10 Best Things To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel
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It is called “the city that never stops”, and it’s for a damn good reason. Tel Aviv is the live and kicking cultural capital of Israel, and it’s one of the places that you can’t forget.
It doesn’t matter what part of the day it is – Tel Aviv is always full. The streets are full of people strolling or seating in the cafes (don’t they work here?). The shopping malls are big and people go from store to store, adding more bags in their hands (If they spend so much I guess they do work here). On the beaches, people enjoy the sun, exercise, or just walk around. The nightlife is crazy with bars and parties.
Every day in Tel Aviv can look different, and it’s no wonder everyone in Israel wants to move in. I also called this place home for 5 years of my life, and I enjoyed every minute there. Here are the best things to do in Tel Aviv:
Stroll On The Beach Promenades
The long beach of Tel Aviv is one of its most unique and beautiful areas of the city. This is where Tel Avivians enjoy spending their quality time. From laying on the sand under the hot sun (even on some winter days) to running, cycling, or just strolling. You can easily find bathrooms, showers, and chair rentals at popular beaches.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants on the promenade, however, they are touristy and priced accordingly. One of the most beautiful sights here is watching the sun sets into the water. You can either combine this with dinner or a drink or just sit with the locals and gaze away.
If you are not the beach-kind-of-person, just walk along the boardwalk from Gordon beach in the north to Jaffa port in the south and absorb the Tel Aviv lifestyle.
Connect With The Past In Jaffa
Jaffa (Yafo) is in the south part of Tel Aviv and it very different from the rest of the city. The old city of Jaffa is full of gorgeous architecture, coastal views, and local shops, and it’s also a place to dive into history. Napoleon arrived here in 1799 as part of his journey in the Middle East and it goes even further back.
The main attractions here are the port and the alleys of the old Jaffa. There is a stairway that goes all the way from the port up to the hill, where you can find an archaeological site and an amazing view of Tel Aviv coastline. Good restaurants are simply everywhere, offering everything from Hummus to seafood and BBQ restaurants. Outside of the port, don’t miss the clock tower and the flea market, where shoppers can find great deals for local goods.
Tip: In the alleys of the old city, don’t miss Adina Plastelina – a small jewelry shop, with amazing techniques of jewelry creations. Great place for buying gifts for your loved ones.
Visit Tel Aviv Port
The North port of Tel Aviv was revamped in 2001 and became one of the biggest attractions of the city. You can walk on the waterline on a wave-shaped deck, between stores, cafes, and bars. The restaurants are not as pricey as on the beach so it’s a better place for a great meal. From breakfast to dinner, eat and enjoy a relaxing walk in an upscale part of the city.
Tip: Don’t miss Shuk HaNamal for some gourmet foods – olive oils, cheeses, spices, sweets and more, and chef restaurants with great sea view.
Explore The Streets Of Neve Tzedek
Neve Tzedek is crowned with the impressive historical title of being the first Jewish neighborhood outside of Jaffa. This neighborhood has been restored to its former glory and is now one of the places you can’t miss. Spend your afternoon here, right before sunset. Walk between coffee shops and boutiques and enjoy the unique colorful architecture of the low buildings around you.
Tip: The Suzanne Dallal Center, located at the heart of the neighborhood, has been the spot for Israeli and international dance performances. Even if you are not into dancing, a dinner in the restaurant here is an amazing experience, as you dine and feel like in a picture.
Explore Park Hayarkon
Park Hayarkon is the Central Park of Tel Aviv, also known as Ganei Yehoshua. It is the green lung of the city with the Yarkon river running through it.
During the week, People come to Park Hayarkon to exercise, or to spend some time in the sun with their kids. On weekends, you’ll see many families come for picnics and barbeque.
Some of the attractions around the park are the Rock Garden, hosting over 3,500 species of plants, a Tropical garden, and a Bird safari. Across the main street to the north is Tel Aviv’s Luna Park (not open during wintertime).
Pub Crawl on Dizengoff Street
As busy as it gets in the mornings, some streets of Tel Aviv wake up as the sun sets down. After-work hours are when the bars and pubs along Dizengoff and the surrounding streets start to fill up. Sometimes it’s hard to get a seat in the more popular ones and it’s recommended to be there as early as possible.
Happy hour deals are offered almost everywhere, and you can get food and drinks at great prices. As the night goes in, it is recommended to walk from one bar to the other to enjoy the vibes of them all – this is one of the fun things to do in Tel Aviv. Most of the bars have outside seating, usually on high tables, which makes the streets full, loud, and fun. Even if you are not a fan of alcohol, experiencing Tel Aviv nightlife is something you don’t want to miss.
Tip: My favorite bar is the Beer Garden on Dizengoff square.
Shop at Azrieli Center and Sarona Market
Azrieli Center is a complex of three skyscrapers on the main highway of Tel Aviv. The towers are shaped as Triangle, Square, and Circular, with the latter being the second tallest in Israel. The top floor of the circular tower is 360 degrees observatory and on beautiful days you can see a panoramic view of all the coastal lines of Israel. At the base of the center lies a large shopping mall and a small kid-focused amusement park on its roof.
Across the street from the mall you will find Sarona Compound. A 140-year-old templar colony with an interesting history, that these days hosts Sarona Market, a true heaven for foodies. Here you can find dozens of food shops from the best world cuisines, some made by Israel top chefs, alongside clothing, book and shoe stores. Outside of the market, you can walk between the historical buildings, some converted into more restaurants and shops.
Walk On Rothschild Boulevard
One of the few boulevards of Tel Aviv and with no doubt the most interesting one is named of the famous Baron Rothchild.
It starts in the center of the city, in the beautiful Habima Square, where the national theater is and goes all the way to the old neighborhoods of the south. The tree-lined boulevard is also the place to see the Bauhaus architecture, which gave the city its nickname as the White City and recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Rothschild Boulevard has everything from charming cafés, incredible ice cream stores, and lively late-night clubs to historical museums, boutique hotels, and endless charming places to sit and relax. Plan to visit here during the day and also during the night.
Shop at Carmel Market
In the heart of Tel Aviv there’s a magical place called Shuk HaCarmel, Carmel Market. It’s magical because it messes up with all your senses. This is where local action is happening, where the locals come to buy groceries and visitors enjoy some of the best street food, cold juice on a hot day and even clothes and electronics. The vendors have unique ways to attract shoppers and it is part of the experience to hear and watch them. It is the biggest market of Tel Aviv – loud, vibrant, colorful and interesting
Visit Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Palmach Museum
If you want to spend a few hours indoors and avoid the sun on a hot and humid day, I recommend two of the city’s museums. Absorbing some culture and history while spending some time in a cooler place, can’t go wrong.
The Museum of Art is Israel’s first art museum. It is dedicated to the preservation and display of modern and contemporary art from Israel and abroad. The Museum aims to stimulate cultural and artistic dialogue between past and present and to explore both canonical art and experimental endeavors.
The Palmach Museum is where you can get a piece of history (and there’s a lot). Dedicated to the Palmach, the strike-force of the pre-state underground Haganah defense organization, the Palmach Museum commemorates the contribution of the Palmach to the creation of the State of Israel.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the busy streets of the center of Tel Aviv, or the old alleys of Jaffa, you can find some great Hummus restaurant here. Some offer a cultural experience, some will offer a free refill. Each has its unique touch, flavors, and textures. Ask the locals for the closest one and enjoy it.
The culinary scene of Tel Aviv is one of the best and is world-famous. Whatever you choose to eat, you will love it. Either local or international cuisine, fast food, or chef plates in fancy restaurants – Tel Aviv has it all. You’d be surprised that some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv are vegan.
If you get to the city around June, you must take part in the biggest Israeli Gay Pride Parade, which is also one of the biggest in Europe. Thousands of people dance in the streets, with trucks and loud music. Everyone marches together in a big moving party. The parade starts in the city center and goes all the way down to the beach, where the party continues into the night.
If you are short in time to explore more places in Israel when you visit Tel Aviv, make sure to have at least a day trip to Jerusalem. The capital of Israel offers a unique and very different experience than Tel Aviv, and it’s a must-do. It takes about 1 hour to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and it’s easy to use the bus or the train.
Tel Aviv is known for it’s beaches, nightlife, and fancy restaurants. However, this incredible city also has history, culture and art that can be combined in any visit. Whether you come for a short visit only in the city or longer visit while making a tour in Israel, Tel Aviv will be an experience you won’t forget.
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