Top ten things to do in Tel Aviv for free
The summer days of sand come and go, but the park is here to stay. Although beach season attracts tourists and locals to the Mediterranean coastline like bees to honey, the colder weather tends to scare them off. Hayarkon park, however, is magnificent in its own colorful way year round. Wake up early, hit up Sarona market to pack a picnic of delectable speciality snacks and perhaps a bottle of Israeli wine, then head over to Tel Aviv’s Central Park. From zoos and bird safaris to waterslides, paddle boats and every activity in between, Hayarkon Park is a family’s dream!
With a welcoming coastline and a selection of some of the best beaches in Israel, we’ve highlighted the most happening Tel Aviv beaches spanning from Jaffa in the south to Tel Aviv Port in the north. For your sand-filled pleasure, spend the day like a local sweating through an intense matkot session, play some volleyball on the Gordon Beach strip, or just lay down and soak up the sun. You don't have to spend a shekel at these beaches; they offer some fun in the sun things to do in Tel Aviv at zero cost. After dark, head for a quick shower at your Tel Aviv boutique hotel or hostel and hit the town for a post-beach bite at some of the best Tel Aviv restaurants serving everything from seafood to Italian.
Whether it be a Saturday afternoon or a midweek evening, escaping to the Old Jaffa Port on the other side of the Tel Aviv beach sand strip is a magical thing. The ancient Israeli port that dates back to Biblical times has taken a cue from their modern younger sister, the Tel Aviv Port – they’ve transformed their old warehouses into versatile spaces hosting Jewish art galleries, the most authentic restaurants in Jaffa, including the famed Old Man And The Sea and classic fish n’ chips joints, as well as a unique blind theater center and pitch black restaurant. Soak in the unique charm nestled in and around the hangars of Jaffa Port.
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.
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.
While the Jaffa port has been around since the start, Tel Aviv has developed a newer northern attraction at the opposite end of the sandstrip. During the day, Namal Tel Aviv (the Tel Aviv Port) is surrounded by action: Tel-o-fun bikers on their way to Park HaYarkon, shoppers enjoying the outlet overload, families waiting in line for weekend brunch, and friendly fisherman catching their own. At night, the area’s hangars transform into Tel Aviv’s most happening nightlife scene, hosting crazy parties, community events, and all-night Jazz jams. Come see for yourself at the city’s trendiest hotspot.
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.
The world's first Hebrew language theater, Habima was established in 1918 in Moscow before coming to Tel Aviv. It's a legendary landmark and presents contemporary and modern adaptations of classics and is the eyes, ears, and voice of Israeli culture. While shows inside Habima can be pricey, sitting in the square just outside among flowers and children with a good book is a great free afternoon option.
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.
No camera can quite capture the gallery-worthy watercolour paintings one calls mediterranean sunsets; however, these instagram photos come pretty damn close. Grab a bottle of Israeli wine, pack an evening picnic from Sarona or grab takeout from one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv for delivery and head down to any beach in Tel Aviv from the Tel Aviv Port to Jaffa. While any sunset in Israel is spectacular, there’s something truly special about a White City sunset. In the meantime, to whet your visual appetite, check out these spectacular sunsets.