Ever bought handcrafted calendars from a seasonal pop-up Israeli market inside a Florentine club? Ever stocked up on warm weekend stews during those chilly winter months in the basement of a mall in Tel Aviv? Ever witnessed someone shape an intricate sterling silver wire bracelet in seconds in the middle of the street? If not, than these unique markets should be at the top of your shopping list. Take a break from Carmel Market's screaming vendors and cheesy gifts to experience the true Israel at these atypical markets. From art up north to homemade food to items that cannot be boxed into a category, here’s our list of the most unique Israeli markets.
Our guide to out-of-the-ordinary Israeli markets
This sprawling market is rife with antique stands wheelin’ and dealin’ on vintage frocks, old war paraphernalia, art deco jewelry, ancient tomes, and more. Have no fear, bust out your haggling skills here – merchants expect to make deals. The market used to pop up in Dizengoff square every week, but now, due to the construction, the market has temporarily moved to Givon Square.
In one of the oldest districts in Tel Aviv, adjacent to the Carmel Market, Nahalat Binyamin Street has a wonderful now-not-so-well-known secret, which makes itself known twice a week. Every Tuesday and Friday, the Arts and Crafts Fair brings around 220 artists together as they attempt to sell their works. Each artist has a regular stall, so if you like the look of a piece of art, but don’t want to buy it just yet, you can always come back to the same spot next week to think again – although be careful, it may have already been snagged by another member of Tel Aviv’s art-hungry community. Each work of art is authentic and original, creating an extra-special atmosphere as you stroll through a sea of pure creativity. From stunning glass dinnerware to one-of-a-kind custom-made door signs, this is the ultimate place to truly experience the art capital of Israel.
The Greek Market takes its name from its creators. Built by the Greek Orthodox monastery of Jaffa in the late 19th century, the area just east of the iconic Clock Square has been taken over by the Greek community. Shops line the alleyways, while wide openings allow for comfortable seating. Every friday, artisans and artists swarm the compound selling crafts, flowers, antiques, and vintage keepsakes. Weave through the magical old streets of this charming area and you may even catch a live music performance.
As you step inside the Art Market Tel Aviv’s colorful, spacious showroom, you’ll leave Tel Aviv and enter Soho, New York. The inviting gallery space in the Tel Aviv Port is part of the Bruno Art Group and nearly a century old. With an extensive collection including works by emerging and acclaimed artists, both Israeli and international, the gallery sells works at a wide range of prices, so you don’t need to be a mogul to pick up a piece for your living room.
The flea market in Haifa's Lower City is a gem for vintage lovers and collectors, but a recent facelift has opened the area to the wider public. On weekdays, the market is quiet, operating solely during morning hours, but it comes to life on Saturdays and Sundays selling everything from old enamel utensils and used sneakers to ornaments and cut class.
At the end of every week, the bottom level of Dizengoff Center and winding walkways leading up to it transform into a magical food fair with stalls as far as the eye can see. Each stall offers a different array of homemade foods, from locally prepared Israeli dishes to Yemenite pita, Asian creations and more, this pop-up prepared food market is perfect for stocking up pre-Shabbat.
Although it may not be a market per se, we've included Puaa in the mix because of its embodiment of the flea market mentality. Every piece of furniture in the café is for sale. Its colorful carpets, antique ornaments and comfy couches give the restaurant a homey, authentic feel - and can give your home that same atmosphere if you're into it.
Poor quality bric-a-brac lies alongside vintage treasures and antique furniture in Jaffa’s flea market. Of all the places to work your haggling skills, this is it. 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.