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
© Shutterstock
By Jennifer Greenberg |
Gordon Beach
© Shutterstock

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.

Jaffa port
© Shutterstock
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.

© 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.  

© 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.

© Shutterstock
Music, Classical and opera

An alternative Tel Aviv Museum tour

While the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is overflowing with incredible revolving art exhibitions to keep you on your toes, the complex conceals some other lesser known gems. Hiding in plain sight behind two large wooden doors is a quaint concert hall, hosting all kinds of musicians from baroque to jazz. Grab a cocktail at the classy Pastel beforehand, where they are mixing up dangerous combinations like a beet vodka tonic called "Rush Hour."

Jazz venues
© Shutterstock

Booze and Blues?

Tel Aviv's weekly blues jam is BYOB: bring your own band, but no need to 'bring your own booze'. The top blues jam in Tel Aviv continues to live up to its reputation, Sunday after Sunday. Pasáž is a great place to enjoy muddy waters and all you can drink booze at the beginning of the work week, while listening to the Blues&Booz House band.

© Shutterstock

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.  

Levontin 7
© Natisha Shpaner

A gig at the Barby

While there are many live performance spaces in Tel Aviv like Zappa and Levontin 7, ask any musician their favorite place to perform, and their answer will surely be the Barby club. This grungy nightlife spot located on the eastern side of Tel Aviv is the place to hear the latest live acts in the White City. Showcasing a wide range of artists, Barby is guaranteed to satisfy your tastes, no matter what they may be. Often referred to as Tel Aviv's best concert venue, this dark massive room is a haven for those looking to let loose and feel the groove.

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).

Café Castel
© Anatoli Michaelo

Coffee from a kiosk

...No, not the typical Israeli notion of a "kiosk," equivalent to what Canadians call "the Dep" or Americans cherish as a "convenience store," "deli," or "place to get 40s and Twinkies." There are two things Tel Avivians know well: coffee and sunshine. While the White City’s café scene is as happening as ever, there’s something truly local about sipping an espresso smack dab in the middle of the outdoor action, whether on Dizengoff, Rothschild, or Ben Gurion.

Show more