Rishon LeZion (meaning 'First to Zion') is one of modern Israel's first cities and offers a slower pace than nearby Tel Aviv. Its history is soaked in the wine of the famous Carmel Winery (now closed to the public), which is evident in its rustic Old City architecture. Founded in 1882 by European Jewish immigrants, the Old City, which encompasses just a few blocks, is based on Rothschild St and includes the Great Synagogue, built in 1885, a museum, village park, a large water tower and a village well.
The rest of Rishon is a large spread-out suburb, with its cinema complex, restaurants and theme park just west of the Old City down Rabin St. Further west lies the picture-perfect Palmachim Beach. With its grassy sand dunes, ideal for a seaside hike, and its calm waters protected by a natural rocky bay, Palmachim is well worth a day trip.