Culture, Leisure and Sports for all Tastes
As befits Israel's third largest city, Haifa offers a wealth of excellent entertainment and leisure activities for every age and inclination. Some of these activities are in English.
Cultural Life and Entertainment: Haifa has very rich and excellent cultural resources. The Municipality of Haifa's many Cultural Centers have a wide range of programs for all ages and tastes. The Haifa Municipal Theater, with its own beautiful building, has excellent productions, some with English translations available. The Haifa Symphony Orchestra, with world acclaimed maestro Noam Sheriff, is the most significant musical institution in the north of Israel and has recently expanded its activities throughout the country. Haifa is one of the three homes of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with year-round performances. The Haifa Cinematheque is a thriving institution which conducts an international film festival every year attracting both tourists and local citizens.
Public Libraries: Haifa also boasts a well-developed network of public libraries, including children's books and books in English, which are available for public use. The libraries sponsor cultural activities and some feature a children's hour. Aside from books, Haifa also has a library of musical works and one of art works. There is a large English language adult fiction library sponsored by the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) in Moadon Europa at 55 Moriah Blvd on the Carmel. For hours and details call Rayla at 04-8374744.
Museums: The many museums in Haifa include: National Museum of Science, Technology and Space, Hecht Museum, University of Haifa (Archaeological and Art Museum), Shtekelis Prehistory Museum (Archaeological Museum), Janco - Dada Museum (Art Museum), Mane-Katz Museum (Art Museum), The Haifa Museum of Art, The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum (Historical Museum), National Maritime Museum (Historical Museum), Dagon Grain Museum, Israel Railway Museum.
Other unique attractions which Haifa offers:
An excellent amateur English theater, The Haifa English Theater
(HET) with performances for the general public two or three times a year.
Haifa has a thriving Cantorial School, one of only three in the country which hosts regular Hazanut concerts.
There are active branches of all the large volunteer organizations in Haifa, including an English-speaking Hadassah chapter.
Haifa is home to Israel's only subway, the Carmelit, plus a cable car from the top of the mountain to the shore.
A large 23 theater multi-plex has recently opened in the Haifa Bay's Lev Hamifratz complex, supplementing the already considerable number of movie theaters in Haifa
Community and Cultural Centers: Haifa has a large number of municipal cultural and community centers as well as others associated with The Israel Association of Community Centers. Almost every neighborhood has its own community center, many of them located in schools, and they offer activities for children, adults and seniors during all hours of the day.
Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Cultural Center is of special interest. It has been in existence for more than 40 years and it reflects Haifa's unique spirit of peaceful coexistence.
The Haifa International Convention Center, located at the southern entrance to the city, is a large and active facility which draws many conventions and exhibitions, international and local, to Haifa. The Auditorium on the Carmel, the Krieger Center, the Churchill auditorium at the Technion, several auditoriums at the university and many others all assure a constant flow of performances, concerts and other cultural events.
Tourist Attractions: Haifa's main tourist attraction is the Bahai World Center with its world acclaimed gardens, which are sculpted into the mountain and form a stunning backdrop for many Haifa areas (recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List).
Haifa has many other general tourist attractions and things to do and its rich menu of cultural activities provides ample opportunities for enrichment and entertainment for every taste and age.
Parks (ganim) are an important feature of Haifa's green environment and can be found in almost every neighborhood – usually containing a small playground.
Some of the larger parks include:
Gan Ha'em on the Central Carmel
Gan Binyamin and Gan Hazikaron in Hadar
Park Hecht (named after Dr. Reuven Hecht, one of Haifa's leading citizens).Haifa's largest park area, which is parallel to the coastal strip and offers a range of leisure time activities for the whole family.
The Louis Promenade on the Carmel overlooking Haifa Bay, and the Bat Galim Promenade on the waterfront are additional spots that offer delightful recreational opportunities.
For more information on Haifa's cultural and leisure time activities see Virtual Tourist site.
The Haifa Municipality is vitally concerned with the maintenance of fitness and health for all its citizens. It provides sports centers and equipment for a full range of activities. In addition, there are private sports clubs and country clubs and community centers which offer Haifa's citizens the chance to enjoy and benefit from physical activity.
There are a number of large sports complexes in Haifa. The Municipal Haifa Sports Stadium - Heichal Hasport- in Romema is an indoor arena located on the main road from Ahuza to Nave Sha'anan and it hosts many championship matches, basketball games as well as running a full program of sports activities for children and adults.
There are also many private sports clubs in Haifa, some representing teams (Maccabi, Hapoel) and some are public facilities ranging from country club style to work-out meccas. There is a large soccer stadium in Qiryat Eliezer which is the site of many national and international soccer matches and is currently beginning a major renovation and there is a large soccer stadium in Qiryat Hayyim. Haifa sponsors numerous sports teams, both adult and children's leagues, and has a youth soccer school for talented youngsters.
Haifa's extended Mediterranean coast includes many kilometers of beautiful, clean and safe beaches. In season, they have full lifeguard services and also offer dressing rooms, showers, toilet facilities and some areas of shade. There are public and private indoor and outdoor swimming pools in many of the sports complexes in Haifa; some of the largest are at the Maccabi club on the Carmel, at the Technion and at Bat Galim Beach. Most swimming facilities in Haifa also offer limited separate male and female swimming hours.
Haifa is one of the best places in Israel for windsurfing. The Surfing Club is in Bat-Galim not far from the lower station of the cable car. The Bat Galim Beach website supplies surfers with a webcam view of the waves and statistics about that day's wave conditions. Sailing is also a big sport in Haifa with its own Sailing Club .