Top Things To Do And See In Jaffa, Israel

Top Things To Do And See In Jaffa, Israel
An ancient port city of Israel, Jaffa offers an alternative side of Tel Aviv. Walk through its narrow stone alleyways and learn of its history, discover galleries and boutiques, experience the frenzied flea market, and dine on some of the best hummus and knafeh in the country.
Jaffa Clock Tower © Deror_avi/WikiCommons

See The Sites

Jaffa boasts a long and colorful history. A visit to the area would be incomplete without touring some of the main sites. In the middle of Yefet Street, at the northern entrance of Jaffa, is the Clock Tower, one of seven built in honor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II during the Ottoman Period. The tower was erected in 1903, and in 1965 mosaics depicting the history of the city were added. Within the Clock Tower Plaza are the ‘Kishle’ and the ‘Saraya,’ the old Ottoman police station and government house.

Peres Center for Peace © Roi Boshi/WikiCommons

Celebrate Multiculturalism

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Coexistence in Israel: an inspirational beacon for this ideal is the Peres Center for Peace. Founded in 1996 by former president of Israel, Shimon Peres, the Peres Center is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization committed to peace building. The center has spearheaded initiatives that bring together participants from all sectors of Israeli society. Most of the projects and programs that take place fall into one of three categories: medicine and healthcare, peace education, or business and environment. Stop by to check out the various activities and see how you can get involved.
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Wander The Harbor

Stroll around the still-active harbor to get a taste of Jaffa at its heyday. Experience the neighborhood’s fusion of history and modernity by watching fishermen at work on their colorful boats as you weave in and out of various cafés, galleries and bookstores. To get in on the action, rent a kayak or sailboat and make your way along the coastline.

Jaffa Flea Market © Sharon ba123/WikiCommons

Bargain Away

One of the more obvious destinations to visit in Jaffa is Shuk HaPishpeshim, which is well worth your time whether you leave with a shag rug, a new dresser, or empty-handed. The flea market is a lively scene of haggling and hustling, in operation for over 100 years in the same alleyways and covered streets. Though a trip to the shuk requires ample patience and a keen eye, if you are well prepared you will be amazed by what you can find: handmade ceramics, secondhand furniture, antiques, boutique clothing – the list goes on. Plenty of restaurants are scattered throughout the market if you feel the need to stop and refresh.

Indulge Your Inner Hipster

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Abouelafia Bakery
Abouelafia Bakery | © Ted Eytan/WikiCommons
For those who tire of the hectic market, Jaffa offers plenty of upscale, chic boutiques and neighborhood stores. Gelada, located in the Noga district of Jaffa, sells clothing and apparel made of natural materials, screen-printed with vibrant colors and quirky designs inspired by travels around the world. Another trending spot is SAGA. Located near the flea market, SAGA is a newly opened space that is simultaneously a gallery, a workspace, and a residence for local and international artists. View inspiring works-in-progress, and leave with one-of-a-kind pieces to decorate your apartment. Gelada Studio, +972 54-807-7118
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Abouelafia Bakery © Ted Eytan/WikiCommons

Nibble Through The Neighborhood

Time and time again, Tel Aviv has proven to be a feast for the taste buds, and Jaffa is no exception. A spot that must be mentioned in any thorough guide of the neighborhood is Abu Hassan, arguably the best hummus joint in the country (though beware, expressing this opinion publicly will lead to another battle in the eternal hummus debate). Try the msabacha, warm hummus with tahini and fava beans.

Another contender for a finger-licking lunch is the iconic Abouelafia bakery, offering hot zaatar pita, potato and egg stuffed sambusac, and more. Those left with room for dessert should stop by Knaffe to try one of these spectacular, traditionally Arab treats, made of kadaif dough, warm goat’s cheese and rosewater syrup.

Abu Hassan Hummus, +972 3-682 0387

Abouelafia Bakery, +972 3-683-4958

Sculpture by Ilana Goor © deror_avi/WikiCommons

Appreciate The Arts

Jaffa is home to over 50 art galleries and studios. Naming the best would be impossible, but a couple of great ones to check out include the Ilana Goor Museum and the Farkash Gallery. The renowned Ilana Goor Museum, located in an 18th century Jaffa building which Goor herself renovated, displays the artist’s creations as well as over 500 pieces of other Israeli, international and ethnic art.

The Farkash Gallery features the largest collection in the world of vintage Israeli posters, ranging in theme from the military, to advertisements, to Israeli film. Also included in the gallery are historical photographs and international art.


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Mayumana in Action
Mayumana in Action | © Isha/Flickr
If you are feeling inspired by all of the art surrounding you, head over to Craft & Bloom. This ‘makerspace’ offers DIY classes and courses, both at basic and intensive levels. Workshops include glass cutting, Shibori dyeing, silk screening, and more. As if the space weren’t cool enough already, a number of the painting and drawing sessions are wine and cheese included – it’s the art class you’ve always dreamed of.
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Mayumana in Action © Isha/Flickr

Attend A Show

In addition to plentiful studios and galleries, Jaffa is home to a fair share of live arts and theater. Mayumana is a performance troupe that originated in Jaffa. Over the last few years the troupe has gone global, performing in North America and East Asia; however, shows still take place every weekend in the premier Jaffa location. Catch a performance by this eclectic, rhythmical dance group in the place where it all began.

Another option, both unique and inspirational, is to see a show at Na Laga’at, a center that puts on theater productions with a deaf-blind cast. Pair the experience with a dinner at Black Out, a restaurant in which diners eat meals served by blind waiters in total darkness.

Mayumana, +972 3 6811787

NaLagaat, +972 3-633-0825

Grab Drinks

Bar, Pub Grub, Israeli, $$$
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If you plan to stay in Jaffa late into the night, head to either the Shaffa or Samuca Bar for drinks. Shaffa is situated right in the middle of the flea market, and the tables spread throughout the street after 7 p.m. ensure good drinks and a lively atmosphere. Samuca is both a bar and live music venue, with fantastic jazz to be enjoyed under grape vines on a picturesque stone terrace. Shaffa Bar, +972 3-681-1205
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9:00 am - 12:30 am