Best things to do in Tel Aviv
Find out more about those top places in Tel Aviv
When visitors arrive in the hedonistic coastal city Tel Aviv many wonder whether they are still in Israel, a country well-known for its social conservatism. This is unsurprising as the country’s second city is unlike any other in Israel with its enchanting mixture of spectacular beaches, nightlife that would make the capital cities of Europe green with envy and artistic and architectural wonders. The city is best known for the White City, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Far removed from Israel’s ancient history, the White City is one of the world’s largest concentrations of Bauhaus architecture and offers a dazzling array of streamline balconies, cubist forms and magnificent public spaces. Beyond Tel Aviv’s modernist buildings, the city has a superb beach and a buzzing contemporary art scene that is blooming into one of the world’s most groundbreaking.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, Tel Aviv’s White City has one of the world’s densest concentrations of Bauhaus style buildings. Bauhaus, an enormously influential art and design school based in interwar Germany, was brought to the city by Jewish refugees and quickly flourished. While notable buildings include the Bialik Museum and Beit Ha’ir, the streets of the White City are simply lined with avant-garde buildings that would be a stand alone architectural highlight in most other cities. Guided tours of this extraordinary neighborhood are available.
Gordon Beach is a little piece of Los Angeles on the Israeli coast. Buzzing at weekends with roller-blades, sunbathers, surfers and matkot (paddle ball) players, it is one of Tel Aviv’s most charming locations. For the best experience, arrive in the late afternoon and watch the sun set across the Mediterranean Sea.
The core of historic Jaffa is its sprawling bazar-like flea market, which sells everything from antiques to vintage clothing and high-class fashion. Of course, there is plenty of junk to trawl through but that is just part of the fun. To get the best experience, visit the market with a local guide who can help you haggle with the traders and snag a bargain.
Located just east of the city center, Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art is one of the best in the Middle East. The collection is simply astonishing with special emphasis on Jewish masters through the ages, including a wide variety of 20th century Israeli art. However, the best exhibits are those on the Impressionist movement, which includes works by Renoir, Degas, Gauguin and Cézanne.
Tel Aviv’s busiest and best food market is located in the Yemenite Quarter and literally has something for everyone to savor. The narrow streets are an eclectic melting pot of food stuffs ranging from cured meats, freshly picked fruits, aromatic herbs and homemade cheeses. For the best experience, take a food tour of the market as knowledgeable local guides will take you to the area’s most beloved stalls.
Formerly known as the Diaspora Museum, the recently renamed Museum of the Jewish People is one of the most important in Israel. The museum tells in detail the story of the Jewish people from their arrival in Europe in late antiquity through to their persecution in pogroms and the Holocaust to the foundation of the state of Israel. The museum is located in Tel Aviv University campus, which is also well worth exploring.
Tel Aviv has risen to international prominence as the hipster capital of Israel. To best experience the city’s youthful creative energy head to the area surrounding Alma Beach where you can browse independent boutiques, sample international street food dishes and drink cocktails crafted by expert mixologists. The entire area would not be out of place in New York, London or Paris.