It all happened over 100 years ago in 1909 when Tel Aviv was founded on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Around 66 founding families decided to participate in a lottery. Each would chose a shell with plot numbers etched inside to determine their plot of land. They began to build their homes. A draining system was built on top of sand dunes to drain the small wadi. They decided to construct on both sides of the street, leaving the center for pedestrians, therefore creating the city’s first boulevard. Originally named Rehov Ha’Am, meaning the street of the people, in 1910 it was changed to Rothschild Boulevard, in honor of philanthropist Baron de Rothschild.
In 1921, Winston Churchill came to visit Tel Aviv. The city, being only ten years young, didn’t have many trees. The people of Tel Aviv were anxious to impress Churchill. They borrowed many trees from surrounding areas and planted them into the middle of Rothschild Boulevard. This became the start of the boulevard as we know it now. Today, Rothschild Boulevard is covered in beautiful trees, bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, playgrounds for children, and benches for all to enjoy.
Rothschild Boulevard holds many of Tel Aviv’s iconic monuments. Independence Hall is located right on the boulevard. This is the site where Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, declared the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Rothschild also had the city’s first kiosk, which is still a coffee kiosk today, and Tel Aviv’s first street light.
Not only is Rothschild Boulevard a location of Tel Aviv history, but it is now a popular and perennially lively area of Tel Aviv. No matter what time of day, whether it’s noon, 11pm or 4am, Rothschild Boulevard always has something going on. Many businesses and startups are located right off of Rothschild as well as hip bars, cafes and tons of restaurants. There are also always street performers giving a show or filming a scene on the active boulevard. For a sense of Tel Aviv history, as well as an understanding of the diverse and active non-stop city, Rothschild Boulevard is definitely a spot to check out.
If you’ve had enough history and want to check out some recommended places to stop and grab a bite to eat or a drink and enjoy some music, try these:
Eat And Drink
To enjoy a variety of salads, sandwiches, or Israeli breakfast while people-watching on Rothschild, Da Da & Da is the spot you’ve been looking for. Enjoy the vibe of Tel Aviv while sitting on the outside terrace with trendy local Tel Avivians. If you are looking for something for a date night or a night out with good friends, Shulchan (meaning table) has a great atmosphere and even better food. Enjoy a good drink right off of Rothschild Boulevard on Allenby Street at Port Said. A great outdoor atmosphere and delicious drinks. Sometimes they have live music at night, a great place to enjoy the hipsters of Tel Aviv.
Explore and Shop
There are lots of museums to check out right along the boulevard. The Haganah Museum has an impressive collection of weapons, documents, and photographs from the Haganah archives and is located in a house once owned by Eliyahu Golomb, one of the founders of the Haganah. Allenby Street is a busy street off of Rothschild with tons of stores for good shopping. Also at the end of Rothschild you will hit Dizengoff Street, which holds Israel’s first mall and many trendy stores.
BuXa is a funky underground bar and a great place for dancing. Or if you are really looking to stand up on the tables and dance while everyone, including the waiters, throw napkins in the air out of excitement, try Billie Jean. For a more low-key bar for jazz and blues lovers, head over to Rothschild 12 and enjoy the nightly live music along with good food and drinks.