20 things you can do if you're new to Tel Aviv, according to locals

New in town? Check out this top 20 list of places to go, people to see, and things to do according to those who know it best
Jaffa © Shutterstock
By Jennifer Greenberg |
Gordon Beach
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A stroll along the Boardwalk

While those new to Tel Aviv will probably jump at the first opportunity to hit the beach, no matter the season, it's always nice to get a new perspective of the Mediterranean. Walking aimlessly along the winding boardwalk from one port to the other is the perfect way to clear your mind and take in the beauty of boundless ocean.

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Hummus until you drop

The uses for hummus are limitless: dipping sauce, salad dressing, main course… dessert? Just ask Zohan. Lucky for you, Tel Aviv has some of the most authentic and tastiest places to eat this Israeli staplefrom hole in the wall joints in the shuk, to patios on King George, and shops that people wait in line at for hours. Word of advice: if you’re not so full after the meal that you feel like you can’t walk home then you’re doing it wrong.

Jaffa port
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Things to do

A Jaffa exploration

Whether you've been here five days or five decades, Jaffa's ancient charm never fades. Take advantage of the weekend and spend the day wandering through the stone-paved back alleyways of the flea market area until you happen upon a new gem. Then head home, rinse and repeat, and discover a new treasure.

© Assaf Pinchuk

A glass of wine in Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek's Parisian charm provides the perfect backdrop for any girls night out. Find the Shabazi Street(side) terrace that feels right (don't overthink it) and sit back with a summer rose or full bodied cabernet sauvignon and a friend while watching the passersby. Don't worry if you start to feel a little tipsy, Anita's (the best ice cream around, especially once drunk) is just steps away.

Yarkon Park © Shutterstock
Things to do

A picnic in the park

It only takes one summer weekend in Tel Aviv to understand that Saturday picnics are not just an outing, they’re a lifestyle. Save your boozy brunch money for a good ol’ fashion Yogi Bear style picnic in Park Hayarkon (though the red and white checkered blanket may be slightly more elephant-printed from the Carmel Market).

© Anatoly Michaello

A Shuk smorgasbord

As a tourist, it's easy to get drawn into the first falafel cart that catches your eye when walking down the center of Shuk HaCarmel. Don't fall into the trap! Take your time, explore everything – especially the pop-up food stalls sprinkled behind the Shuk in HaKerem – and scope out the best bites to try. Go with friends to maximize your tasting opportunities, and locals to minimize tourist trap potential.  

Tel-O-Fun (Green Rental Bike)
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icon-location-pin Park  HaYarkon

There’s something about riding down the street with the wind in your hair, trying to avoid hoards of tourists and overly aggressive drivers, that is quintessentially Tel Aviv. If you’re new to town and haven’t purchased a bike (yet), take a spin on some rented wheels with Tel-o-fun and check out places that are too far to walk, even for the most ardent of Tel Avivians. With “exotic” locations like the Herzliya Marina and Shuk Hatzafon a mere ride away, get on a bike and check them out today–it will definitely be more fun, and faster, than going by bus.

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A LOT of ice cream

It won't take long to understand that the national food staple of Israel is not, in fact, hummus or falafel or sabich. No, no. Tel Avivians take their ice cream seriously. No need to scope out the top ice cream parlors around, just follow the fresh ice cream drippings laced with the residual scent of sugar-high children.  

Rothschild Boulevard

People watching on Rothschild

As a newbie, you still might be searching for those perfect people watching spots – where you can perch on a chair and pretend to read a book, while actually gazing enviously at families and young hipster lovers. Look no further. The lounge chairs at the end of Rothschild Boulevard just before Habima are the perfect answer to all of life's people watching woes. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. [Speaking of books...]

Dizengoff drinks
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A Dizengoff cocktail crawl

Lightweights beware. This central Tel Aviv strip may look pretty during the daytime hours, with plenty of shopping spree temptations, but come sundown, Dizengoff Street transforms into a bustling bar scene. From sweet and spicy concoctions served up in oversized teapots to a life changing cocktail rightfully called "The Cure," how do you choose? Choose them all. Bar hop ’til you drop.

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