Tel Aviv is one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve actually only ever been once, but there will definitely be a twice, and asap. It’s a beach city, which already naturally elevates it to ‘favourite’ status, but the food and drink possibilities, the shopping, the atmosphere and the people I met push it up that little bit higher. Here are a few of the coolest things to do in Tel Aviv.
1. Hang out at the Port
The Port Harbour in Tel Aviv is one of those exciting ‘hubs of activity’ all the best cities have. This one is just that little bit cooler though with an indoor food market, both unique and chain restaurants and shops, a little beach, an outdoor cinema and loads of space to sit around and watch the port life go by. Make sure to check out the ‘Sisters’ store – a shop created to promote the enjoyment, health and happiness of sex to anyone who’s interested. They’ve also got some pretty cool local homewares and clothes designers stocked in there.
2. Rent bikes and explore
You can rent a bike from the city scheme at the port and cycle all the way along the promenade up to the old area of Jaffa. The docking stations are all over the city, making it easy to rent them out and put them back to suit you. You could go as far as your legs will take you. A day’s rental costs 17 shekels (£3).
3. Chill at the beach
There are 13km of beach in Tel Aviv and you can find an area to suit your travel style. The beaches are loosely divided up into general, dogs, gay, party and family. Spread out your towel and enjoy the view with Jaffa at one end and the port at the other. There are plenty of bars dotted along to get your sunset downer fix, and you won’t go hungry with all the ice cream stalls.
4. Hipster it out in Jaffa
This is the coolest area of Tel Aviv and where you’ll find the most unique shops and bars. Sit out on the terraces and soak up that Tel Avivian sun with a beer before flashing the cash in the boutiques. From futuristic homewares to antiques and locally designed clothes, if you visit here you’re definitely at risk of blowing your budget. There’s also a rough around the edges flea market where you’ll find the cheapest prices in Tel Aviv.
5. Explore Neve Tsedek
This is the alternative part of town, where the cool kids live before the rich people slowly push them out. If you find you have any money left after your Jaffa jaunt you can absolutely, definitely spend it here. I could’ve emptied my bank account in the cool shops here, if it wasn’t already pretty much there. Skint backpackers who love a good Instagram shot may get a little over excited when they see this street; one-off art is everywhere.
6. See some street art
Speaking of art, sign up to a tour with the likes of Alternative Tel Aviv and guide Yael will show you the best places to go to see some cool art on the streets, and tell you a few stories behind it. I learnt all about which artists were ‘bonding’ over their street art skills, and the artist wars that were going on in the area. It was also a good introduction to the alternative side of Tel Aviv and Yael pointed out where a few decent club nights take place, in the warehouses.
I can guarantee you’ll love Port Sa’id in the Rothchild area – make sure to bring your beard, tight jeans and check shirt if you want to fit in with all the other hipsters. The French toast for dessert was incredible.
Han Moli in Jaffa is another cool spot for food – just get everything, honestly.
For breakfast, try Benedict on Rothschild Avenue. This is the time to try the Israeli traditional breakfast of Shakshuka, a hot tomatoey mixture served in a claypot with eggs cracked in the middle. Served here with all-you-can-eat freshly baked bread to mop it up.
For more on the food in Israel check out my article on its many tasty delights.
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If you have any questions about Tel Aviv let me know in the comments box below.