Enjoy a few hours at Jerusalem’s newest cultural center
A nineteenth century railway station in the heart of Jerusalem has been turned into a cultural center, perfect for spending an afternoon on a trip to Israel. The railway, which traveled from Jerusalem to Jaffa, was operated by private investors and ran until 1998, but after the War of Independence it ceased to be in demand and was not maintained properly. In recent years, a preservation project has brought back the glory of the train station: the Ottoman-period station building, tracks and trains have all been reconstructed as accurately as possible.
The “First Station,” as it is now called, is open seven days a week and features cafes, restaurants, shops and activities such as Segway tours, hybrid bikes, walking tours, and a kids’ play area. On Thursdays and Fridays, you can enjoy a farmer’s market and a designers fair. An art gallery features changing exhibits of local art. In the mornings you can join a yoga class, and other exercise classes are offered in the evenings.
A recent addition to the First Station is a faux beach, complete with sand, lounges and beach umbrellas. The beach occupies 2000 meters on the northern area of the First Station and includes an 18 meter Surfing Simulator. Food stands, ice cream stands and beach toys will make you feel like you are at an actual beach. Play backgammon, Frisbee or volleyball on the sand. Young children will enjoy arts and crafts workshops and occasional shows.
Before you go, check what cultural events are going on at the station. Films, concerts and a musical welcoming of Shabbat are just some of the entertainment offered in the afternoons and evenings.