Founded in 1878, Petach Tikva means "opening of hope", and was one of modern Israel's first agricultural settlements at the beginning of the Zionist movement. The early settlers drained the swamps in the area and planted orange groves in their place. For decades, it was a major exporter of Jaffa oranges. More recently, the orange groves have been mostly replaced by apartment buildings and industry, as the city grew into Israel's fifth largest city, and its second largest industrial concentration after Haifa.
For those into early Zionist history, a number of the old buildings have been preserved, though they can be hard to find, and the signs describing them are only in Hebrew.
Petach Tikva is not a significant tourist destination. Among Israelis, it has a reputation for being a boring place where there is nothing to do. Young single Israelis commonly make fun of it, saying it's a place nobody would ever want to live. However, when those same people get married and start families, Petach Tikva is one of the top places they choose. The city's population is generally middle to upper-middle class.
Petach Tikva has some of the best medical facilities in the Middle East (including Schneider, the best and biggest children's hospital in the region). Medical tourism to Petah Tikva is popular, especially from the former Soviet Union.
The road to Tel Aviv is often jammed. A subway along this route is being built, which is planned to open in 2021.
Bus routes from Tel Aviv: 1, 50, 51, 64, 238 from Central Bus Station; 38, 66, 82, 138, 166 from the Carmel Market Terminal; 49, 266 from Tel Aviv University.
Shared taxis run along routes 51 and 66, entering Petah Tikva along Jabotinsky road (via Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak) on a 24/7 basis.
- 1 Petach Tikva Museum of Art. Focuses on modern art. The complex also contains the city archives.
- 2 Petach Tikva city zoo.
- 3 Museum of Man and the Environment, Moshe Sharet 16. A museum about the human body, human health, and our impact on the environment.
- 1 Petah Tikva City Market. Open 6 days a week, except Saturday. If you like the sounds, smells, colors and atmosphere of a tumultuous city market, visit the "shuk", located in the city center. This market has every imaginable food and vegetable grown this part of the world (season dependent). Look for figs, passion fruit and other exotic items, all fresh, colorful and tasty.
- 2 Tel Afek (Antipatris) Park. A nature and historic site, including a fortress built in the 16th century. Not to be confused with the Tel Afek which is located northeast of Haifa.
- 3 Yad LeBanim Park (Gan HaAtzmaut, Independence Park). A park which is surrounded by all of Petach Tikva's museums. The park contains a Syrian T-62 tank you can climb on. It was captured in the 1982 Lebanon war, and is part of a memorial for soldiers who died in that war.
- 4 Baptist village. Has some hiking trails and baseball fields. The Israel Baseball League plays here.
For other trails around you can contact the Yarkon Field School ("Beit Sefer Sadeh Yarkon", Tel. 03-9301112) which is in charge of the trail marking of this region.
- 1 City center. A very urban, active area which is the main shopping area in Petach Tikva. Located in the rectangle between the following streets: HaBaron Hirsch/Stampfer; Haim Ozer; HaHistadrut; and Rothschild.
- 2 The Large Mall (HaKanyon HaGadol, Kanyon Ofer, Kanyon Ovnat). A large indoor shopping mall on the Tel Aviv-Petach Tikva road.
- 3 Sirkin Mall. An indoor shopping mall.
- 4 Yachin center. An outdoor retail center
- 5 Yarkonim retail center.
- 6 Segulah retail center. Outside the city, but next to the Petach Tikva-Segulah train station.
Like elsewhere in Israel, restaurants that serve kosher food should have a Kashrut certificate issued by the chief Rabbi of the city. If you are seeking authentic Jewish cuisine that has been prepared in accordance with the Kashrut laws, you should seek out an appropriately certified eatery.
- Paprika, a chain located in more than one place in Petah Tikva, open 24/7. An Israeli improved version of an American Diner with international food.
- Uzbekistan, Slor Street (next to the City's fresh produce market). An authentic folkloristic gastro-experience (non-kosher; menus available in Russian too). Try fillet mignon on a skewer with Kavkaz-mountain spices for 15 Shekels.
- Pizza USA, in front of the city hall on the Chaim Ozer (חיים עוזר) St. is a modest local pizza place which has become, through the years, a kind of famous local institute, because of the unique and delicious taste and texture of its pizzas.
- Shawarma There are many great stands at the center of the town, and they are all great tasting, so if you ever visit Petah Tikva, you should visit one of the kiosks and enjoy the taste of Israel.
Most of the pubs and bars in Petah Tikva are located in the Segula and Ramat Siv industrial zones. Petah Tikva has a popular local brewery with an attached pub called Jem's, but it is closed on Shabbat. Other establishments include Infinity (bar) and HaTzrif (club) in Segula.
There is an HI Hostel & guest house hidden away at Yad Labanim park.