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10 best things to do in Tel Aviv

Sof-Sof (finally) Israel is opening its borders to tourists! Just in time to enjoy the summer and all the fun activities that go with it in Tel Aviv, the City that never sleeps.

Here are a few things you should not miss out on:

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Israeli breakfast

Breakfast in Israel is quite a unique experience. Don’t expect the regular baguette-scrambled eggs-pancakes combo. We’re talking about salads (including the compulsory tomato-cucumber parsley mix), shakshuka (a hot pan with cooked tomatoes, fresh cheese, herbs and eggs), smoked salmon, a selection of breads, roasted vegetables, local cheeses and dips,.. The Israeli breakfast is meant to be fresh, healthy and keep you going for a while! Our favourites:
  • Bucke Cafe | Ahad Ha'Am Street 91 - Just around the corner of Rothschild Boulevard, mingle in this little cafe with the locals coming here to work while having delicious coffee and healthy food. We recommend the Breakfast Tray.
  • Tony and Esther | Levinsky Street 39 - Right next to the bustling Levinsky market, this famous brunch institution is the perfect place to discover the laid-back atmosphere of the Florentin neighbourhood.
  • Manta Ray | Nahum Goldmann Street 4 - Here’s a Tel Avian best kept secret: this famous beachside fish & seafood restaurant offers a delicious breakfast menu until 12:00.
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A break at HaYarkon Park

When you feel the need to escape the frenzy of the city, head to the green lung of the city. About 3,5 square km's large with a river flowing in the middle, HaYarkon Park offers quite some fun mainstream and more special activities:
  • The Meymadion water park: 25 acres of slides and other water fun.
  • A top notch Climbing Wall spread across 40 meters, where you’ll meet amateur climbers as well as professional athletes training.
  • The gardens: the Rock Garden, showcasing different kinds of local rocks alongside thousands of different species of cacti & succulents; and the Tropical Garden, a microcosm of non-local rainforest plants and flowers, as well as a fish lake
  • Bike rentals to explore the park or as a starting point for a guided bike tour of the city.
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Forget about all you know, until you’ve tried Israeli hummus, you haven’t really eaten hummus at all. There’s also quite a ritual that comes with it: the hummus comes hot in a bowl with a choice of toppings (the most regular ones being chickpeas, mushrooms or a boiled egg) and on the side a few balls of crunchy falafels, pickled vegetables, an oignon and a pitta. For the ultimate food-drinks pairing, you should definitely order a fresh homemade lemonade. Now as far as the eating instructions go, you tear pieces of the pita and dip it in the hummus as if you’re cleaning the plate with it. For the braver ones: do the same but with slices of the onion (yep, that’s why it’s there)! Now the one million dollar question: what is the best hummus in Tel Aviv? Ask 10 Tel Avivians and you will get 10 different answers. Here’s an absolutely subjective selection thus:
  • HaKosem | Shlomo Hamelech 1 - 2 steps away from Dizengoff center, this rather upscale and super neat hummus place not only has good hummus it also serves one of the best falafel we ever had.
  • Abu Hassan | Dolphin Street 1 - if you want something more “authentic” head to Jaffa and one of the oldest hummus restaurants in the country. You might have to stand in line but it’s for sure worth the wait.
  • Hummus Eliyahu | Ma’on Street 4 / Levonstin Street 2 / Saron Market - with more than 60 hummusiyas across the country, this one is by far the largest franchise in the country and one of the best recipes for sure. Founded Eliyahu Shmueli, an ex hippie in search of a purpose that went full u-turn: he reconnected with his Jewish spiritually and in his own words “God chose, in my case, to bring my salvation through the hummus.”
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The beach

Well it kind of speaks for itself… With over 6 months a year of bright sun, the Tel Avian beach strip is the place to see and be seen. It also offers endless possibilities of entertainment, the most popular ones being:
  • Matkot: you might have seen people playing beach tennis before somewhere in Europe, but for sure not to this extent... Israelis made it their “national beach sport” and you can hear the familiar “tik-tok-tak-tok” getting louder and louder as you get closer to the water. So enter the closest beach shop, grab a set of wooden racquets and join the local madness.
  • All over the promenade between Aviv Beach and Gordon Beach you will find free workout stations filled with topless golden boys working on their six-pack. 2 worthwhile options: you can either join them or check them out.
  • Standup Paddleboarding, or “SUP” for the cool guys, is about THE watersport in Tel Aviv. The best option for rental of the material by the hour and/or lessons are to be found around Gordon Beach.
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Old Jaffa

Located on the southern edge of Tel Aviv, this old port city has some of the most attractive features of the city regarding dining, shopping and nightlife.
  • The only flea market in the city is to be found in the little streets around the old tower clock. It’s a charming mix of Middle-Eastern findings and old imported European furniture. And when your feet start hurting and your stomach starts growling there are endless lunch opportunities around, one of our favourite ones being Cafe Puaa - Rabbi Yohanan 8.
  • The old port - in fact one of the oldest ones in the world and the setting for many biblical stories and epic battles, most charming at sunset with a glass of white wine and some nice fresh seafood.
  • One of the city’s best kept secrets: The Chapel Bar - Louis Pasteur Street 2. Nestled in the chapel of Jaffa’s old French Hospital now turned into a luxury hotel, this chic and unique bar serves some of the best cocktails in town.
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Coffee on Rothschild Boulevard

For Tel Avians coffee is a religion. Everyone has a favorite and tends to stick to it: expresso, long espresso, americano, the sacrosanct cappuccino - and as Tel Aviv is one of the cities that count the most vegans in the world, you can have it with soy, almond or oat milk of course - or the shahor (black). Don’t get confused by the last one, it’s not a long black coffee but a traditional Arab coffee: boiling water poured on two spoons of ground coffee (sometimes mixed with spices like cloves and cardamom).
  • Rothschild Coffee Spot | Rothschild Boulevard 82: probably the most popular one, exactly in the middle of the boulevard, it’s always crowded with regulars and local celebrities. It’s the perfect place to sit down and watch the passersby.
  • Rothschild corner Allenby: on one of the busiest crossroads of the city, you’ll find probably the tiniest kiosk of the city (only one person can fit in the boot), and the best spot for a coffee on the go. The coffee is good, without fuss and the baristas are super friendly.
  • We like you too | Ben Tzion Boulevard 34: at the end of Rothschild, where it meets HaBima Square, on the left starts Ben Tzion Boulevard (you’ll hardly notice the difference between both Boulevards) and that’s where you’ll find this world famous coffee place. Not for the coffee though... but for the painting with the name of the place on the side of the boot, that you can find in every picture database on the web. Don’t get me wrong, the coffee is delicious, their pastries, cakes and sandwiches are some of the best in the city, and their waiters are the funniest.
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The markets

Israelis like to express their love and hospitality through food, so finding the freshest ingredients is crucial. Also patience is not our strongest feature: we want to find everything we need in one and the same spot… and at the best/negociable prices :) That’s why markets in Tel Aviv are extremely popular.
  • The Carmel Market or HaCarmel: is the largest open air market in Tel Aviv and to be found in The Kerem (the Kerem Hateimanim - “Vineyard of the Yemenites” is an old popular neighbourhood established some hundred years ago by the Yemenite-Jewish immigrants). You will find literally anything here from food to clothes over electronics… but moreover, here, you can experience the essence of Israel: it’s crowded, it’s loud, it’s sometimes... rude, but it is joyful, it is open minded, it’s colorful, it’s friendly and it’s helpful! For the full experience, come on Friday afternoon when everyone is hustling their way through the stalls shopping for their Shabbat dinner or having a drink in one of the numerous popular or authentic bars in the little streets around.
  • The Levinsky Market: is a more laid-back option, nestled in the “hipstery” neighborhood of Florentine. Here you will find no stalls but rather shops and no one will be screaming their prices :) This Greek-Persian influenced market situated on the pedestrian Levinsky street en surroundings is the place to go if you want to bring spices, nuts or dried fruits back home. Or you can also just sit in one of the colorful chairs spread all over the street while trying out some of the best bourekas in the city and sipping a fresh juice (don’t get fooled by the “little spicy”: when they add ginger to your drink, they ad it like they mean it)
  • Nachalat Binyamin Market: not food related but utterly charming, on Tuesdays and Fridays, right next to the Carmel Market, you’ll find the arts and crafts market. Over 200 artists come here to personally present (it’s one of the rules of the committee) their creations ranging from paintings to sculptures over handmade jewelry. So if you’re on the lookout for some original souvenirs or just want to exchange with some local artists don’t miss out on this one!
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Museum hopping

If you can’t call a vacation a vacation before you’ve had your fix of museums, don’t worry, Tel Aviv won’t disappoint! And there’s something out there for everyone: art lovers, history lovers, design lovers, architecture lovers,...
  • The Tel Aviv Museum of Art | Shaul HaMelech Boulevard 27: is not only the biggest art museum in Israel, it also holds the biggest Israeli art collection in the world! Next to its extensive permanent modern and contemporary art exhibitions, of both Israeli and international artists, it hosts many interesting temporary exhibitions, the latest one being “Jeff Koons: Absolute Value”. The spectacular architecture of the building itself is also quite worth the detour.
  • Ilana Goor Museum | Mazal Dagim Street 4: Nestled in an impressive 18th century building overlooking the port in Old Jaffa, this is a one of a kind museum. Not only does it hold the works of sculptor and jeweler Ilana Goor, the owner of the house, but also some 500 pieces (paintings, sculptures, video art, Ethnic Art, antiques, drawings, design items,...) by local and international artists handpicked by her. Get a tour by one of her assistants, you won't regret it!
  • ANU - Museum of the Jewish People | 15 Klausner Street: this brand new museum tells the story of the jewish people, presents the ideological foundations of Judaism and explains the cultural diversity in our actual society in the most fun and entertaining way.
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LGBTQ bars

As we are travellers ourselves, we can tell (more or less) objectively that Tel Aviv has about the best LGBTQ scene in the world. Nowhere have we found such an extensive amount of bars, cafe and lesbian/gay weekly lines. Also notable: there aren’t all grouped in the “gay neighboorhood” but spread around the city next to other hype mainstream places in plain harmony :)
  • Shpagat | Nahalat Binyamin Street 43: this institution of the gay nightlife is situated on the now pedestrian Nahalat Binyamin. The crowd is mixed, though a bit more masculine, except for Wednesdays when it’s Shapagat banot (girls). The DJ’s are excellent, the drinks classic, the snacks doing their job and the staff is known by the whole LGBTQ community. If you pass in front of it you can’t miss it: it’s the only bar that looks like a huge staircase turned towards the street with a set of tables and chairs on each level - to see and to be seen. Of course it also has a terrace and on special occasions the crowd spills over on the street, sometimes creating a “mini gay pride”.
  • Seven Eleven @ Drama Bar | Nahalat Binyamin Street 52: on Monday evening girls take over the Drama bar/club. The whole Tel Avivian lesbian community gathers together, to have a drink with friends in the outdoor patio, look for a future love all over the place or hit the indoor dance floor. The atmosphere is friendly and many come here with their straight BFF’s to enjoy the vibe.
  • Layla | Yavne Street 31: This cool bar right next to Rothschild Boulevard is the latest addition to the Tel Avian nightlife. Many were very exited about this opening as it took over the space of the late Evita, one of the first Tel Avivian gay bars, closed 5 years ago. With its good vibes, nice food and fun drinks, it's a great place to meet locals and start the night before you go clubbing.
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Gay clubs

The clubbing scene in Tel Aviv is quite something and the reputation of a city that never sleep is well earned: go out in the streets any day of the week at 2am and you’ll feel like the night is still young. You can basically find a gay party any day. Also whatever your musical preferences are, whether you’re more into “guys only” parties or prefer mixed parties, if you are a cis guy or more queer identyfing (or not identifying at all), there will always be something for you out there.
  • Dreck: This popular party is all about good-natured atmosphere. You have both a free Wednesday party, with a different theme every week and a monthly fun/hip-hop party on a Friday.
  • Forever TLV - HaOman 17 or The Block: with its famous DJ’s and hot crowd, this bimonthly party has made quite a name for itself, luring partying gay crowds from all over the world and even exporting the concept to Madrid, Rio, London and New York. Come and experience firsthand!
  • The Beef: if you’re looking for Sin City in the Holy Land, this is it! Come and cruise your way around this fetish-oriented monthly gay party.
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