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Tel Aviv - Jaffa © Shutterstock

Tel Aviv from A to Z

Here’s your A to Z guide to Tel Aviv, whether you’re a tourist planning your vacation or a local looking for something original to do

By Sharon Feiereisen
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We’ve put together a guide to navigating the White City that you'll actually want to follow. We’re talking boozing while painting, smoothie bowls loaded with fresh blueberries (which all locals know is a rarity), and kosher food that’s actually amazing. Here’s your A to Z guide to Tel Aviv, whether you’re a tourist planning your vacation schedule or a local looking for something other than Netflix and tanning.

The ABC's of Tel Aviv

Allenby Street © Shutterstock

A

Allenby is where it's at...

Stretching 2.5km, there’s a lot to love and hate about Allenby. Look past the incessant honking traffic, no-name shops hawking glittering gowns next to kiosks blaring mizrahi music and you’ll find that Allenby crosses some of Tel Aviv’s most lively and vibrant streets including Sheinkin (perfect for shopping), Nahalat Binyamin (where a biweekly Arts & Craft market takes place), and Magen David Square, off of which you’ll find the famous Carmel Market.

Tel Aviv © Shutterstock

B

Bauhaus blooms in Tel Aviv

One of the most amazing things about the White City is that it’s totally walkable – you can literally walk from Jaffa's old city and port all the way up to northern Tel Aviv in about two hours. The walkability of the city combined with its over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings make it an architecture lover’s dream. Note the extreme dichotomy of stunningly retired UNESCO World Cultural Heritage buildings sidling rather decrepit ones, but that’s all part of the charm.

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Carmel Market © Shutterstock

C

Chomp at the bit

Hitting up the markets in Tel Aviv is a must, all of them! Head to the Shuk HaCarmel to stock up on souvenirs and fresh fruit/produce and then walk over to the Levinsky Market for tea leaves, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. On Fridays, check out the Shuk HaNamal where you’ll find the city’s best dates. For those good at spotting a needle in a haystack, head to Jaffa’s Flea Market, Shuk Hapishpeshim, to unearth some goodies.

Suzanne Dellal © Amos Gil

D

Dance for all

Suzanne Dellal Center, a.k.a. the homebase of Israel's international dance company, BatSheva, is spread across four performance halls, and features rehearsal studios, a restaurant and café, and wide plazas where you’ll often find eclectic outdoor events. Every month the dance hub hosts a number of performances and workshops showcasing leading and emerging dance companies and choreographers from around the world. They also have a slew of engaging options for kids.

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Beit Kandinoff © Anatoli Michaelov

E

Eat your art out

Beit Kandinoff is fast becoming one of Jaffa’s most popular nightlife spots (even by day now that they serve brunch). In addition to a great vibe and delicious Middle Eastern fare, they regularly host events including booze and art-themed sessions. For art that’s a bit less hands on, check out The Red House, an art-based community center which regularly hosts shows and performances.

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F

Falafel joints for days

Everyone has their go-to falafel spot and you can spend hours arguing about the merits of one over the other. Some inarguable standouts, however, include Yashka, Hakosem, and Falafel Gabay. 

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Gaga with Ohad Naharin © Gadi Dagon

G

Going Gaga 

Forget Zumba, you can experience the latest dance craze first-hand in Tel Aviv by taking one of the many Gaga classes offered throughout the city. The concept was developed by world-renowned Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin and is basically like The Class by Taryn Toomey, but with an Israeli spin. It’s the perfect non-workout, workout.

Hilton Beach © Shutterstock

H

Hit up the beach

From Mezizim to Jaffa, you can’t really go wrong with any of Tel Aviv’s beaches, but make it a point to hit up Gordon (where you’ll spot Tel Aviv’s version of Muscle Beach), Hilton Beach – which recently revamped its café area – and Bograshov Beach which is in close proximity to beach day food options.

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© Shutterstock

I

Ice cream, you scream

Paletas are nice and refreshing, but when you’re in the mood for something truly decadent head to Stefan Gelato where Austrian chef Stefan Macher makes his all-natural concoctions (don’t be fooled by their lack of artificial ingredients, however, they’re full of fat, sugar, and totally worth-it calories) in unique flavors like Linzer torte, Sachar torte, or apple strudel.

© Shutterstock

J

Jugs and bowls

There’s no denying the perennial appeal of jugs full of juices, smoothies, and acai bowls from Tamara, but if you’re seeking even more options – and ones that aren’t full of added sugars – head to Urban Shaman. The bustling vegan spot even has smoothie, bowl options and juices with hard-to-find ingredients like blue spirulina, maca powder, ashwagandha and more for boosting your mental and digestive health.

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K

Kosher gourmet

Kosher isn’t typically synonymous with great food, but Eyal Shani’s Malka delivers just that (and then some – don’t forget to order the soufflé!). Meir Adoni’s kosher fish spot, Lumina, and his meat eatery, Blue Sky, both at the Carlton Hotel, are also both equally worthy of time and money… whether or not you’re actually kosher.

Gordon Pool © Shutterstock

L

Laps at Gordon Pool

Work up a sweat at Gordon Gym before heading next door to enjoy some saltwater laps at Gordon Pool. The complex, located right on the beach, consists of three pools filled with ground water drawn from a depth of 150 meters. All are emptied and refilled with fresh water every night (note: the water is cold!). Among the three pools there’s an Olympic-sized one, a children’s pool, and a toddler pool. Daily passes are available.

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Matkot © Shutterstock

M

Matkot made me do it!

Don’t call it beach tennis! The paddle ball game you see young and old alike playing all along the beach of Tel Aviv is matkot and involves hitting a small rubber ball with a wooden racket as many times as possible without dropping it. Pick up a set at any tourist shop.

Benedict © Nimrod Sanders

N

Nobody loves breakfast more than Israelis

Even the most basic breakfast spots in Tel Aviv are still pretty damn good. Whether you’re going for classic spots like Benedict, known for their all-day omelets and pancakes, or new hot spots like Popular, or the just-launched vegan brunch at Bana, you really can’t go wrong.

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Old Jaffa © Shutterstock

O

Old Jaffa transports you back in time  

The ancient Old Jaffa and Port area has one of Tel Aviv’s most stunning Mediterranean Sea views. Perfect for a scenic walk, the area is covered in cobblestoned streets and filled with vibrant communities. You’ll want to make sure to stop by the iconic Clock Tower and the famous The Old Man and The Sea restaurant, as well as the newly opened and totally glamourous, Setai Hotel.

Port Said © Ariel Efron

P

Pick a spot on the stairs

When asked, many Israelis say that Port Said is their favorite restaurant. Patrons are literally flooding celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s Israeli restaurant (and all the areas around it) so take a spot among the outside stairs and wait for your table at this scene-y no-reservation spot. Luckily, the waiting scene is just as strong as what you’ll find once you’re actually seated at a table. Ditto for his Jaffa spot: Beit Romano.

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Park HaYarkon © Shutterstock

Q

Quiet time in Park HaYarkon

Tel Aviv is a vibrant city, but it’s also filled with beautiful urban parks, the most famous being the sprawling Park HaYarkon, Tel Aviv's largest green space. No matter how you like to take your breather, there are plenty of laid-back, relaxing activities that the whole family can enjoy from strolling, cycling or picnicking, to running or boating.

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R

Rock climbing is the new way to get shredded for summer

There are a number of rock-climbing and bouldering sites in and around Tel Aviv, including both indoor and outdoor options. While there are serious climbers that partake in this muscle-building sport, rock climbing is popular among teens and makes for a fun, unique, family-bonding activity. The most popular spots include Performance Rock and iClimb TLV.

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© Shutterstock

S

Silicon Wadi is actually a thing

Israel’s answer to Silicon Valley, Silicon Wadi (Wadi is the Arabic word for valley) is not only actually a thing, it’s a fast-growing thing. It’s the area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain with a heavy concentration of high-tech companies -- and its rate of development is second in intensity only to Silicon Valley. The area is a hub for innovation and inspiration and with more and more companies selling for millions – and billions – every year, it’s the perfect place to network (and look for your next job…).

Tel Aviv Museum © Shutterstock

T

Take me to the Museum

Given that it’s such a new country, the number of cultural offerings that Israel has to offer is nothing short of astounding. In Tel Aviv alone you have the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which houses a comprehensive collection of classical and contemporary art (with a focus on Israeli art), a sculpture garden, and a youth wing; the Eretz Israel Museum where you’ll find archaeological, anthropological, and historical artifacts, and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, which boasts some 5.5 million items that document the history of humankind, as well as the flora and fauna of the Middle East dating back thousands of years.

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Lighthouse

U

Urban escapes

Tel Aviv may be late to join the rooftop trend train (perhaps it’s because there aren’t that many skyscrapers - yet), but for the buildings that do boast them, they are all out amazing. Check out the 360 degree panoramic views from the top of The Light House Hotel. Make some noise at The Prince and Speakeasy, and throw back drinks and good grub at Suramare. All offer drinks, food, and an upbeat atmosphere.

OCD © Haim Yossef

V

Vying for a rezzie

The idea of making a reservation a week in advance used to be quite out-of-the-oridinary in Tel Aviv, not many of the hottest tickets in town require well over a month notice. If you’re looking for table dancing make it a point to reserve a spot at HaSalon. For an unforgettable molecular gastronomy-inspired tasting menu checkout OCD, and for delicious bites in a beautiful setting, reserve a table at Vicky Cristina located in Neve Tzedek's  Old Train Station Complex, HaTachana.

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Tel Aviv © Shutterstock

W

Watersports break

Given that Tel Aviv sits along the sea it's no surprise that there are plenty of watersport options. Surfers can beeline for Topsea Surfing Center for lessons (all levels) or those who prefer to go solo Hilton, Dolphinarium, and Ha’Chof Hamaravi beach are the go-to spots. Diving can be done independently or at Dive Tel Aviv and you can windsurf at Sea Center Tel Aviv, which also offers kayaks.

Fantastic © Anatoly Michaello

X

X-Factor

Light up your Instagram feed by making a reservation at any one of Ariel Leizgold’s Tel Aviv spots. The entrepreneurial cocktail master’s latest opening is the totally whimsical Mr. Fantastic, but Bellboy (great for brunch!) and 223 are equally worthy and all offer food options that are just as picture worthy as the cocktails.

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Y

Yachting, Naturally

Sail the high seas straight out of Jaffa Port. Throw caution to the wind in a luxury yacht with the Sailor Yacht Club, a team of local mariners offering a range of options - from literally learning the ropes via a full-fledged skipper course (available in both English and Hebrew), chartered day trips or starlight sailing out on the Med for up to 12 people, fishing trips and even SeaBnB rentals.

© Shutterstock

Z

Zzz's for nap-time in Tel Aviv

There's nothing better than some quick shut eye to get through an active day in the nonstop city. Lay back and breathe in the sea in Charles Clore Park, head to the recliner chairs on Rothschild Boulevard (prime lounging spots), or chill at Habima Square admist classical music, an open invitation to run away from civilization when the going gets tough.

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