Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital of cool, and though there aren’t a whole lot of tourist sites to see, there are so many interesting neighborhoods and markets that you could spend a week here, only dedicating yourself to one small area of the city and still feel like there isn’t enough time. These are some of the best areas and activities you shouldn’t miss when visiting Tel Aviv.
Eat, drink, and shop at Carmel Market
Also known as the Shuk HaCarmel, Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market is the place to come hungry and ready to shop. The market is divided up into sections, some dedicated to groceries, some dedicated to clothes and souvenirs, and some small kitchens and stalls for on-the-go eating. The market is clean, easy to navigate and full of friendly vendors who will be happy to help you pick out something to eat out of a vast selection you can only identify by pointing. Snack on hummus or shakshuka or sit at Beer Bazaar and work up an appetite before making the rounds. Don’t forget to try the babka.
Pro tip: If you want to explore the market with a guide, there’s a free walking tour of the market every Tuesday at 10 am.
Wander through the Old City of Jaffa
Jaffa is the oldest and most picturesque area of Tel Aviv. This area of the city features a ton of art galleries and restaurants tucked into quaint stone alleyways along the Jaffa Port. Walking to Jaffa along the beaches gives you the perfect view of the elevated Old City including its iconic Clock Tower that dates back to the Ottoman period. At the top of the hill, you’ll find gorgeous gardens and a pretty view from Abrasha Park, which overlooks the coastline. Jaffa also houses its own flea market among graffitied warehouses. This is the best place in the city to come if you’re looking for an antique tea set or a stringed instrument.
Hit the beaches
Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean coast is amazing, and the Promenade that runs along the shore has plenty of places to eat and drink, so you can enjoy the sea breeze even if you don’t want to be at the beach. You might also stumble upon weekly events like traditional dance lessons at Gordon Beach, which are free and open to all. Gordon Beach also has an outdoor gym and a pool if the Mediterranean waters are a bit too cold for you.
Like its neighborhoods, each of the beaches in Tel Aviv has its own personality. At Hilton Beach, you’ll find all the gays sunning and listening to loud dance music, just next to the city’s dog beach. Further south, Frishman and Bograshov beaches have the largest stretches of sand. They’re also heavily serviced with beach chairs and umbrellas for rent and people who will come by and bring you food or alcohol. If you’re into surfing, you can find a surf school down at Banana Beach and plenty of waves down at Jaffa Beach.
Enjoy the art and chill vibes of Florentin
The hipster neighborhood of Florentin is all laid back cafes and street art. It’s the best place in Tel Aviv to sit at an outdoor bar and people watch. It’s surrounded by a small industrial area which houses mechanics, artisans and carpenters, every inch of which is covered in street art. You’ll hear machinery whirring around you as you walk around, but don’t be dissuaded. Some cool bars and clubs are also hidden in around the area. Florentin’s neighborhood market, the Levinsky Market is also a popular place for locals to have breakfast and pick up spices or bread.
Stroll through Neve Tzedek
Neve Tzedek is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tel Aviv with a modern facelift. The trendy design area is spotless, beautiful, and stylish. Through main thoroughfare, Shabazi Street, and the surrounding roads, you’ll find cozy wine bars, sidewalk cafes, and modern bistros like Dallal. The Old Train Station, HaTachana, in the area has been repurposed to house art galleries, boutique shops, and eateries like the Spanish restaurant Vicky Cristina. Make sure you get yourself a scoop of Anita’s gelato in the area.
Go drinking and dancing
There’s more nightlife in Tel Aviv than there is hummus. Rothschild Boulevard and intersecting streets Allenby and Nahalat Binyamin are basically never ending stretches of nightlife choices from the loud and the thumping underground clubs like Alphabet to backyard bars like Bicicletta. In the surrounding areas, you’ll find local favorite watering holes like Guest Room and gay-friendly Shpagat. When you finish your night – whether that’s at 2 am or 7 am – you can go have brunch at Benedict, which serves up a full menu of pancakes and eggs with a side of mimosas 24/7.
Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Tel Aviv guides on GPSmyCity here.