Let me start by saying that Tel-Aviv is a vivid colorful city, with many different neighborhoods which every local will define differently. There is no consensus over how the neighborhoods are defined – where they start or end, so the information provided will mostly show my point of view as a Tel-Avivian.
Jaffa – The old city and port
Whenever we have a family guest from abroad we take them to Jaffa. Jaffa is a unique and special spot featuring some of the oldest buildings in Tel-Aviv along with the old Jaffa seaport. The best way to get to Jaffa is the promenade, which has recently been extended so that it takes you all the way into old Jaffa. Some of the must see spots in Jaffa are:
- The Flea Market - The flea market is one of the most charming spots in Tel-Aviv, well, it is actually in Jaffa, but it is the same municipality, so I will give it a spot here as well.. The flea market is spread over two streets in Jaffa, and surrounded by a few other streets with flea shops that are not part of the flea market. What you will find in the flea market is an abundance of “Sharwals” and “Galabiyas” which are traditional arab clothes usually made of 100% cotton as well as a wide selection of backgammon boards and Turkish coffee serving sets.
As in any other flea market, you will also find some antiques (coins, teapots, jewelry), as well as antique replicas.
Price negotiating is very common and is in fact expected of you and from my experience – the best deals can be had only after walking away from the merchant and letting him chase you. Although it may not sound like something you would choose to do, but it works…
- Ali caravan Hummus place - the legendary Hummus restaurant is located on Hadolphin st. and serving the best hummus dish available in Israel. The restaurant is very common, and dining tables are not exclusive (other people will be joining you at the dining table). Opening hours start at 9:00 AM, and end when the hummus or ful are finished (usually 1:00 PM).
- Dr. Shakshuka - located next to one of the Flea Market allies. They mostly serve Shakshuka, which is a casserole of tomatoes, peppers and eggs, served with white bread for the price of 35 NIS a person. It may not be the cheapest meal in town, but it is surely one of the tastiest ones!
- The old Jaffa seaport – not as nice as the new Tel-Aviv seaport, but it is an authentic place with some old boats and strong fish smell. The nice thing about it is that you can take a boat ride along Tel-Aviv beaches from this seaport at approx. 15 NIS per person, and that is always a good option for family entertainment.
- The Ilana Goor museum
Ilana Goor is one of Israel’s most creative, fruitful and successful artiss. In her museum Ilana presents a very impressive private collection that has been hand-picked by her over the years. The IlanaGur museum is situated in the romantic old city of Jaffa at a unique building overlooking the Mediterranean.
4 Mazal Dagim St., Old Jaffa, Tel. 03-683-7676. Bus No: 10, 46.
Open: Sunday.-Friday: 10:00-16:00, Saturday: 10:00-18:00.
- Mayumana – a “stomp” style dance group that is working and performing in a building located between the old city and the seaport.
Neve Tzedek Neighborhood– is Tel-Aviv’s first Jewish neighborhood which is now a trendy little neighborhood with many small boutiques spread all around. There is a very special feeling on the quiet streets, and some unique jewelry shops. At the heart of Neve Tzedek you will find the Suzan Dellal center which is one of the biggest cultural centers of tel-aviv, and home to the Bat-Sheva dance group. Other interesting spots in Neve Tzedek:
- The Nahum Guttman museum – Tel Aviv’s national painter. The museum displays his works, photographs and video films, and that of the Rokach family, pioneers of the area, which has become a museum and memorial, showing a variety of objects, as well as an exhibition of the artist, Leah Majero-Mintz, who renovated the house.
- Suzanna – a very nice coffee shop offering a relaxed atmosphere under the shade of the sycamore and Ficus trees. My personal favorite are the house soups. Suzanna is on Shabazi st.
- Eden cinema – the first cinema in Tel-Aviv, and one of the first in Israel situated at the corner of Pines and Lilienblum Streets.
The city is usually related to as the Tel-Aviv financial center which stretches between Rothschild ave. and Allenbi st. In this area you will also find some nice old buildings that have recently been renovated to house big financial institutes and firms. The TASE (Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange) is on Ehad Ha’am st. and is the heart of “The city”.
A restaurant I would strongly recommend is “Gavriel” on Montifyori st. – a trendy and hip bistro with all the right people.
The New Tel-Aviv seaport
The newest and biggest real-estate entrepreneurship introduced Tel Aviv with a very nice shopping, dining and entertainment district. Home to institutes such as the TLV – Tel Aviv’s biggest club, Shalvata – a very nice laid back beach bar, Mol Yam – Tel Aviv’s finest and most expensive seafood restaurant (average of 500 NIS per person) and others, the Tel-Aviv new seaport has much to offer for all crowds especially during the summer.
Home to the Tel-Aviv University, the Tel-Aviv shopping mall, and Eretz Israel museum, this is a quiet neighborhood, which is considered a prestigious place to live for families. In recent years, many surrounding neighborhoods were established to compete with Ramat Aviv, such as the new Tel-Baruch, and others. All are very nice places to live, but not very interesting to hang out at.
A young neighborhood which I could easily compare to SOHO, including the disgraceful infrastructures and old buildings. It is at the heart of what is called “South Tel-Aviv” and right next to Hertzel st. which is the small business and small manufacturers center for Israel. During daytime hours, the streets are packed and noisy, but at nights and Saturdays I would recommend a walk through these interesting streets.
Hayarkon st. hosts most of the youth hostels in Tel-Aviv, which makes the street quite noisy to start with. For those looking for a tourist location to hang out – Hayarkon st. is your place with many tourist Pubs and clubs.
The main Pubs / Clubs street of tel aviv, with a mixture of Israelis and tourists. During daytime hours it is a very busy street with outlet shops and many buses, while during the night it becomes the nightlife center for young people aged 16-22.
Herbert Samuel st.
The Tel-Aviv boardwalk stretches all along Herbert Samuel st., which is also the main Tel-Aviv hotel strip with all major hotels. Most of the street is bordered by the beach on one side, and hotels on the other.
the equivalent of West Broadway area (SOHO) in Tel – Aviv. It used to be a heavy commercial area with many small manufacturers and dealers, but in the past 12 years all those have left, making room for some nice small boutiques with varied merchandise. Sheinkin is the perfect place to look for a gift if you have no clue as to what you want to purchase – believe me, you will get the ideas there.
the meeting point of Shienkin st. and Allenbi st. is also the starting point for Nahalat Binyamin. The special think about this street is that twice a week – every Thursday and Friday, it becomes the biggest arts fair in Israel, with many local artists selling their products. Nahalat Binyamin is a very nice way to spend a few hours on one of those days, and a good combination is a walk through “Shuk Hakarmel” which is the fresh products market of tel-aviv.
used to be THE shopping street in Israel, but was emptied by shopping malls. Nowadays it is THE shopping street for bridal wear and hair stylists, so that when walking down the north side of Dizengoff street it is very common to see brides being picked up for weddings. If you’re interested in wedding gowns – be sure not to miss some of the street’s most famous wedding gown designers: Danny Mizrahi, Galit levi and Ushida.
For me, it is still a nice street to go shopping, especially since some young designers have made it their store location, and the street itself still has that nice atmosphere it always did.
is the “Champs Elysee’” of Tel-aviv. It is the biggest city square in Israel, with all the top-designer shops around it. As a neighborhood, Kikar Hamedina has always been s a very loxurious place to live.
Nice neighbourhood shopping with some of the best coffee shops in Tel-Aviv. Situates at the “old north”, which is now nearly city center.