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21 Tel Aviv attractions for tourists and natives alike

From sandy beaches to fascinating museums, find out why the White City of Tel Aviv never sleeps

Written by
Jennifer Greenberg
Contributor
Paula Akpan
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A visit to Tel Aviv will be one to remember thanks to its gorgeous beaches, the incredible restaurants, energetic nightlife, mesmerizing museums, great shopping, breathtaking landscapes. Still with us? Great because there's so much more. Don’t let yourself get swept up by the coastline’s sea, sun and hummus (we know it’s a challenge!) because the city boasts a lot more attractions. To help you get organized, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in Tel Aviv so you can make the most of your visit.

RECOMMENDED: Here are our top tips for enjoying Tel Aviv like a local

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Tel Aviv's must-see attractions

  • Attractions
  • Wildlife centers
  • Park  HaYarkon

New York has Central Park, London has Hyde Park, and Tel Aviv has HaYarkon Park. The popular stretch of green is nestled in the north of the city with the Yarkon River running through it. Swathes of joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and young mothers taking a stroll, pack the park every day, making it come alive with its own unique personality. Pitch a spot on the grass and spend the day basking in the sun with a spot of people-watching.

  • Theater
  • Performing arts space
  • Neve Tzedek

The Suzanne Dellal Center, located at the heart of the picturesque Neve Tzedek neighborhood, has been the spot for Israeli and international dance performances (as well as the home of one of Israel’s most famous troupes, the Batsheva Dance Company) since 1989. A performance at the center and dinner in the restaurants nearby make a great night out.

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  • Attractions

Wander down Tel Aviv’s most beautiful tree-lined boulevard and embrace the classic Bauhaus architecture.With everything from charming cafes and lively late night clubs to historical museums and endless charming places to sit and relax, Rothschild Boulevard is the perfect central spot to explore and, before you know it, you'll be swanning about like a Tel Aviv local. We’ve got the low-down on the must-see sights along the infamous street.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Tel Aviv - Jaffa

Gracing the walls of this museum are Israel’s most comprehensive collections of modern, contemporary, and Israeli art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of the old masters, diverse temporary exhibitions, displays of photography, design & architecture, a performance hall, and a beautiful, calming sculpture garden to wander around or relax in.  Built around a spiraling, 90-foot high atrium, the more recently added Herta and Paul Amir Building is an architectural wonder. The interior space provides a unique setting for the display of contemporary art, a center for architecture, and a gallery.

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  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • Old Jaffa

One of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean basin, the Old City of Jaffa stands on a cliff that protrudes from the water, puncturing the Tel Aviv skyline. The range of attractions in Old Jaffa is vast, from mosques and churches to ancient clock towers; wishing bridges; sculptures; yoga classes; museums; galleries; trendy restaurants and bars. The possibilities for exploration are endless in this new-old city.

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Tel Aviv Beach 

An institution in Tel Aviv, Gordon Pool is an Olympic-size swimming pool located on the boardwalk right by the marina with the seascape in the background. If you like the atmosphere, but want a clean and organized place to do some serious swimming, this is the perfect place to strap on your goggles and join the locals as they breaststroke their way through the day. Dating back to 1956, this legendary pool underwent thorough renovations a few years ago and the facility now includes pools for children and toddlers as well as a modern wooden deck with sun beds, chairs and large parasols for when you want to rest a little or soak up the sun.

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Shuk  HaCarmel

Otherwise known as the Shuk Hacarmel, Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s largest market and is filled to the brim with spices, fabrics and fresh produce. With dozens of stalls selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and the likes, you can take in all the sights, sounds and smells the Carmel Market has to offer while hunting for the cheapest bargain. The market is especially busy on Fridays, so be sure to get there early for your Shabbat fixings.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Sarona

Sarona Compound, a 140-year-old former Templar colony, is the first culinary center of its kind in Israel. An 8,700-square-meter market houses dozens of specialty food shops from all around the world. Inside the market, you’ll find everything imaginable from Dutch cheese to waffle towers and even Asian buns. Just outside the indoor market, dozens of clothing, book and shoe stores line its lanes, interspersed with lily ponds and grassy areas to relax.

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  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • Tel Aviv Port

In 2001 the Tel Aviv Port, known locally by its Hebrew name Namal Tel Aviv, was completely revamped to the tune of NIS 100 million, becoming one of the biggest attractions in Tel Aviv. The wooden wave-shaped deck is replete with stores, cafes, bars and leisure centers. Even if you don’t fancy dining, shopping or drinking, just walking around to soak up the atmosphere and ocean spray is well worth the time. 

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Tel Aviv City Center

Rabin Square is more than just a large public city space bang in the middle of Tel Aviv. Renamed in 1995 to honor Yitzhak Rabin following his assassination, the iconic space houses numerous political rallies, parades, and holiday events (like the all-night dance-a-thon that is Simchat Torah). Every year, on the weekend closest to the day of Rabin's assassination (Nov 4), thousands of people assemble in the square for a huge commemoration. When not occupied by an event, the open space with its peaceful fountain and unique sculpture is a perfect place to sit down and read a book in front of the Tel Aviv municipality building.

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  • Attractions
  • Public spaces
  • Jaffa Port

Jaffa Port, a renewed culinary, shopping and entertainment stop set in the city's ancient harbor, is home to various merchants and stalls that offer a vibrant and exciting experience inspired by the historical, cultural, and, of course, culinary legacy of its location. Take a stroll around the charming port, watch as elderly, weather-beaten fisherman hook calamari, stop off for an ice cream, or for a spot of live music at the Port’s Container bar. Jaffa Port Market combines traditional and ethnic elements with modern, urban touches. 

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Tel Aviv Beach 

Nothing beats walking – or cycling – along the seaside promenade, breathing in the fresh, salty air of the Mediterranean. With Old Jaffa stamping the horizon to the south and the city’s skyscrapers to the north, it’s no wonder the Tel Aviv boardwalk is considered one of the world’s most beautiful. Sit on a bench on the promenade - or the Tayelet in Hebrew - and watch Tel Aviv life unfold before your eyes with beach-goers, paddle players and joggers doing their thing while the sounds of the waves gently crash on the shore.

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  • Attractions
  • Park  HaYarkon

Ever wanted to experience a hot air balloon? Look no further! Floating up to 120 meters high, this giant balloon is an amazing and unique Tel Aviv attraction. Carrying up to 30 people per ride, this massive helium-filled balloon provides a 360 degree view of Tel Aviv, day or night. Located in the beautiful Yarkon Park this adventurous attraction is sure to impress any visitors to Israel.

Top tip: Book online directly with TLV-Balloon for a 10% discount because we all love a discount. 

  • Museums
  • History
  • Tel Aviv City Center

Part of the Bialik Complex in the UNESCO “White City,” the Museum of the History of Tel Aviv-Yafo is situated in the impressive former Town Hall of Tel Aviv. It boasts multimedia displays chronicling the fascinating history of this city from its founding a century ago until today.

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Shuk HaPishpeshim

Rootle through bric-a-brac to discover vintage treasures and antique furniture in Jaffa’s flea market while brushing up on your haggling skills. Even just wandering among the clothes stalls, traipsing around secondhand stores or grabbing some authentic street food is enough to make for a blissful day.

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Tel Aviv - Jaffa

The Eretz Israel Museum is more than a series of exhibits exploring the history and culture of Israel. Inside the multidisciplinary museum sits a magical place that is literally “out of this world.” At the Planetarium you can sneak a peek at the stars the same way that Galileo did through his telescope. Watch a riveting presentation about the mysterious galaxies that exist all the while spinning in revolving seats or learn about Israel’s first ever astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and view real time pictures of outer space provided by NASA. 

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Tel Aviv Beach 

Wind, sand, surf: water sport lovers have a chance to enjoy all three at Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium Beach, Surf Point - the largest water sport center in Israel. The complex offers lessons in windsurfing, kayaking, and, for the truly adventurous, kitesurfing. Otherwise, just enjoy the sand.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Old North

Like San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza and Barcelona’s Boqueria, Israel’s latest market is an indoor offering of the freshest ingredients peppered with live demonstration cooking stations and upscale, fresh food eateries. Be sure to indulge in the handmade pasta bar.

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  • Theater
  • Performing arts space
  • Jaffa Port

Located in the heart of Jaffa’s port, the Nalaga’at Center is home to one of Israel’s most unconventional and exceptional theaters: deaf and blind actors and hosts take the audience on a magical tour into the districts of their own inner world.

  • Attractions
  • Rivers, lakes and ponds
  • Tel Aviv - Jaffa

For adventurous locals and vacationers, Tel Aviv’s Begin Park offers Lake TLV, a man-made lake with world-class cable waterskiing facilities. Though the lake, open year-round, hosts tournaments for athletes in October and May, July is the high season for families and beginners. First-time visitors watch a short instructional video and receive safety tips from instructors before diving in. Some quick learners might advance to the lake’s seven obstacle courses, which contain jumpers and gliders frequented by professionals. 

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Tel Aviv City Center

The Ben-Gurion House was built in 1930, and was the permanent home of Paula and David Ben-Gurion until they settled in Sde Boker. Upon David Ben-Gurion’s death, he requested his house to become a public institution for reading, study, and research. His extensive library houses thousands of books from all genres: philosophy, history, language, psychology, and more. All the items belonging to Paula and David Ben-Gurion are in the house, in addition to exhibits added when the house opened to the public in 1974. 

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