Tel Aviv is having its moment in the sun right now, with a booming local food and culture scene, hot nightlife, and fun vacation options. From rest and relaxation by the beach to crazy parties at night and countless business opportunities for the more serious traveler, Tel Aviv is where you need to go next.
The Amazing Beaches
As one of the coolest beach cities in the world, the beach is the first reason you should come to Tel Aviv, and especially Jaffa. Tel Aviv’s shores offer everything from sunbathing and playing matkot, to renting out beach chairs or even splurging on some proper R&R in a fancy hotel. You’ll find countless places on the beach front offering drinks or dinner with sea views, and a very smart website called Mishlohof now offers take-away directly to your beach towel.
To Visit Jaffa
Jaffa is one of the world’s oldest port cities, with a history of over 2,000 years. Today it is a multiethnic mix of old and new, and although it is predominantly Muslim, Jews and Arab Christians live side-by-side. Check out Jaffa’s amazing Old City and walk its winding streets to the recently renovated port, where you can buy fresh fish straight out of the sea at restaurants like The Old Man and the Sea.
Tel Aviv is a foodie city with a booming restaurant scene. From amazing chef restaurants to trendy hipster bistros to the best of Middle Eastern street food, Tel Aviv has it all. For the best hummus go to Ali Karavan (known locally as Abu Hassan) in Jaffa; for high-end food head to the Taizu; or for something local and trendy go Port Said or Santa Catarina in the Big Synagogue Plaza on Allenby Street.
Hummus Ali Karavan/Abu Hassan, Ha-Dolfin St 1, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972 03-682-0387
Tel Avivis like to think of themselves as the new Berliners, the “it crowd” of the non-European west. Despite their super fashionable attire, Tel Avivis still have their feet firmly planted in the Levant. The perfect mix of style and gall, your average Tel Avivi will gladly help you out with recommendations or directions — and if you get us drunk we will make you laugh.
The Bustling Nightlife
Tel Aviv’s nightlife is infamous, especially when the city goes rainbow for the gay pride parade. Parties rage throughout the week, and rarely start before midnight. Techno or Afro-Cuban, gay or straight, dance yourself silly to all kinds of music when the sun goes down at clubs like The Block or the Bootleg. For something a bit more underground, head to Jaffa’s Anna Loulou or you can always just grab a drink at the Minzar to feel like the locals.
The Block, Shalma Rd 157, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972 03-537-8002
Bootleg, King George St 48, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972 052-805-4448
Anna Loulou, HaPninim 2, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +97203-716-8221
The Minzar, Alenby St 60, Tel Aviv-Yafo, +972 03-517-3015
Its Rich History
Though cosmopolitan in nature, Tel Aviv is an historic city. Just over a century old, Tel Aviv tells the story of Israel and its birth, the urban manifestation of an early vision of Israel based less on collective values and more on secular and liberal individualism. Check out the beautiful Neveh Tzedek neighborhood or head to the Yemenite Quarter to see the Tel Aviv of yesteryear.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Tel Aviv’s so-called White City offers one of the most unique and extensive collection of Bauhaus, or International Style, architecture. The center of Tel Aviv offers countless examples of the German-derived architectural style of the early 20th centyry, characterized by white exteriors and round balconies. There are a number of great walking tours around here, but getting lost is always recommended.
The Culture and Arts
As Israel’s cultural capital, Tel Aviv has everything a culture-minded tourist could hope for: world-class museums to an internationally acclaimed film scene. The city now even has its own fashion week. Whether you’re after dance or video art, Tel Aviv has it all.
The Business Opportunities
Tel Aviv has sometimes been called Silicon Wadi — an Arabic spin on the high-tech capital in California — due to its propensity for cultivating startups. Tel Aviv has more apps and tech companies than cafes (and it has a lot of cafes!) With dozens of conferences, meet-ups and hubs, Tel Aviv might be the place for your idea to blossom into a young startup.
It’s Liberal and Gay Friendly
Over 10 years ago, Tel Aviv decided to embrace its status as Israel’s most liberal city and rebranded itself as the unofficial gay capital of the Middle East. In Tel Aviv, ultra-Orthodox live side-by-side with people of all orientations. The city doesn’t even need gay bars anymore: the last one shut its doors recently, as there’s simply no need for them any more.