The Carmel Market is the largest outdoors market in Tel Aviv and sells everything from toiletries, clothes, meat, fruit and vegetables and some delicatessen cheese. Like in a lot of outdoors markets, the fruit and vegetables are displayed in such a way you can touch, smell and sometimes even taste it before you buy. The outdoors markets (shuk) are busy, noisy and crowded but they are also a micro-cosmos sometimes of the country's nation. Markets in Israel are opened quite early in the morning and close around 7 or 8. Friday before the Shabat, is mostly the most busiest days as people in a hurry to get food for the weekend. Saturday Shabat the markets are closed. Almsot every city in Israel has an outdoor market (shuk). Some of the well known ones are: Kerem Hateymanim, a a small neighborhood named after the immigrants from Yamen. The most famous shuk in Jerusalem is Machne Yehuda, which is quite a big outdoor place, very busy with a mix crowd of Jews, Muslim, Christians, Orthodox and seculars. In Haifa the shuk is in the arab quarter in Vadi Nisnas, the market has bakeries, fish and seafood stores and grounded arabic coffee. In recent years some main cities have Farmer markets, which take place mostly on Fridays.
On every trip I love to get the freshest spices and teas to take home with me. Always busy but an absolute "must do" even if you are not a foodie. In this mostly open air market, there is an abundance of local foods, drinks and crafts for travelers to enjoy as you get a true sense of a very vibrant aspect of Middle Eastern culture.
Observant Jews at the entrance of Carmel market in Tel-Aviv buying and selling tefillin. The tefillin contains scrolls of parchment with verses from the Torah. The hand-tefillin is wrapped on the upper arm, lower arm and fingers and the head-tefillin is placed on forehead. According to the Torah, these are worn to serve as a "sign" and "remembrance" that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.
The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv is a haggler's dream. With the exception of the fresh produce, spices, dried fruits, and mountains of gummy candies everything else is the various trinkets and 1980's clothing styles you would expect to find in a tourist area. Which is great if you that is what you are after. What the Carmel Market offers, and really any Israeli open air market, is the opportunity to boisterously haggle down prices. The atmosphere of competition, and the merchandise is your trophy! It is a must-do activity, thrilling. The shop owner wants you to pay 50 shekels for those American flag parachute pants? Demand 10! You will probably end up walking away with those for 25, and you will both be satisfied with the price, the competition, and you'll have his respect as a tough customer. After all, a tough sale is fun for them as well!