out their website in advance (http://www.suzannedellal.org.il/index.htm) because there are constantly superb events, shows and festivals on at the Centre. The Suzanne Dellal Centre has a magnificent multi-level campus which includes four performance halls, a number of rehearsal studios, a restaurant and café that is lovely to pop into before or after a performance and wide plazas on which are held outdoor performances throughout the year.

 


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