University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Another week has passed here in Haifa, and the weather is starting to heat up (finally)! Last weekend was packed with Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem with barely any time to sleep. So I decided to take this week to unwind and relax. Part of that relaxing is getting to know Haifa more. I do not want to treat Haifa just as a place where I go to class and sleep, but as the city that is my home for these four and a half months. It is a beautiful, diverse city and deserves just as much attention and excitement as I give to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
So here are five iconic (albeit slightly touristy) places to go in Haifa!
Alright, so this is like the ultimate tourist attraction for Haifa. In my defense, this gold-domed building and its surrounding greenery is like a snapshot from paradise. No wonder it dominates every single Haifa postcard. Whether day or night (when the gardens have a multitude of twinkly lights), Baha’i adds a sense of grandeur to that part of Haifa. The view of the garden from the top is equally or more awe-inspiring than the view from the bottom. Unfortunately, you are only allowed to enter the premise with an official Baha’i volunteer. Also, around the corner from the gardens is a beautiful white building designated as the Baha’i Library. Although non-Baha’i are not allowed to enter, the library is quite a sight to see from the outside.
So right below the Baha’i Gardens is Ben Gurion Street, which is the center of the German Colony. The German Colony was established quite some time ago, and originally consisted of European style houses. I won’t bore you with the history (more like I am not completely sure of the history), but the street has been converted into a tasty array of restaurants, ranging from Lebanese, to Japanese, to Italian. Although the restaurants tend to be on the pricier side, the view and ambiance is definitely worth a meal there.
This is the Christian-Arab neighborhood within Haifa. I may be wrong, but I was told that it’s one of the older (if not oldest) neighborhoods in Haifa. This area definitely has a feeling of history with its stone buildings, and small vendors. Today, many artists make their mark on the walls and buildings of Wadi Nisnas, filling the space with color and culture. Along with the artwork, Wadi Nisnas is up to the brim with hookah shops, amazing falafel/shwarma shops, Arab grocery stores, and candy stores.
Hadar is an area in Haifa known for its Shuk (market) and Herzl Street. The Shuk has freshest produce, and cheapest prices (from what I know). Although it can sometimes be hectic trying to find everything on my grocery list, it’s a fun experience going from stand to stand and attempting to haggle. Plus, the fruits from the Shuk are the freshest and sweetest (especially the strawberries)! Herzl Street is known for the number of clothing and food shops. You will also find a mishmash of other types of establishments. In fact, two of my friends got their noses pierced in a small tattoo/piercing parlor in Hadar.
The Carmel Center is literally the center for anything and everything you would need. I cannot count the number of times I have gone to the Carmel Center for grocery shopping, eating out, clothes shopping, and hanging out with my friends. It has all the essentials and is only about a 30 minute bus ride from the university. Although this is not a prime destination spot for tourists, it is very useful for any college student in Haifa. Better yet, you can get some amazing (and cheap) falafel and shwarma in a small shop next to the main bus stop!
I am still learning so much about Haifa. In fact, I am going to the hanging bridges in Nesher Park for the first time tomorrow!