HaTachana, Tel Aviv’s Old Railway Station

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HaTachana, the Hebrew name for the old Jaffa railway station has recently been transformed into one of Tel Aviv’s smartest public spaces. Located between the Tel Aviv Beach and Neve Tzedek, the city’s first Jewish neighborhood to be formed outside ancient Jaffa which has become a lively and trendy neighborhood of renovated pastel houses, designer boutiques, and cafes, especially along Shabazi Street, which ends where the HaTachana complex begins. HaTachana has a brilliant selection of cafes, restaurants, and interesting boutiques ranging from fashion, of course, to wooden games, all in an enviably realistic historic setting.

HaTachana was originally built in 1892 as the terminus for the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. When the railway closed, the site fell into decay and was an unused piece of prime real estate. The transformation into what has become one of the city’s hottest spots has not ignored this heritage and the complex includes a jumble of refurbished rail cars, freight terminals and train tracks to nowhere. There’s even a disused cement factory, circa 1905, that has been repurposed as retail space.

One of the most interesting boutiques within HaTachana is the unique souvenir emporium, Made in TLV. The products for sale here are 180 degrees away from your typical tourist souvenirs. There are fantastic razor-thin aluminum wall clocks designed by Ofek Wertman with color facsimiles of the city’s street art, snazzy belts imprinted with images of Tel Aviv by night taken by the Israeli photojournalist Ziv Koren ($65), stylish T-shirts and enough curated curios to keep you happily in extended browse mode. In fact, Made in TLV is perhaps more than a souvenir shop, it represents a city where everything is done creatively and differently!

HaTachana – The Old Railway Station

Every Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight is Unique night, when Israeli designers, artists and concept creators converge for a roofless trade show that’s open to the public. Live music and D.J.’s accompany the exhibitions. But HaTachana has a short night, Thursday night, as the Orbanic (urban organic) market on Friday morning (Friday and Saturday are the Israeli weekend) offers another unique twist to the diverse use of this public space. As the NY Times, put it HaTachana is “like being on the fast track to Tel Aviv’s new-school cool.”

HaTachana is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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