Tel Aviv is a stylish city, with a budding fashion scene and no lack of boutique designer shops. But the city’s true chic is hidden within the shelves and crates of its second-hand shops and urban markets. Here are some of the best flea markets and thrift shops in Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
Run by one of Israel’s most unlikely political activists, Ortal’s Fashion infuses Israeli identity politics with style, offering vintage clothes from the Mediterranean and Maghreb. The owner of the super-small store is one of Israel’s most vocal feminists, who has been instrumental in Israel’s Sephardic revival and who has demanded the culture of non-European Jews be treated with the dignity they deserve. Next door is the Albi Cafe, a LGBTQ hotspot in a famously “G” city.
Tel Aviv’s only proper antique market — the kind that has collectors loading up their vans and presenting the wares they are heartbroken to have to sell — recently lost its home in Dizengoff Square. It has relocated to Givon Square, a new plaza lodged between Tel Aviv’s cinematheque on Ha’Arba Street and the new Gindi City Mall and high rise development on Hashmonaim. It’s set to open again on Fridays so check it out. Where else can you find an old wind up clock that is also a pocket knife?
WIZO (the Women’s International Zionist Organization) has an impressive record of philanthropy in Israel, but for most Israelis this shop is our Salvation Army. Your classic rummage shop, WIZO (pronounced as a single word) allows people to both drop off their old clothes and pick up new ones. Spread throughout the country, they have a Berlin-style thrift store near Gan Meir Park in central Tel Aviv, called Bigudit. Prices are super cheap and it’s for a good cause — all proceeds go to help women in need — so dig in.
Now the heart of one of the hottest areas in the city, Jaffa’s Flea Market is a maze of stores, stands and hidden shops, offering everything from vintage furniture for thousands of shekels to bizarre trinkets and old electronics. There’s probably nothing you can’t find — or haggle over — in this market.
The Arts & Crafts artisan market on Nahalat Binyamin is not exactly a flea market, but more a showcasing of Tel Aviv’s local makers of trinkets. Offering everything from sand-filled bottles to handmade brainteasers to all manner of dolls and artwork, the market is a great place to spend Friday. It’s also right next to the bustling Carmel Market, so make sure to swing by for the full experience.
Buy Kilo — as its name suggests — work more on quantity than quality, as you pay by weight. But that doesn’t mean its offerings are in bad shape. This store offers a large selection of moderately priced second-hand items of clothing, with an impressive selection of old jeans, in a nice space. Located not far from the Azrieli Mall, on Yehudit Boulevard, the shop is off the beaten path but a great place to spend a few hours and a few shekels.
The oldest and most venerable of Tel Aviv’s thrift shops, Aderet is classic in both style and function. It’s full of old dresses and scarves in an old-school, second-hand shop setting. Aderet offers insight into the styles of Israel’s past; for a decent price, they can be yours. It’s also not far from the beach.
In the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv’s main mall, you can find one of the city’s largest second-hand shops, Flashback. More vintage than thrift, Flashback offers a wide array of second-hand clothes, organized along the lines of a classic clothing store. Big and organized, its hangers hold cheap gems if you can spot them.
One of the city’s cooler vintage shops, this Parisian style second-hand store is run by a fashionable proprietor with impeccable taste. Though not cheap, Kassima offers great accessories, especially bags, wallets and purses, all well-preserved and handpicked.