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
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.
Dubbed "The White City" for its UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage Site of over 4,000 Bauhaus and International Style buildings from the 1930s,Tel Aviv's central hub for strolling, tech start ups and coffee kiosks is an unassuming diamond in the rough. The manicured neighborhood's raging restaurant scene pays homage to cultivating the local lay of the land, and famous Israeli chefs are equally at home crafting innovative delicacies as they are helming street food joints with a twist. The area's entirely walkable (and cyclable) grid makes for a seamless axis for transport across Tel Aviv and strolling with your neck craned to the endless blue above, you'll find an awe-inspiring smattering of not only the largest number of Bauhaus buildings in the world, but also a progressively shifting skyline; dilapidated facades from Tel Aviv's inception sidling stark white emblems of the city to come.
Habima, Israel’s legendary national theater, is a must-visit located at the renovated beautiful Habima Square in the heart of Tel Aviv. 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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most beautiful areas in Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek is not only the city’s oldest neighborhood, today it is also one of the trendiest and priciest. With many buildings renovated to befit the original architectural style of the area, the charming mix of classic-quaint with modern design has made this small enclave a major draw for artists and the bourgeoisie, who live side by side with the working class residents who’ve been living there since day one. Aside from the quality boutiques and restaurants dotting the main thoroughfare – Shabazi Street – there are also quite a few cultural establishments worth exploring.
This gallery boasts custom-curated, site-specific installation exhibitions from Israeli and international artists. 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.
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!
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.