Tel Aviv seems to have everything – gorgeous beaches, beautiful parks and green spaces, dizzying skyscrapers, and exciting nightlife. Tel Aviv is also a culinary paradise. In the nearby south of Tel Aviv is the ancient walled city of Jaffa, which offers visitors a step back in time, a chance to relive biblical stories, and a taste of its world-famous oranges.
But perhaps look beyond Tel Aviv and drive further inland. You might have heard of Petah Tikvah sometime? Yes, that’s the childhood home of Hollywood star Gal Gadot. But Petah Tikva is much more than that.
Petah Tikva (also spelled Petach Tikva and Petah Tiqwa) is located 10.6 kilometers (6.6 miles) east of Tel Aviv and is part of the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area. It is also one of the cities in Israel’s Central District.
Petah Tikva, which means “Door of Hope” in Hebrew, was one of the first agricultural settlements in pre-state Israel during the Zionist movement.
While it may not be as popular as the other Israeli cities, Petah Tikva is poised to become the next tourist destination that’s worth a visit. Don’t let its size fool you – Petah Tikva is a beautiful city with lots to offer for every visitor. You may even discover some hidden gems there along the way.
We have put together some of the things to do in Petah Tikva. We’re pretty sure that you will include this city in your next trip to Israel.
Visit the historical Great Synagogue
Petah Tikva was founded by Orthodox Jews in 1878 and became a permanent settlement in 1883. Construction of the synagogue began in 1885, with a contribution from the Hovevei Zion (Hibbat Zion) movement, and was completed in 1900.
The Great Synagogue is one of the historical monuments built during the early years of the Zionist movement; thus, it’s one of the major Israeli synagogues built in the modern era. Since then, the synagogue has been periodically restored, faithfully following the blueprints from the 1930s.
The Great Synagogue was the city’s prominent landmark at the time. Today, it’s somewhat hidden among modern buildings, but it still manages to stand out if you get close to it enough.
Shop at Petah Tikva Market
Exploring local markets is always a fun and rewarding experience, and Petah Tikva Market is definitely worth checking out.
Located on Khayim Ozer Street, Petah Tikva Market (Shuk Petah Tikva) is beyond a fruits-vegetables-spices market. You can also find a large selection of fresh meat, fish, and poultry. In addition, the market has plenty of deli shops, some liquor stores, bakeries, and flower shops. You can even find non-kosher sausages there.
On the nearby streets you can find more stalls and shops selling cheap eats, including ready-made and take-away food.
It is also a well-shaded market, so that you can visit it any time at any weather – even during a rainy day.
Petah Tikva Market is a small market compared to the other open-air markets in Israel. Small it may be, but it has everything you’re looking for. It is crowded (especially on Fridays) and always loud – typical of a Middle Eastern market. This place never fails when it comes to offering an interesting experience for every visitor, providing a good chance to see the poorer but more colorful side of Israel.
Stimulate your senses at the Petah Tikva Museum of Art
Located in Arlozorov Street, this contemporary and modern art museum was founded in 1964, but its building originally opened in 1952 – the first of its kind in Israel. It is currently part of the Petah Tikva Museum Complex.
In 2004, the museum re-opened after a major renovation of its building. The update also included the cataloging of the artwork.
Since the museum was founded, it has proven time and again its ability to stage exhibitions that are sensitive to actual events, current issues, and themes of Israeli society and culture, as well as contemporary universal issues touching in all forms of media, from painting to film to digital media.
Like any museum, Petah Tikvah Museum of Art also holds workshops and community outreach programs and educational projects. Recently, the museum has introduced some newer additions, such as a print workshop. It also has an in-house orchestra whose repertoire “produces a dialogue with art and brings a modern and new spirit to traditional worlds” (according to the museum’s website).
Relax and appreciate nature at Petah Tikva’s parks and green spaces
City life can be hectic and stressful. Fortunately, there are several parks, gardens, and green spaces in Petah Tikva that provide rest, relaxation, and recreation for locals and visitors alike. They also help clear urban air, create safer neighborhoods, and provide a place conducive for events and community engagement. Here are some of the well-known parks in Petah Tikva:
- Big Park Petah Tikva – As the name suggests, Big Park Petah Tikva is a sprawling suburban landscaped park. It is located on Basel Street, between the towering skyscrapers and commercial buildings. The highlight is the tranquil artificial ecological pond, surrounded by wooden walkways, trees, and greenery. It also boasts an extensive kids’ playground, a barbecue area, tennis tables, a roller hockey rink, and restrooms, not to mention those vast grassy lawns that are perfect for picnics.
- Yad Le Banim Park – Located on Arlozorov Street, right in the city center, Yad Le Banim Park is probably the oldest park in Petah Tikva. Through the decades, this charming park has been well-maintained. It boasts ornamental gardens, lawns, two artificial ponds, a shaded kids’ playground, and a zoo, among other amenities and attractions. Yad Le Banim Park is also not too far away from the other playgrounds and two museums (including Petah Tikva Museum of Art). People have actually been wishing for a café to be built within the park’s premises. And so, as of this writing, the park’s administrators are said to be working on a new café.
- Le HaSavyonim Park – Le HaSavyonim Park is located on Moshe Sneh Street – right in the middle of a residential area and closely surrounded by towering apartment buildings. Despite being a small park compared to the other parks in Petah Tikva, Le HaSavyonim Park boasts a large children’s playground, a pond with a fountain in the middle, and even some small man-made mounds (or “hills”). Interesting little park.
- Belinson Park – Located on HaLulav Street, Belinson Park is really designed to be a public garden for families. This small and charming park has an amusement area, a fitness area, and a dog park. The landscape is generally well-kept.
See animals at Petah Tikva Zoo (Gan Hai)
Petah Tikva Zoo (Gan Hai) is located in Moshe Share Street, right in the city center. This 12-dunam (12,000-m2) zoo offers a close-up viewing various animal species. Despite being a small zoo, the open areas and petting corners make this zoo one of the better attractions especially for families with young children. Among the animals you’ll see and encounter in this zoo mainly include wild animals, birds, waterfowl, and reptiles – native and non-native – scattered in the exhibits throughout the garden. In the center of the zoo is a lake and waterfalls. The walking paths are neat, and many of them are well-shaded. There is also a small playground, as well as a museum of taxidermied or stuffed dead animals. Feeding is allowed – at the entrance, you can purchase small boxes with food for the creatures. Reasonably-priced entrance fees, too.
Have loads of fun jumping at iJump
Located on Ben Tsiyon Galis Street, iJump is the place you need to unload and expend your energy. There is a decent selection of trampolines where you can do simple high jumps or elaborate somersaults. Bury yourself gleefully in the sponge pool. When you’re tired and hungry (but satisfied), you can head to the cafeteria offering pizza, ice cream, popcorn, and beverages. The building itself is small, but it has a spacious parking lot. A great and fun place for all, but it’s the best place especially for families with kids.
Love beer? Don’t miss a visit to Jem’s beer factory!
Jem’s popularity has extended beyond cult status. It’s now one of the most beloved Israeli beer brands, although it has managed to keep a relatively low profile. We think that’s good because it means it has maintained the quality of its beers. If you are a beer lover in search of a new and refreshing (pun intended) beer experience, you’ve come to the right place! If you have tried Jem’s before and enjoyed it, it’s motivation enough to visit its factory here in Petah Tikva, where all the brewing magic started. Jem’s opened in 2009, becoming the first kosher microbrewery in Israel. The brewery, located on Leshem Street, has its own pub. You will be amazed at Jem’s vast beer selection – IPA, stout, and dark and light lagers, as well as flavored beers (try the pineapple one – it’s good!). But the 8.8% ABV Belgian-style beer is definitely a must-try. The food is amazingly good, too.
Malls and shopping centers in Petah Tikva
You cannot end your visit to Petah Tikva without stepping inside any of its modern malls and shopping centers. Whether you’re going to actually shop, eat, or just cool your heels, all of the malls and shopping centers in Petah Tikva are fully air-conditioned, providing a comfortable respite from the heat.
Here is a partial list of the malls and shopping centers operating in Petah Tikva (information depends on their availability):
- Ofer Grand Mall – The three-story mall, which opened in 1991, has approximately 100 stores. It also has over a thousand free parking spaces and 30 handicapped parking spaces (Zeev Jabotinsky Street 72).
- Sirkin Shopping Mall – A three-story mall with around 80 businesses and 70 stores (Elazar Fridman Street 9).
- Ganim Mall – A two-story mall opened in 2010 (HaAtsamaut Street 65)
- City Square Mall – An outlet mall (Hovevei Tsiyon Street 46).
- Y Center (Shacham Street 17)
- My Ofer (Yoni Netanyahu Street 29)
- Rom Center (Ya’el Rom Street 8)