Tel Aviv, on Israel’s beautiful Mediterranean coast, is the country’s youthful, liberal, party city. It’s the country’s second largest urban area and the country’s economic and technological centre, coined the Silicon Wadi.
Not only does it boast many kilometres of stunning beaches and a big surf community, but it also has a buzzing creative scene and one of the best nightlife scenes on the Med. It’s the city where Israeli’s, and many others, come to let their hair down – with thumping nightclubs, tasty restaurants, fantastic shops and a laidback vibe.
It’s one of the most exciting city destinations around the Mediterranean and a city which oozes character and creativity. Join us as we explore the best things to do in Tel Aviv….
Best Things To Do In Tel Aviv
#1. Hit the beach
The people of Tel Aviv orientate much of their life around the beach and it’s easy to see why. Not only does the area boast 14 kilometres of beautiful sandy coastline, but there are also many beautiful public spaces next to the beach, which lend themselves to socialising, spending time in groups and enjoying the outdoors.
Tel Aviv gets more than 300 days of sunshine a year, with extremely hot summers, so cooling off with a dip in the sea is part of life.
The city also has big surfing, kitesurfing and paddleboarding communities, so many people also take up water sports throughout the year.
The beach is lined with many fantastic cafes, bars and restaurants, with seats out on the sand, along with volleyball courts, outdoor gyms and a long promenade with cycle lanes. There are also a number of fantastic parks and bars where DJs play on warmer days.
The beach is the place to be in Tel Aviv.
#2. Explore creative Jaffa
Jaffa is the oldest part of the city, the former ancient port, which has now expanded to become the bustling city of Tel Aviv. It has a fascinating mix of historic architecture and a large port area with many yachts and fishing boats, with harbour side cafes and eateries.
But it’s the creative side of the area, which makes it so special.
The neighbourhood has a large market and many tiny shops where people sell crafts and can be seen making traditional items, including carpets, clothing and selling other pieces of art.
Many of the walls are adorned with beautiful murals and there are many tasty cafes, bars and restaurants, along with big outdoor seating areas.
The whole district has a relaxed vibe and a feel of authenticity – a great spot to spend an afternoon, exploring the network of tiny alleyways.
#3. Dance the night away
Tel Aviv has a famous nightlife scene, where nightclubs thump electronic music well past sunrise. There seems to be a party going on every day in Tel Aviv, with DJs spinning tunes on rooftops, by the beach and in cavernous nightclubs.
The electronic music scene in the city is among the best around the Med and people flock from far and wide to get a slice of the action.
There are a lot of spots to mention, but some of our favourite clubs include Block, Alphabet, Sputnik and the aptly named Breakfast Club, where people are dancing well past breakfast time.
There are also many other bars, which have live DJs on, so you can always get a slice of the action.
#4. Street art spotting in Florentin
Florentin is a fascinating area, between the city’s bus station and the beach, in south Tel Aviv. It still has a slightly gritty edge and hasn’t undergone mass gentrification just yet, which has drawn in many artists from around the city.
Among many colourful murals and streets full of graffiti, you will find workshops and market stalls in a melting pot of different cultures. It’s one of the most diverse areas of the city and that’s what makes it such an exciting area to be.
There are 100s of pieces of artwork adorned to the area’s walls, but you can also find some great coffee shops, trendy bars and restaurants.
We don’t know how long this authentic vibe will remain, with regeneration work going on around the city, so make sure to get there soon.
The Mediterranean doesn’t always come to mind as a hotbed of surfing, but don’t be fooled. The coastline around Tel Aviv has some of the best surfing spots in the whole of Mediterranean and a big surfing community as a result.
Almost every day you can see surfers or kite surfers out in the water and it’s a common occurrence to see people running down to the beach through the city in their wetsuits or cycling along with a surfboard strapped to their bike.
There are many fantastic places to rent surf boards along Tel Aviv seafront, with many concentrated just inland from the beach by Jaffa. You can also get surfing lessons if you don’t feel so confident in the water on your own.
Two of the best places to surf are just next to the old town of Jaffa and further north in an area called Hilton Beach, by the Hilton Hotel.
#6. Get lost in Carmel Market
Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market is the city’s largest and a vibrant heart of the city. It’s a foodie’s dream, with hundreds of excellent eateries set among a network of tiny alleyways.
The city isn’t the cheapest on earth, but it’s around the market where you can find a very tasty bargain.
The market is a feast for the senses with many sights, sounds and smells emanating from the hundreds of stalls. From fresh fruit and veg, to craft beer and gourmet food, you can find it all among this buzzing area.
It’s certainly not one to be missed. Top tip – grab an authentic falafel pitta or chicken shawarma for lunch.
#7. Munch and drink your way down Dizengoff Street
Dizengoff Street, in northern Tel Aviv, is the place to see and be seen in the city.
The 3 kilometre, tree lined street, runs from the old Tel Aviv port all the way into the city centre and is lined with many cool bars, cafes and restaurants.
It’s here you can find some of the tastiest food in the city, along with coffee roasters and classy bars.
Among the great independent food and drink businesses, you can also find lots of fashion boutiques and relaxing public spaces with parks and fountains. It’s a great place to pass an afternoon.
Head to Dizengoff Square to get a real feel for the area, with many lovely cafes surrounding a large circular fountain.
#8. Take in sunset
Tel Aviv sits on Israel’s western coast, facing out to the Mediterranean, which creates the perfect conditions for excellent sunsets. With many kilometres of open seas facing out from the city’s beaches, the sun drops into the ocean, creating a myriad of beautiful colours in the sky.
The long promenade is filled with fantastic little bars and cafes, so we recommend grabbing a beer and sitting out on the sand with the locals to watch the stunning sunset. It’s a sight which will stick long in the memory.
#9. Soak up happy hour
We’ve already touched upon the prices in Tel Aviv – the city isn’t that cheap for food and drink, but you can be quite clever about your purchases. The city takes happy hour very seriously.
Many of the city’s bars and restaurants offer happy hour deals throughout many days of the week, with 2 for 1 offers on drinks and large percentage off deals on food.
The happy hours are also very popular with locals, who flock to the bars between 4pm and 10pm to try and make the most of the deals, bouncing from bar to bar. Get stuck in and take part in a local ritual.
#10. Eat falafel, shakshuka and schnitzel
Israeli food is, quite frankly, phenomenal. There are many tasty dishes for you to get your mouth round and much of it is vegetable heavy, which makes for some healthy dining out.
There are too many to mention, but here are some of our favourites, which you’ll find all over the city.
Falafel is a big deal here – you can’t go 50 metres without seeing falafel advertised at least somewhere. Our favourite spot is “The Israel Falafel” – the place is a Tel Aviv institution and has been going since the 1950s. Expect a seriously tasty falafel pitta for bargain prices, based just next to Jaffa in south Tel Aviv.
Shakshuka is another dish you will see all over Tel Aviv – the dish was introduced to the country by Tunisian Jews many years ago and it has never left. It’s the perfect brunch dish while staying in the city.
Our favourite spot is Shakshukia in northern Tel Aviv, not far from the beach. You can go for the traditional flavour combination or add in ingredients you would like, including spicy sausage and a variety of vegetables.
We also highly recommend getting stuck into some schnitzel. You would usually expect to find schnitzel in Germany or Austria, but back in the early 1900s migrants brought it over and the dish never left.
It’s a firm favourite in Tel Aviv, with many fantastic sandwich shops selling crispy schnitzel sandwiches in soft local challah buns. They’re utterly outstanding and our favourite is from The Joker, just off Dizengoff Street.
#11. Promenade fitness session
With all that eating and drinking, it’s probably a good idea to do some exercise and fortunately that is another thing people in Tel Aviv take very seriously. One thing that will strike you when walking down the city’s long promenade, is the huge amount of people running, cycling, surfing, doing yoga or using the outdoor gyms.
The locals come down to the promenade in their thousands to keep fit, before stuffing their faces with tasty food and dancing the night away.
And the best thing is – it’s free. There are many fantastic free gyms out on the promenade and beach, free volleyball courts and many other activities which you can get involved in.
Take in a part of local culture and get a sweat on while visiting the city.
#12. Explore a village within a city
One of Tel Aviv’s most fascinating areas is Neve Tzedek – just inland from the beach, slightly north of Jaffa. It’s known as the village within the city and wandering around the area you can see why.
The area still has many hundreds of historic, two storey, properties filled with lush gardens, set only a few hundred metres from huge tower blocks.
It has a very unique feel, with few cars in the streets, lots of little cafes, boutiques and restaurants, set alongside private homes. It has a very laidback vibe and it’s a wonderful area to explore, with many interesting styles of architecture on show.
It’s very rare you find such a peaceful area sitting less than half a kilometre from some of the tallest sky scrapers in the city.
#13. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of the White City
The White City is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the centre of Tel Aviv. It’s a collection of 4,000 stunning white buildings, which were built between the 1930s and 1950s, with many designed by Jewish architects who fled Germany and other European countries to escape the horrors of the Nazis.
The style of architecture is known as Bauhaus and Tel Aviv has the largest collection of Bauhaus buildings on earth. They have been preserved lovingly as a result and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage status. Another fascinating area to wander around.
Tel Aviv is a city which will catch you by surprise. It breaks the mould of what you might expect from Israel, it’s one of the most lively and vibrant city destinations around the Med – with a youthful population, who have the beach ingrained in their spirit and an appetite to party.
It’s often referred to as a city that never sleeps and you can certainly see why. There is something happening at all times of the day, be that electronic music pumping at nightclubs until sunrise or early morning traders selling their wares on market stalls at the same time.
It’s a city of beautiful architecture, stunning coastline and a booming creative scene. We love Tel Aviv and hope you do too.