In today’s capitalist world, we've become accustomed to the notion that nothing is really free. Well, we are here to challenge this concept. Here are our top things to do in Tel Aviv that are completely and utterly free of charge. Take a walk in the enchanting Park HaYarkon and feed the animals in the animal corner, dip in the Mediterranean sea and play some beach volleyball at the sandy courts on Gordon Beach, or head over to the Tel Aviv Port for a beautiful sunset stroll. For more attractions (not all free though) visit our top Tel Aviv attractions or go big with our long list of things to do in Israel.
Top ten things to do in Tel Aviv for free
New York has Central Park, London has Hyde Park, and Tel Aviv has it’s very own Hayarkon Park. The popular green lung (also known as Ganei Yehoshua Park) 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 while watching the beautiful people of Tel Aviv go by – something we definitely recommend. But if you’re up for something a little more adventurous, this urban park has plenty on offer for nature lovers right through to extreme sports enthusiasts. Tucked away in the eastern part of the park lies one its biggest surprises – a Rock Garden hosting over 3,500 species of plants, including a massive area dedicated solely to cacti, interspersed among different rock formations. Just across from the Rock Garden is a five-acre Tropical Garden full of palm trees, orchids and vines as well as a lake full of fish. Not far away, also on the east side of the park, is a bird safari known as Tsipari, set in lush gardens with a beautiful mini-lake, as well as a petting zoo, a bird sanctuary, and a large soft play area for kids complete with a climbing apparatus.
Gordon Beach boasts volleyball courts and a lovely saltwater swimming pool, surrounded by lawns to lounge on. On the boardwalk you’ll find a myriad of restaurants serving huge portions of classics like Israeli breakfast, fresh fish, sandwiches and a huge array of salads. After sundown, various outdoor beach bars provide sun-burnt partiers with some afterhours fun with DJs, drinks and dancing.
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. The 1,200 square metered area is set up like a race track, one path going through its entire length with shops, restaurants, galleries and booths on either side. Passageways peering into open-plan kitchens offer a carousel of tastes, smells and colors.
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.
In the heart of Jaffa's Old City, this church is dedicated to Saint Peter's raising Tabitha from the dead, which is reported to have occurred in Jaffa. With roots from the 16th Century, the 19th Century building features an impressive vaulted ceiling, stained glass windows, and marble walls.
Since its opening in 1999, Sommer Contemporary Art gallery has been committed to promoting Israeli artists in the international art scene, as well as representing and exhibiting leading international artists in Israel and abroad. In the gallery's project room ‘S2,’ young curators receive an opportunity to put on small scale exhibitions of emerging artists.
Beachside eateries offering good food, a late night lounge bar, a super-chilled atmosphere and beach loungers can be found at this legendary beach. With a playground, decent toilets and a prime location only minutes from the Tel Aviv Port, it’s easy to understand why Mezizim has become the beach of choice for both families and young patrons.
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 sheer range of attractions in Old Jaffa is startling, from mosques and churches to ancient clock towers; wishing bridges; sculptures; yoga classes; museums; galleries; trendy restaurants and bars, the list of things to do in this new-old city is never ending.
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. There’s an indoor market at Hangar 12 which offers the freshest and finest of Israeli food – but prepare for boutique prices. There is also plenty to keep the little ones occupied. With three playgrounds spanning over 9,000 meters, the Namal’s Yarid HaMizrach aims to cater to kids of all ages – including those in their forties! The playground equipment, designed in England and Germany, is outstanding – both from the perspective of childs-play and visually – and includes slides, climbing ropes, a boat swing, a cable pyramid with hammocks and a 30 meter long zip-line.