If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv, or you’re planning to visit in the near future, you’ve probably already heard that Rothschild Boulevard should be at the top of your must-visit list. And it’s easy to see why. Rothschild Boulevard is the ultimate urban city experience, combined with iconic, historic sights. It perfectly captures the unique Tel Aviv charm, where the modern world lives in harmony alongside the traditional, momentous buildings.
The most common way travellers approach Rothschild Boulevard is; start from Habima Square, quickly pass it, sit in a cafe, and walk to the end.
Now, you might be thinking; What’s the big deal? It’s just a boulevard. You start at one end and finish at the other. Well, as much as that is true, we think there’s a better way to explore this unique place. One that allows us to unlock its full potential.
That’s why we’ve come up with these tips for exploring Rothschild Boulevard, that is sure to take your travel experience to the next level. This how we do it.
Step 1. Habima Square
Start off your journey behind Heichal HaTarbut, also known as Charles Bronfman Auditorium, at the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion (At the intersection of Dizengoff street and Rothschild Boulevard). The entrance to Habima Square is through an arch.
Habima Square is Tel Aviv’s cultural hub, housing some of the city’s most important cultural institutions. Of course “Habima” theatre and Heichal Hatarbut are worth checking out, but we’d like you to explore beyond that, where tickets are not required ;-).
A not-so-hidden gem to check out here is the ornamental pool (that looks like huge mirror). If you’re lucky, you might catch some little kids sailing their toy boats in it. It’s a very serene, peaceful sight to see and totally worth checking out.
Also at Habima Square, you’ll find an urban garden. The garden features cacti, lavender and almond trees - all considered local vegetation. Take some time to explore your surroundings; From the impressive architecture to the cozy coffee shops - each corner of Habima Square holds a new surprise.
Step 2. Rothschild Boulevard
Now, as we’ll pass Marmorek street, we can begin our walk through Rothschild Boulevard. Be careful though, make sure you choose the pedestrian route as you might get run over by a bike, an electric scooter or a segway.
As you’re walking, you’ll notice the massive trees have formed a natural roof to shade you from the sun. You’ll also notice there’s plenty of bench space to have a rest, and pet local dogs, if you’d like.
Some buildings in Tel Aviv are old, preserved and traditional. some are new, restored and modern, (and some sit forever waiting to be restored). While walking through the Boulevard, you’ll want to notice Beit David Moses (Rothschild 13), and The Levin House (later called Russian Embassy House)(Rothschild 46). Both very well-known buildings in Tel Aviv.
One building that’s really worth noting is the Independence hall (Rothschild 16). This is where the declaration of independence was proclaimed on May 14th 1948. Right next to it stands a statue of Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv’s first mayor.
Step 3. The Green Chair
Last but not least, at Rothschild 41, you’ll find a unique sculpture. Just a regular green chair. Or is it?
This piece of modern art is more complex than what you might think at a first glance. If you sit in the chair and look ahead, you’ll see something very interesting. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but as the artist intended, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
If all this walking left you tired and in a desperate need of a sugar-fix, you’ll be happy to hear that right next to the sculpture there’s a “Max Brenner” restaurant. A worldwide chocolate restaurant founded in Israel.
Step 4. Kiosk Culture
Now you’ve reached the intersection of Rothschild Boulevard and Herzl street. Here you can find something that you won’t be able to see anywhere else in Israel; the culture of sitting at a Kiosk, drinking a cup of coffee or freshly squeezed juice.
There are two popular Kiosks for you to choose from, both located across the street from one another. So order yourself a drink and act like a local!
From this intersection, you’re able to see the Shalom Meir Tower. Which, sometimes around the 1950’s, was known as the tallest building in the Middle East. It’s quite amusing to see it now, being swallowed by the newer, monstrous skyscrapers towering way above it.
We've reached the end of our journey. At a big Square, at the beginning of Yehoshua Hatalmi street, is where the charming neighborhood of Neve Tzedek starts. A place we really recommend you explore. A guide on how to explore Neve Tzedek will be published shortly.
Illustrations: Ira Ginzburg, Sasha Iudashkin