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18 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel
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18 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel

Picture of Ruthie Berber
Updated: 9 February 2017
Tel Aviv is a tourist’s delight: long days of blissful sunshine, exhilarating nightlife, incredible restaurants and delicacies, stunning Mediterranean beaches, historical sites and much more. We have put together the top 18 non-touristic ways to truly experience the city.
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The Cinemateque

The Cinemateque emanates Tel Aviv urban culture: locals love to spend their nights feasting on great cinema, strategically located at the meeting point between many of Tel Aviv’s residential neighborhoods. Many tourists skip this gem, but this inconspicuous landmark is packed with film festival-quality foreign films and documentaries, local indie cinema and genuine moviegoers, who won’t dare hurling popcorn or disrupting your experience. This is the place for those who love cinema and want to have an authentic cinematic experience amongst the locals of Tel Aviv.

Cinematheque Tel Aviv, HaArba’a St 1, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-606-0800

The Southern Beaches

To enjoy Tel Aviv’s picturesque coastline without the burden of too many tourists, children or running dogs, check out the less frequented beaches of South Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa. The Mediterranean is just as sparkling, the sand is as golden and the breeze is as salty and refreshing as the Northern strip, but the atmosphere is a little more quiet, local and low-key. Feel free to bring along a book, a small pet, a loved one to cuddle and spend the day without interruptions at the southern beaches, such as Ajami, Banana beach and others around the Dolphinarium. At Banana beach, you can also convene for a late Friday evening drum circle or cliff top dancing session with the bohemian locals.

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Shuk Levinsky

The Historical Levinsky Market is home to an alternative version of life in Tel Aviv. Tourists are unlikely to stroll so far south and away from the central attractions. However, a visit to this authentically local market is a must. Head there to procure unique ingredients, enjoy fabulous hole-in-the-wall hummus and Eastern food joints. If you find yourself there in the evening, be sure to check out Dalida for drinks and North African delicacies. This culinary gem makes for a wonderfully quirky, enjoyable and delicious evening, which combines all the local flavors, culture and senses of the Levinsky market inside and out.

Dalida, Levinsky Market, Zvulun 7, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-536-9627

Afterhours Nights Out

Tourists often hit up the mainstream club spots, but Tel Avivians like to go out to after-hours venues, such as The Block or Penguin Club. Locals finish eating late, then head for a round of drinks and find themselves dancing the night away from 2am and on until the morning light.

The Block, Shalma Rd 157, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-537-8002

Penguin Club, Yehuda ha-Levi St 43, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-566-1450

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Spectacular Asian-Fusion Scene

Many tourists know to check out the usual Israeli cuisine highlights, such as falafel, humus and the fresh produce. However, many miss out on the exhilarating culinary adventure that is Tel Aviv’s Asian-fusion scene. Check out Toko TLV’s salmon, seaweed salad and avocado salad with the unlikely wholegrain tahini (sesame paste) topping. Taking the culinary convergence even further west, renowned Asian-fusion haunt and city hot spot, Zepra, combines two beloved dishes, pizza and sashimi, to give you the divine ‘Big Eye’ tuna pizza. These are just a few of the many spectacular hybrid creations that have been pouring out of this exciting gourmet niche. Locals don’t need a reason or occasion to go out for sushi or pad Thai, it has become ingrained in the culture.

Toko TLV, 27 HaBarzel St, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-644-4345

Zepra, 96 Yigal Alon St, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-624-0044

Make Your Own BBQ

Feel like having a BBQ? In Tel Aviv, locals will just nip over to their nearest gas station to pick up coals, lighter fluid, a disposable set and other essentials and plant themselves wherever they so choose. Get a few friends together and camp out on the grass, the beach or even a local playground and enjoy an impromptu barbecue with no occasion necessary.

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Eat Like a Local

Every local has their own neighborhood go-to place, which tourists are unlikely to stumble upon. The Local, on the corporate side of the bustling Ibn Gvirol street, provides the local population with what it wants: great inexpensive creative cocktails, mother’s-cooking cuisine fused with local seasonal ingredients and favorites, as well as an excellent business lunch deal. Head there for a mixture of starters that echo the local kitchen, order a few cocktails and indulge in scrumptious dessert.

The Local, Ibn Gabirol St 22, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-652-5311

Yoga on SUP

A new craze has swept Tel Avivians: tackling yoga’s challenging postures while balancing yourself on a paddleboard out at sea. SUP Yoga Tel Aviv and Yoga with Leela ॐ are just a few of the teachers for getting your yogi fix. ‘Yoga is about finding balance, both for the mind and body. Combining SUP with yoga takes it to a completely new level: Experiencing yoga out on the water under the sun is a wonderful way to practice, for yogis and non-yogis alike!’ one teacher explains. Tel Aviv locals love to practice yoga and they love to be out in the water, so the combination of these elements is a must try when you visit.

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Get a Permanent Souvenir

If you have thoroughly enjoyed your stay in Tel Aviv and want to eternalize your memories, the city is filled with tattoo artists and studios that are well worth getting inked at. Try out Kipod Tattoo and Piercing Shop and get yourself a permanent souvenir at the hands of one of Tel Aviv’s acclaimed tattoo artists.

Kipod Tattoo, 44 King George St. Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-620-5865

Street Art Explorations

While visiting the White City, it is certainly worth checking out South Tel Aviv’s street artists, especially around Florentin neighbourhood, the Yemenite quarter and around the Old Central Station. Every corner of the city is tagged, decorated and brought to life with a wide range of colorful styles and signatures. You won’t be able to help yourself from Instagram-ing the walls, buildings and ornate sites as you stroll around.

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Carmel Market: The Local Way

Tourists often get held up at the entrance of the Carmel market, distracted by souvenirs and haggling. However, locals know that in order to procure the freshest goods and most delicious humus for the best prices you have to venture all the way down to the back. Whether for drinking coffee, trying new and exciting exotic foods in the furthest stalls, or checking off your humus dosage at Humus Magen David, make sure you head all the way down and check out all the hole-in-the-wall joints.

Humus Magen David, HaCarmel St 11, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-50-862-4635

Listen to Live Music

What is life in Tel Aviv without finding the time to enjoy live music? Tel Avivans love to keep up with local bands, have a drink (or two), unwind and enjoy a musical interlude in one of the neighborhood bars, such as Ozen Bar, Levontin 7, Zappa Tel Aviv and the Barby. Each venue is different in style, genre, location and size, but the goal is the same in all four: have fun, drink and love music.

Ozen Bar, King George St 48, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-621-5210

Zappa, Raoul Wallenberg St 24, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-762-6666

Levontin 7, Levontin St 7, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-560-5084

Barby, Derech Kibuts Galuyot 52, Tel Aviv, Israel +97-3-518-8123

Sports in Park HaYarkon

Get active: enjoy the lush greenery and river of Park HaYarkon, an emerald in the desert. There is nothing like breathing in the fresh air, the scenery and the inner-city quiet; on a run, while riding your bike or even renting a rowboat.

Try The National Sport

Matkot, the simple paddleball sport that has had Israelis entranced for decades, is a Tel Avivian favorite. Don’t be alarmed by the noise or be intimidated by the die-hard players on the beaches: pick up a pair of paddles, a ball and a friend and try it out!

Take an Urban break

To get away from the hectic city life, Tel Avivians know how to scout out the most relaxing, exciting and creative ways to take a break. Whether it’s a hula hoop session in the park, sunset yoga at the beach, rooftop pilates or even a mandala meditation, REGA- Your Urban Break has new, changing and flexible ‘moments’ all over the city!

Check Out The Local Gallery Scene

See what’s on at Noga Gallery for some contemporary art in central Tel Aviv. Or you can venture further south to Yaffo and visit Zadik Gallery, which promotes art-within-reach and features local Israeli artists in a beautiful gallery built into the authentic surrounding Old Jaffan architecture. Galleries are small but budding all over the city, catch an Israeli artist’s show or just enjoy the unique spaces inside.

Noga Gallery, 60 Ahad Ha’Am St, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-3-566-0123

Zadik Gallery, 16 Shimon HaZadik Street, Tel Aviv, Israel +972-7749-56981

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Nightlife Art

Bars in Tel Aviv have combined art, design and alcohol with nightlife: check out gallery-meets-bar venues, such as Kuli Alma. This popular nighttime venue is both open air and indoors, underground and above ground, as well as mainstream and alternative. The nightlife scene is synergetic, non-stop, alive, and cultural; Tel Avivians enjoy mixing alcohol, artwork and distinctive design.

Kuli Alma, Mikveh Israel St. 10, Tel Aviv, Israel

Walk the coastline

Tourists often miss out on a few of the beautiful picturesque walks along Tel Aviv’s northern coastline. Either walk from Ramat Aviv along the promenade until you reach the port, passing empty beaches and a small airport, or walk all the way north and keep going until you reach Herzliya Marina. There is no better way to experience Tel Aviv’s gorgeous coast than walking along, passing the cliffs, the sound of waves and soaking up the sun.