Discover our pick of the best places to visit and things to do in Tel Aviv, Israel today.
Originally known as Tel Aviv-Yafo, this cosmopolitan city is Israel’s economic and technological center, located on the Israeli Mediterranean coast. Although the majority of the population was not long ago made up mostly of Jewish refugees in the area known as Jaffa, today its great growth in the second half of the 20th century is noticeable.
Leading Attractions in Tel Aviv
If your time in Tel Aviv is limited, make sure to add these to your itinerary:
Old Jaffa and the Jaffa Port
The Old Jaffa and the Jaffa Port are the best way to start exploring Tel Aviv. The Old City of Jaffa is the historical part of the city of Jaffa, located in the northwest. Much of Jaffa was rebuilt post the Napoleon war and the earthquake in 1837. Right after that, the wall of Jaffa was dismantled with an objective of expansion, the city began shifting towards eastwards, and the Old City remained the same which was then emancipated as the cultural center of the city.
There are many local tours available or you can take one by yourself. There are many places that you shouldn’t miss – the ancient alleys such as the Zodiac alley with shops and buildings that have an aesthetic touch to it, the Summit Garden and the Faith Statue, the St. Peter’s Church is truly an amazing delight to spot which is often nicely decorated, and of course, the Clock Tower and the area around it, especially the flea market nearby is a great place to explore which has recently included a new attraction – the Jaffa Express where you can travel around in a virtual train and explore the city.
Strolling through the Old Jaffa Port is truly fascinating, many of the old hangars have been converted into spaces where often art and cultural exhibitions take place, you get to witness some amazing ones reflecting the culture of the city.
The Neve Tzedek is a Jewish neighborhood outside the ancient walls of Jaffa and a quite exciting place to explore. It has a unique atmosphere filled with creativity wherein many cultural centers are named after the artists who lived there such as the Suzanne Dellal Center and the Nahum Gutman Museum(a famous painter and a writer). All these people have contributed to this neighborhood to give its specialty.
This place has a significant part to play in Tel Aviv’s history as well. Here you can find the house of Israel Rokach who was the city’s first mayor, the house of Aharon Chelouche who was the founder of the neighborhood, and many other historically significant places. Apart from that, the picturesque alleys set a striking vibe and there are plenty of trendy art galleries for art enthusiasts to enjoy their time here. The cultural center hosts a number of performances and festivals which you need to check out if you come across a chance – they throw light to the amazing artistic nature of this small neighborhood.
The Carmel Market and Nahalat Binyamin
HaCarmel St 48
The Carmel Market is known to be a mini Israel and you truly cannot miss this popular attraction. In fact, it is the cultural hotspot of Israel where different vendors bring in the diversity found in Tel Aviv. Just like the Middle Eastern style souqs, this market is flocked by tourists as well as the locals who shop here for some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, and aromatic spices, all at superbly affordable prices.
It was opened in 1920, approximately eleven years after the city was formed, and has been an essential part of the history of Tel Aviv. The narrow streets are usually busy filled with locals most of the time and hence visitors might feel a little overwhelmed if they are visiting for the first time.
Nahalat Binyamin is an adjacent pedestrian mall known for artistic crafts on sale and special street food. The craft stalls open every Tuesday and Friday and in the evenings, the marketplace is also a popular spot to explore the nightlife with many bars and pubs opened up for their customers.
Located in the financial heart of Tel Aviv, Rothschild Boulevard is one of the iconic streets in Tel Aviv. It is a commercial center and a cultural center housing the main theater and concert hall in Tel Aviv. Also, it holds some of the best restaurants with amazing coffee booths where the richest in Tel Aviv often stop off to grab a drink.
The street was originally named Rehov HaAm – meaning ‘the street of the people’. The street is lined with Bauhaus Buildings, a feature that led to its recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of them have rich histories, one of them being the Independence Hall, where Israel’s Declaration of Independence was signed in 1948. Exploring the boulevard is truly a beautiful experience for observing its spectacular architecture and some trendy streets.
Dizengoff St 50
The Dizengoff Center is Israel’s first shopping mall located on either side of Dizengoff street that is connected with skywalks and underground tunnels. This is however not just another shopping mall, it has a different worldview combined with innovation, values, and preservation.
On the rooftop is the center of Urban Sustainability which is a greenhouse for growing vegetables using a hydroponic method. Innovative isn’t it? Also, there is a biodynamic bee center, a butterfly garden, and many other initiatives taken for urban sustainability.
Speaking of the mall, the center holds some of the best designer shops in the city available at a range of prices. It also holds a food fair every Thursday and Friday which is extravagantly versatile with samples of food from all over the world.
Top beaches in Tel Aviv
A short time visit is enough to understand why beaches are the place to see and be seen in Tel Aviv. Here are some of the best ones.
The Cliff Beaches
This characteristic beach is divided into two: the North beach and the South beach. Its main feature is its sandstone type of structure. This beach is less visited by families and more by adventure lovers. Perhaps, you can enjoy great sunset views and great cafes, even hot showers are there down the slope.
Tel Baruch Beach
This is slight to the south side of the Cliff beach which has undergone a major renovation in the recent few years. A promenade and a bridge have been built here through which you can reach the Tel Aviv Port. There are special areas dedicated to things like barbeques, dog-walking, all forms of water sports like kayaking, surfing, kite-surfing, etc.
Peepers Beach (Mezizim)
This is a great place for finding celebrities. It is adjacent to the south side and also underwent a serious upgrade with access to multiple functionalities. You can find hot showers, showers for babies, sports courts, a beach library, a games corner, and every other thing you need to enjoy your day at the beach. This is also made equally accessible for handicapped people as well, it includes audio directions to the beach. It was famous for having a Rami Meiri’s graffiti popularly known as ‘Peeping Toms’ (from the iconic Israeli film ‘Metzitzim’) that was recently removed.
This beach is the widest and the preferred one by tourists in Tel Aviv. In addition, the city’s elderly population also like hanging out here due to it being adjacent to the Gordon swimming pool. It also has a diving school for learners. Athletes can also make use of the professional scale on the beach. On Saturday evenings, there are folk dance shows set up on the dancing floor.
The Frishman and Bograshov Beaches
Popularly known as the French Beach, this place is also preferred by many tourists due to its close proximity to the promenade and hotels. The name comes from the fact that the principal language spoken here is French, especially the Frishman beach (where the famous rainbow-colored Dan Hotel is located). On the Bograshov beach, there is a memorial to the “Altalena” immigrant ship.
The Jerusalem Beach
This beach is popular for beach sports like football, volleyball, badminton, tennis, etc. In fact, they say you better enter with a racquet in hand for protection against flying balls. The southern part of the beach is dedicated to Kite surfing.
The Hilton Beach
One of the favorite beaches for the gay community in Tel Aviv, it has an international reputation and is ranked as one of the best gay beaches in the world. It attracts a lot of singles, both straight and gay, and you can find all the Who’s Who in the area.
Go on a walk through Tel Aviv’s promenade for a taste of its beaches right now:
Unmissable restaurants in Tel Aviv
Famous for its interculturality, Tel Aviv offers such a wide range of world cuisines that it would take a very long time to discover them all. Here are some of the best spots in Tel Aviv for eating out.
Nachmani St 36
Tel Aviv has a lot of vegan restaurants. Bana offers a host of choices including Ethiopian and Indian style cuisine and vegetarian options as well. The vegan sushi is a delight, and vegetarian burgers and pizza are as delicious as the non-vegetarian ones.
Some of the peculiar dishes to look out for are burnt eggplants, fresh gazpacho from cherry tomatoes, caramelized peaches, and roasted mushrooms. Enjoy the breezy courtyard with some good music and ambiance.
Brodetsky St 17
You can enjoy high-quality food in a relaxed and calm environment and a quiet neighborhood. There are menus and options for each preference – vegan, gluten-free, omnivorous, vegetarians. The best part of this restaurant is that you get a personal touch on every menu.
They bring down influences from the Persian, Italian and Greek communities creating a unique culinary language. There is also a different highlight to this place – the “after-birth pot” service that is specially made for new mothers and their food preferences.
Uri Tsvi Grinberg St 25
This is a recommended Greek restaurant with authentic Greek cuisine which has also made a fusion with Israeli cuisine. There is a large terrace open to the sea and you can enjoy it with some beautiful flavors of seafood, vegetables, and seasoning to fill your plate.
Best nightlife spots in Tel Aviv
True to its Mediterranean location, Tel Aviv definitely knows how to bring its nights to life.
The following are some of the best clubs to visit and things to do in Tel Aviv at night.
Ijo & Babet
Dizengoff St 141
This is a cocktail bar known for amazing bar food on Dizengoff Street. It has a very lively atmosphere and food for every community – the vegans, the vegetarians, the hamburger lovers, the cocktail fans with a pleasant service as well.
There are many other cocktail bars such as Spicehaus which sell cocktails with a dash of creativity to it. Abraxas is another bar on Lilienblum street that has a trendy atmosphere with good music, alcohol, and dancing.
The Shablul Jazz Club
Carlebach St 23
Show club that regularly hosts jazz shows from Israel and abroad.
There are many other clubs like this one, such as the Barby Club (Kibbutz Galuyot Rd 52), which features shows by veteran Israeli musicians, and The Zone (Ha-Rekhev St 13), which also hosts local music shows, happy hours, and open mic nights.
The live music shows called Jaffa Nights that take place at various venues in the flea market and the Greek market are perfect for summer nights in the unique setting of this area of the city, famous for its street performers, cafes, and restaurants. From time to time, the Tel Aviv nightlife also offers magic and comedy shows.
Lecture at the Bar
Interested in philosophy amidst the ambiance of a bar with a glass of cold beer? Lecture at the bar is where you would get to learn the philosophies of Spinoza and Nietzsche via documentary films and ways. This is an attempt by the local community to bring humanity together via academia.
Shlomo Ibn Gabirol St 30
The Tzavta club is the home of Israeli culture located opposite the Cameri Theater. You can enjoy the nightlife here with plays, music, and comedy shows to entertain you and a nice evening meal to end your day.
Must-visit museums in Tel Aviv
Fans of history, art, and culture; Tel Aviv has your back.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
The Golda Meir Cultural and Art Center, Sderot Sha’ul HaMelech 27
This museum is the biggest highlight of Tel Aviv along with the Eretz Israel Museum. The Art Museum showcases the work of some of the best artists in the world such as Mark Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and more.
It has a changing as well as a permanent section of exhibitions containing paintings, architecture, performance art, etc. but the main focus here is on contemporary art. The building also has environmental sculptures which in itself is an attraction.
Eretz Israel Museum
Chaim Levanon St 2
It is located in the northern part of the city and not limited to showcasing art but also displays exhibitions of Israeli culture from the past and the present. You’ll find ancient artifacts including mosaics, wine presses, etc. Among the permanent exhibitions, there are collections of glass and copper vessels as well as handicrafts from the past. There is also Israeli art in the form of paintings and other artifacts that takes you back to the old times of Israel.
Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot
Tel Aviv University campus in Ramat Aviv (temporarily closed – Dec 2020)
Eretz Museum is dedicated to the geographical area of Israel, the Museum of the Jewish People has art around the Jewish culture. It gathers influences from the various aspects of Jewish culture and the connection between the jews and other people. Information is given in many forms like music, family trees, pictures, and videos.
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Make sure you put on your list at least a handful of the fun things to do in Tel Aviv listed above and if you have any other ideas, please get in touch by sending an email to aworldtotravel @ gmail . com. We’d love to keep this Tel Aviv attractions list as updated as possible.