The Essential Guide to Tel Aviv

When people who have never been to Israel think of Tel Aviv, they tend to think it’s a provincial Middle Eastern city with slow-motion camels, armed soldiers everywhere, and some ancient Bible-time monuments around. But Tel Aviv is a stylish, completely contemporary Mediterranean metropolis filled with chic and bustling cafes, an exciting culture scene, fashionable trendy boutiques, beautiful lively people and a roaring nightlife.

Yehieli St 5, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 6514946, Israel
I am always enchanted by the beautiful building of Suzanne Delllal Dance and Theater Center, located in the historic neighborhood Neve Tsedek, in the south of Tel Aviv. The Center is home for dance and the premier presenter of Israeli and international contemporary dance companies. There are 4 performance halls, few rehearsal studios and a nice cafe outdoors. I highly recommend to walk around the building and discover some small nice oasis around.
Tel Aviv Marina
Tel Aviv’s shore is 14 km long. A new boardwalk runs along the beach from Bat Yam in the south up to Herzliya in the north. If you want to escape the craziness of the city and unwind for a bit or breath some fresh salty air, head West toward the Mediterranean Sea. There is no better way to clear your thought than staring at the ocean. Tel Aviv beaches are well equipped with plastic beach chairs, wide beach umbrellas, restaurants and of course lifeguards stations.
Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Rothschild Blvd is a real gem of Bauhaus architecture. A tree-lined boulevard with old trees, lined with benches and dotted with outdoor coffee kiosks and some chess tables. This is one of the most charming places to stroll, bicycle and hang out. Along the boulevard, there are numerous historical buildings, which has been renovated lately but still maintain the look and the feel of colonial buildings. The Blvd starts at the outskirts of Neve Tzedek and ends at Habima Theater, the national theater of Israel.
Tarsat Ave 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Habima Theater is the National Theater of Israel. The building, originally from 1946 was in the Bauhaus style and was going through some renovations that lasted for few years. The new building, which contains various halls was opened to the public on 2011. The building contains 4 big halls and a renovated sound system for a better quality of concerts, Shows and dance. The complex by itself is a great central one, worth visiting, even with kids, as they might enjoy the squared gardens in the square.
Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Neve Tzedek, the city oldest neighbourhood is a colorful oasis with an atmosphere that evokes an artists’ colony or a small village. Spotted with colored old houses next to remodeled ones. Lots of great restaurants, wine bars and the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance is there as well. Beautiful both day and night. If you are looking for one of the hot spots in Tel Aviv, this is the place to be
HaCarmel St 11, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
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.
Montefiore St 36, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Though it sits squarely in Tel Aviv’s Lev Ha’ir (the heart of the city), Hotel Montefiore feels almost hidden away, not least because of the fact that greenery shrouds much of the restored 1922 mansion. Gaze out the window of the lobby restaurant (where you should, without fail, order the Tunisian eggs for breakfast) and you’re as likely to find yourself leaf-peeping as people-watching. The hotel feels all the more intimate with its grand total of 12 guestrooms, each cozily appointed with well-stocked book shelves and retro armchairs. The vibe here isn’t strictly old-timey, however. You’ll also find a striking modern art collection and a DVD library that (almost) rivals the book selection. As tempted as you may be to binge-watch or read in your down-draped bed, don’t skip a nightcap in the downstairs bar, which is the picture of international style, whether you’re talking about the crowd or the menu offerings.
Olei Zion St, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
The ever-colorful Jaffa Flea Market, in operation for more than 100 years, inhabits a portside neighborhood of alleyways, covered walkways, and outdoor verandas. Wander the endless market streets to find restored antiques and handicrafts, Judaica and Persian tiles, as well as designer boutiques and art galleries. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it is the perfect spot to sample local fare. Once the sun sets, and the vendors head home, a food scene springs to life—a wonderland of twinkling lights with dozens of trendy restaurants, bars, and chic cafés. (The flea market is called Shuk Hapishpishim in Hebrew.)
Old City, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Jaffa, the oldest seaport in the world, is home to a vibrant multiethnic community of Muslims, Christians, and Jews next to Tel Aviv. Archaeology and ancient documents show that Jaffa has been in existence as a port city for more than 4,000 years and is where Jonah (of Jonah and the whale) set off from. Until recently, the port had become derelict, but after major renovations, it now teems with life and culture, from seafood restaurants and organic-coffee cafés to bookstores and theaters. The Old Port (known as Namal Yafo) is also a sort of artist colony, with numerous art galleries and studios. The views are breathtaking, especially at sunset.
Kalischer St 25, Yafo, 6516505, Israel
Built in the 1910’s, the Big Synagogue in Allenby street is one of the known monuments in Tel Aviv which serves as a cultural and religious center for the many residents in the area. When it was constructed,it’s beautiful dome stood in stark contrast to Judaism’s usually bleak houses of prayer, but the dome is barely visible now thanks to the columns around it. The synagogue is still active and opened to the public and actually getting very popular for weddings and Bar Mitzva’s ceremonies
Ge'ula St 40, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Named after the Belgian monarch who was a personal friend of Mayor Dizengoff, this prominent square is surrounded by some interesting monuments. The Bauhaus-style Pagoda House, now made over as a luxury apartment building, was built in 1924 as a private home. The rooftop ornament gives the building its name. The house attracts a lot of curious people who try to catch a glimpse of its residents. The Pagoda is located off Rotschild Blvd and just across the street of Montifiore Hotel. Stroll the area to discover some great architecture and one of the most high end real estate buildings in Tel Aviv
Yehuda ha-Levi St 79/81, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
“Alon and I are regulars for Friday breakfast. We love their take on the Arab dish shakshuka. In the original, eggs are poached in a sauce of tomatoes and red peppers, but here they use green peppers instead of red, and they add goat cheese.” —Architect Irene Kronenberg
Neharde'a St, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Next time you travel to Israel and interested in an exceptional and different dining experience, I highly recommend to check the new website of EatWith, to book a dinner with locals. EatWith is a global community (started in Israel) that invites you to dine in homes around the world. Connect with amazing hosts, share stories and unforgettable experiences, and enjoy delicious homemade cuisine. In Israel, you can choose between having a local dinner in the Galilee and enjoy the local home made fresh cheese, lunch in an ecological farm, or dinner in an amazing loft in Tel Aviv. The options are wide, the locations are all across the country and the food options vary. This is a great opportunity to try Israeli food, see how the Israeli are hosting their guests, mingle with locals, and meet other people who want to have a different meal experience.
Rabbi Yohanan St 8, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Every time I visit the flea market in Jaffa, I must stop for a cup of coffee or a bite at Pua restaurant. The space looks like a retro apartment my grandparents used to have, filled with furnitures and decorations well collected from the vintage stores next door. Beside the eclectic atmosphere and design, Pua serves a great, earthy and tasty food. Israeli breakfast is served all day (a great plus for those who love a good well-balanced mediterranean breakfast) and the menu changes according to the owner’s desire. Rest asure that every day will be a good one. I highly recommend to make reservations (if possible) or be patient as this place is very busy.
Kalischer St 25, Yafo, 6516505, Israel
While it’s located mere minutes from Tel Aviv’s trademark beaches, the Brown TLV Urban Hotel is decidedly city-centric. Not coincidentally, it’s also in the center of town, surrounded by an array of distinctive neighborhoods like the UNESCO World Heritage-designated “White City,” the old Yemenite area of Kerem HaTeimanim, and the seemingly endless street market that is Nachalat Binyamin. Beyond being a strategically positioned home base, however, the hotel makes for a great escape. Once you’ve explored the city on a free loaner bike, you can retreat to the rooftop hot tub, the indoor-outdoor Garden Bar, the den-like living room, or—if you’ve booked one of the Zen-inducing Relax Rooms—your private balcony, ideally after an en suite spa treatment.
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