During my recent travels, I’ve been yapping on and on about Tel Aviv, trying to convince everyone I came across with why they should visit this wonderful city. Now, I’ve decided to make a solid case out of it.
With a vibrant food scene, thriving nightlife, and enough chic to suffice a small continent this 24-hour city that never stops is definitely one of the coolest cities in the World. OK. Fine… Maybe I’m a little biased but I assure you that once you come, Israel’s cultural capital will be everything you’d hope and more.
If you’re a beach bum like me then the Tel Aviv shores are the place for you. Miles and miles of sandy beaches great for sunbathing, water sports, playing Matkot (the Israeli version of racquetball), hugging, and some people and sunset watching. You’ll find everything from family-friendly beaches, touristic spots, quiet and peaceful to beaches that are the place to see and be seen at. There is a good reason that National Geographic named Tel Aviv one of the top 10 beach cities in the world (!).
Want to see more? Check out my Instagram for some daily Tel Aviv life
Bonus points: almost year-round sun! Tel Aviv enjoys 300 annuals days of sunshine. Average temperatures range between 31C (88F) in July to about 18C (65F) in the winter time.
Bonus points #2: Undeniably some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.
The food, oh the glorious food! The past decade the culinary scene in Tel Aviv has been booming! Everything from amazing chef restaurants with the most fine-dining experience to the best street food ever, Tel Aviv’s got you covered.
Let’s start with “Israeli”/ Middle Eastern food – I’m still not sure if it’s the local spices, the fresh ingredients or the variety that makes the food so delicious… Restaurant development group, Andrew Freeman & Company, went so far as to call Israeli meals and snacks the cuisine of the year.
Main dishes to look for when coming (press link for recommendations) are the famous Hummus, Falafel or Sabich, Shawarma, Shakshuka, Burekas and don’t forget the delicious well known Israeli breakfast.
But it’s not all chickpeas and pitta bread – The food is as diverse and as the people. Tel Aviv is as popular for its international cuisine – here you’ll find everything – Italian, Indian, Mexican, Asian, Thai and what not. As of 2010, it had the most sushi restaurants per capita after New York City and Tokyo. YEP, Tel Aviv is home to more than 100 sushi restaurants.
Bonus points: Tel Aviv is incredibly tolerant of all eating demands. Wheter you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free or lactose intolerant you’ll have no problem finding your way around the local food scene.
Try this comprehensive guide to new restaurants, fabulous street food, and glorious cafés.
Let’s start with the important stuff, ok? Tel Aviv is home to the world’s most beautiful people. You read me right. Readers of online travel mag, Travelers Digest, think the men and women of Tel Aviv are among the best looking in the world.
Hahaha now for real… Israel has a very diverse population – Israelis come in all shapes, colors, and sizes (and origins, and religions and whatnot). But no matter who they are, the average Israeli is kind, warm, generous, and open-minded. I know you think it’s such a broad way to define so many people but once you get here you’ll feel the friendly, welcoming vibes right away.
Along with its inherent pluralistic vibes, you’ll get to meet here so many different people. This multicultural city has residents from all over the world (which makes it a great place for expats). Meet the Friendly Tel Aviv Expat Community here.
Furthermore, over 10 years ago, Tel Aviv decided to embrace its status as Middle East’s most liberal city and rebranded itself as the unofficial gay capital of the Middle East. (The Boston Globe even mentioned Tel Aviv as “The World’s Gayest City). Tel Aviv hosts one of the leading Gay Pride parades in the world. The best thing about it? There are no gay neighborhoods per-se, or gay bars or gyms, rather, the whole of Tel Aviv is, for lack of a better term, a bit gay as mentioned in the Tel Aviv municipality website.
Want to know more? Check out this Gay Tel Aviv for Beginners guide.
Tel Aviv is renowned for its 24-hour lifestyle. The nightlife begins here around 6-7 pm with the famous “Happy hours” city-center bars, where you can drink your heart out at 1+1 and have dinner for a reduced price, and ends with the sunrise and the underground clubs along Rothschild Boulevard. You can also find anything in between – a vibrant hipster scene in the southern parts of the city, bohemian chic in Jaffa flea market, and also some of the world’s most sophisticated and unique bars, such as The Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar That was voted among the 20 best in the world in 2015.
Before you paint the town red check out: Best bars and clubs in Tel Aviv – from pregame to late nite, for more info
As an architect, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed on this front either. Although mostly known as “The White City” (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) for having the world’s largest collection of International Style (Bauhaus style) Buildings, it presents a rich collection of different styles, from Brutalist to Modernist and all the way to an emerging contemporary skyline.
Check out This ArchDaily Architecture City Guide.
There is a thriving art scene in Tel Aviv, Starting with pop-up art exhibits, cool established art galleries, 3 large museums, and free street art at almost every corner in some neighborhoods like Florentine. Check out the oh-so arty blog for all the hot news in the local art scenes.
If visual art is not your thing and you prefer music – a lot of bars in Tel Aviv host musicians to perform gigs nightly so you can soak up some jams along with your beer.
The best part of Tel Aviv culture life? The events. There are soooo many different events here weekly – outdoor ones, theater, music, festivals, events for kids, concerts – you name it. Plus, a lot of the events are free of charge so you just need to show up and enjoy.
If you’re looking for something to do, check out one of these sites: Timeout, Touristisrael, Secrettelaviv or the municipality website.
You said history, art, and culture you said, Jaffa. Although Jaffa is an inherent part of Tel Aviv municipality I thought it deserves a place of honor on its own. My childhood neighborhood, the ancient port city, is a combination of history, culture, and pure magic.
Don’t miss the port (the oldest seaport in the world) for some sightseeing and free fish. And of course, a visit to Jaffa would not be complete without a visit to the flea market. There you can find a combination of second-hand antiques alongside super chic fashion boutiques, some of the trendiest bars and restaurants and the best weekend hang-out atmosphere.
According to the 2018 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, Tel Aviv has the highest number of startups per capita in the world. It’s also one of the top-performing cities for global connections and global market reach. Furthermore, it has been highlighted by Compass and Fortune magazine as one of the best places in the world to start a business.
So if you have an up-and-coming startup or just a great idea in mind, Tel Aviv might be the place for you.
I think Tel Aviv must be one of the fittest cities in the world. Fitness, health, and exercise is THE talk of the day almost everywhere. There are gyms, fitness centers, yoga places almost as much as cafés here (and there are A LOT of cafés here). If you’re just passing by you’ll probably see lots of people jogging, TRX-ing in every pocket garden, surfing, hula hooping, or working out at one of the many free outdoor gyms spread along the city.
Because it’s considerably small, you can (and should) walk everywhere, as I do. It’s a great opportunity, not only to get fit but to get to know the city from a different point of view, to people-watch, and to stop for a quick juice fix before you continue on.
Want extra tips for a different traveling experience? read the insider’s guide to traveling like a local
Second to walking, one of the most popular means of transportation is biking. With a pretty convenient public bike-rental system, getting around is easy and fun.
If you like running, you’ll find multiple running partners throughout all hours of the day in the streets, the famous beach promenade or the Yarkon park. There are also numerous running groups and events during the year.
Check out the endless sports activities in the city that never sleeps!
Tel Aviv is also an excellent base for day trips to the rest of Israel. The advantage of being such a small country (About 470 km (290 miles) in length and about 135 km (85 miles) across at the widest point) is that can actually visit four different geographical regions in a matter of hours.
Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, the Holy City – a place full of history and culture is only an hour drive away, so it makes for the perfect destination for a day trip.
Other don’t-miss-if-you’re around locations: Masada desert and the Dead Sea (The Lowest Place on Earth), the lush greenery hike options of the north (Galilee), history and culture of Haifa and Acre and Ancient Roman ruins of Caesarea.
If you have decided to come to the coolest of cities you’ll need somewhere to stay. After all of this action, you need a comfy place to rest you’re head on.
Check out Abraham Hostel for a great location and great young vibes. For some shut-eye with an urban chic, try the Brown TLV. OF course, if you come to get pampered try the luxurious David InterContinental or the new ‘The Jaffa’ hotel. You can compare all the best hotel deals in Tel Aviv right here.
Ok, Jeni… you’ve been going on and on about how great Tel Aviv is… Is there a reason why we shouldn’t come? Yes. You’ll probably never want to leave and honestly, we don’t need any more competition for the apartments. Renting is a pain in the *** here.
Not sure you can trust my biased opinion, come to see for yourselves.
And to finish off this ode to my mon amour, Tel Aviv I want to leave you with a song by a famous Israeli singer, Omer Adam: Tel Aviv ya Habibi tel Aviv (along with the worst English translation ever – sorry about that…). Add it to your playlist. Trust me- it will grow on you by the time you’ll get here…
Have you ever visited Tel Aviv? What did you think of it? Have other cool reasons why Tel Aviv is awesome? Please share with me in the comments, I would love to know!