10 Best Art Museums in Tel Aviv: Jewish colors, International Fame

By Sarah Mann | Published on 1/24/2024

Tel Aviv’s an exciting, dynamic young city, and as well as its pulsating nightlife, sandy white beaches, and foodie culture, it’s also home to several excellent art museums and galleries, where old meets new and classic meets contemporary.    

Moreover, the city that never sleeps is also home to a thriving street art scene - so if you’re the kind of person who likes seeing art in every place you walk, consider taking a Tel Aviv Graffiti tour, where new creations appear on the walls of the Florentin, Jaffa, and Nahalat Binyamin neighborhoods almost every day.

Whether you’re interested in classic or modern artworks, jewelry design, sculptures, and ceramics, or local street graffiti, get yourself down to some of these spots, to find out what the art scene in the White City is all about!

1. Tel Aviv Museum of Art

When it comes to Tel Aviv galleries, your first stop has to be the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which is the country’s largest art museum and home to a rather impressive collection of both temporary and permanent exhibits. Here you can see masterpieces by Chagall, Monet, Rodin, and Klimt (to name but a few).

art museums in tel avivInside the Tel Avi Museum of Art

The museum also has plenty of temporary exhibits, areas relating to drawings and prints, as well as an entire section related to Israeli art from the early pre-state days. Outside, there’s a pretty sculpture garden, and the museum offers many activities for children. This museum is also a stone’s throw from the Sarona complex and its gourmet food market, which is a great place to wander around and stop for a bite to eat afterward.

2. The Helena Rubinstein/Eyal Ofer Pavillion

An annex of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, this modest-looking pavilion was established in 1959 and named after Helena Rubenstein (founder of the eponymous cosmetics empire). Later on, when the city realized they needed more space, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art was set up and this pavilion was used for housing a library and space for temporary exhibitions which attracted artists both from Israel and across the globe.   

art museums in tel avivOne of the artworks presented in the museum, by Ben Hagari (Image source: The official Eyal Ofer Museum website)

In the spring of 2023, after a substantial endowment was made by the Ofer family, ‘upgrading’ the space to museum requirements, the name was changed to the Eyal Ofer Museum of Contemporary Art. Kicking off a new reign with an outstanding exhibition devoted to Giacometti and his exquisite sculptures, it’s a bright and airy space that is likely to gain itself quite a reputation in years to come.

3. Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art

Just outside of Tel Aviv lies the Ramat Gan Museum of Israeli Art which, as the name implies, is a home to Israeli art in all of its forms - paintings, sculpture, media, etc. Recently it has made a name for itself by unveiling over 200 works in the “B’aretz Ahavati” (In the Land of My Love) exhibition, which opened in September 2023.

art museums in tel avivThe Ramat Gan Art Museum (Image source: Talmoryair CC BY 3.0)

Expect to see works by Menashe Kadishman, Moshe Huperfman, and Micha Ulman, as well as pieces by younger artists. It’s a small museum but well worth exploring if you’re in the neighborhood.

4. Nahum Gutman Museum of Art

This small but interesting museum can be found in the charming Neve Tzedek neighborhood and is dedicated to the artist Nachum Guttman who lived here. Born in Moldova (in what was then the Russian Empire), his family moved to Ottoman Palestine in 1905, Gutman pioneered a distinctly ‘Israeli’ style, moving away from European influences and working in several mediums, including pen and ink, watercolor, oils, and mosaics.

art museums in tel avivImage source: Ran Erde, screenshot from the official Guttman Museum website

The Nachum Gutman Museum documents his memories of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, providing a fascinating glimpse into the lives of both Jews and Arabs living in the area at that time.  As well as this, there are temporary exhibitions relating to photography, sculpture, ceramics, and watercolors, making this a lovely little place to pop into if you’re in the neighborhood.

5. Rubin Museum

Born in Romania, to a poor religious Jewish family, Reuben Ruben moved to Paris to study before emigrating to British Mandate Palestine in the early 1920s. He subsequently became a famous painter, drawing on Biblical themes and landscapes of the Holy Land in what today is known as the ‘Eretz Israel’ (‘Land of Israel’) style.

art museums in tel avivOne of Rubin's wonderful creations (Image source; The official Rubin Museum website)

Today, you can visit the home where he both lived and painted - the Rubin museum is on the charming Bialik Street, just round the corner from the Carmel Market. Inside, there are many of his paintings, including landscapes of Galilee, Tel Aviv from early times, and ‘Jerusalem views’ as well as exhibits from Israeli artists.  Since the studio has been preserved, you get a sense of who he was.  And if you’re going with kids, don’t miss the children’s workshop that operates in the basement.  

6. Adina Plastelina Studio

For anyone curious about jewelry-making techniques, a visit to the Adina Plastelina studio in the Artist’s Quarter in Jaffa is a must. Founded in 2003 by designers Sam and Adi Leder, they found fame using the ancient technique of ‘Millefiori’ (in Italian, this means ‘one thousand flowers’). First used in the 14th century, using colorful glass rods fused together, the glass is pulled to make a thin cane, then cooled and cut into slices, and each piece looks like a flower!

Video source: The official Adina Plastelina website

Using precious metals and polymer clay, these slices are set into molds, reheated, and fused to create unique jewelry.  Adina Plastelina is situated in an old Ottoman building, which gives you an idea of the history of the area, and there’s a small ‘museum’ there too, with antiquities dug up during renovations. Afterward, take a walk by the harbor or stroll across to the Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk ha Pishpeshim’) to search for retro and vintage bargains from local merchants. If you want to explore the area and learn just how marvelous it is, you can always opt for a guided walking tour in Jaffa

7. Ilana Goor Museum

Also situated in Old Jaffa, the Ilana Goor museum was established in 1995 by the artist herself and is home to a diverse collection of works, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, video art, antiques, and design objects. A mixture of pieces designed by Ms Goor herself and objects she collected on the world travels in the last five decades, what makes the museum even more special is that it’s her home and it’s quite possible you’ll bump into her whilst there.

art museums in tel avivThe Ilana Goor Museum (Image source: The official Ilana Goor Museum website)

The stone building itself dates back to 1742 and was used as an inn by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem. By the mid 19th century, it housed a factory that made olive oil and after 1948, part of the structure was home to a synagogue used by Libyan Jews. In 1983, Ilana Goor bought the building, hoping to use it to house her art collection and it seems that dream was realized!  

8. Center for Contemporary Art

If edgy art is your thing, don’t miss the Centre for Contemporary Art, which, is a leading Israeli institution for the commissioning and presentation of experimental modern art in Tel Aviv.  Designed to inspire, reflect, and provoke visitors, it offers a program of exhibits in Hebrew, Arabic, and English and has made a name for itself as a dynamic hub for creative types.

art museums in tel avivDo you like Modern Art? The Center for Contemporary Art will be right up your alley!

Exhibits are changing constantly and are often inspired by a theme or concept put forward by the gallery. It’s all very ‘subculturish’ and an intriguing part of the Tel Aviv art gallery landscape. Even better, the CCA  also offers weekly workshops for children aged 6 and up so it’s a great place to teach young kids about modern art.

9. Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery/Hanina Gallery

The Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery, founded in 1999, recently moved from the historic Rothschild Boulevard to an emerging ‘artists' neighborhood’ in south Tel Aviv named Kiryat HaMelacha, and if you’re curious about cooperative art spaces where old and new Tel Aviv artists come together, this is a place to head.

Housed in a building that was once a Judaica factory, Sommer’s exhibitions feature a mix of prominent local artists, up-and-coming talent, and international artists who have a great reputation.  

art museums in tel avivAn exhibition by Gregor Hildebrandt in the Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery (Picture by Avi Amsalem, taken from the official Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery website)

Nearby is the Hanina Gallery, a collaborative space run by 16 individuals that is not-for-profit and promotes diversity and dialogue in its exhibitions.  

The entire area boasts a diverse scene - it’s full of studios and artisans and today more than 32 galleries are operating in the area.

10. Design Museum Holon

Just a twenty-minute journey from Tel Aviv, the Design Museum in Holon is a spot no modern architecture lover should miss.  Dreamed up by Ron Arad (who was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim classic), the building is created out of Corten steel - six huge bands of metal, almost like ribbons, in dramatic reds and oranges.  

art museums in tel avivThe Holon Design Museum (Image source: The official Holon Design Museum website) 

The permanent collection houses many artifacts, including textiles, lights, furniture, and limited-edition objects. Enjoy four distinct areas - older Israeli designs (from the 1930s until 2000), contemporary design (from 2000 to the present), works by up-and-coming students of design within Israel, and an international contemporary design section. 

The museum itself is small, but is a good place to spend an hour or so, enjoying the constantly changing exhibits and workshops.  The fact that it encourages young designers and students to use the building as a creative resource is even better - and what better place to think outside the box in a space this unusual? 

If you’re planning on traveling outside of Tel Aviv to other popular Israeli spots, we recommend considering professional guidance: Dead Sea tours, Masada tours and guided trips in Jerusalem will enrich your experience considerably. 

For more about our travel company, feel free to contact us by email or phone, and to read about life in Israel, take a look at our blog.