Top 5: Places in Israel to celebrate 4th of July

It's easy to mark US Independence Day in Israel when there are so places and events at which to do it; here are some of our best picks.

July 4, 2013 10:55
4 minute read.
US, Israel flags.

US and Israel flags 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Just because you find yourself in Israel on July 4, doesn't mean that you can't celebrate US Independence Day. There are various places with an American feel as well as specific events that are worth checking out if you want to get in the spirit. See our pick of some of the best places to check out.


Last summer, a new bakery opened on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. The NOLA American Bakery brings to Israel the best of classic American baked goods. NOLA (an acronym of New Orleans, Louisiana) is the result of the hard work of Talya Rasner, a young entrepreneur with a deep emotional connection to American cooking and baking.

As a descendant of a Jewish immigrant family in the US originating in Eastern Europe, she remembers the flavors of this unique cuisine from her childhood and is now proud to offer it in Israel.

Harriet Sternstein, an American pastry chef from New York, joins Rasner in her new venture, where every day she prepares a tempting array of freshly baked pastries, including brownies, cinnamon rolls, classic American cheesecake, cupcakes and muffins.

In addition to its well-known and popular pastries, NOLA prepares specialty New Orleans style muffins, including pecan pie, Mississippi mud pie, Leah Jean’s munchies, Doberge cake, corn bread and sherry poppy seed cake.

Mike's Place

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mike's Place is good food, free live music, great beer and an "international" atmosphere. Mike's Place is that non-stop hangout we've all come to love over the years. It seems that Mike's Place has been around forever, and the story of its humble beginnings back in 1993 plays a big part in what makes this place such a success in Israel.

Today, Mike's Place has three locations in Israel:  Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Ramat Hayal. It all started in Jerusalem when Mike, a retired photo-journalist opened a cozy little bar in downtown Jerusalem. The pub had such a laid-back setting that people often mistook Mike's Place for a private living room.

From its early days, Mike's Place attracted all sorts of individuals from locals, travelers, foreign students, immigrants, diplomats, soldiers, UN personnel, Arabs, Jews, and Christians. There was something about Mike's Place that was the perfect setting for a fun, laid-back atmosphere where people came together to talk, mingle, and watch sports over a cup of beer.

Mike's Place was one of Jerusalem's best kept secrets, and was one of the first bars in Israel to serve Guinness on tap creating much hype and had customers lining up each night. Throughout the years, Mike's Place has stayed true to its roots with a mix of live blues and rock-and-roll, with no cover charge. The pub is open from the early morning hours until the last customer, and offers a rich kosher menu with a variety of American, Mexican and Italian dishes. Mike's Place lives up to all international standards, with a selection of beers from around the world, both on tap and in bottles, and a cocktail menu that has a variety of drinks for everyone. If you're up until later-than-usual-hours then stop on by at Mike's Place for Happy Hour; who knows you might meet some friendly new faces.

Alicia Keys
concert in Tel Aviv

American superstar Alicia Keys, one of the leading musical artists of the last 10 years, will be performing in Israel for the first time on the birthday of her country – July 4th.

The winner of 14 Grammys will perform at the Nokia Center as part of her Set the World on Fire tour in support of her new album, Girl on Fire. In the decade since her 2001 debut – Songs in A Minor – Keys has established herself as a premier singer/songwriter, capable of fiery R&B, soul and artful piano ballads.

“I’m in love with this album,” said Keys in a statement released before the show. “And I’m excited to go to new places on this tour, among them Tel Aviv. I plan on bringing with me a show full of emotion and inspiration. It’s a brand new me,” she added, referring to one of the hits singles from the album.

American Embassy celebrations

For those not lucky enough to have received an official invitation, beginning at 7 p.m., the US Embassy invites people to view online all the excitement of the annual 4th of July party, straight from the Residence of US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro.

Viewers will get the chance to be there as guests arrive, see Dr. Eric Huntsman sing the "Star-Spangled Banner," Hagit Yassu sing "Hatikva," and the US Ambassador, President Shimon Peres, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu deliver their remarks.

Musical entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by an ensemble from the Israeli Conservatory of Music and the US Military Band "Winds Aloft."

The embassy encourages viewers to interact with them by sharing impressions of the night's events.

Rishon Letzion Symphony Orchestra

In honor of the celebrations, the Rishon Letzion Symphony Orchestra is holding a special concert, with American conductor Hampson Sisler.

The concert is a festive composition celebrating Israeli and American songs – a work written in memory of Ed Koch.

Audience members will be able to enjoy highlights such as Leonard Bernstein’s prelude for “Candide” and “Four Fantasies on American Folk Songs, by Douglas Townsend.​

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