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The best things to do in Tel Aviv with out-of-towners

It doesn’t have to be Rabin Square and Rothschild Boulevard when you have visitors – take them to these local favorites instead

© Ariel Efron

Your brother, parents or ex-boyfriend-turned-best-friend are coming to town, and the pressure is on to show them a great time. While there are the iconic things to do in Tel Aviv like hitting up the Carmel Market and strolling down Rothschild Boulevard, and the beaches in Tel Aviv speak for themselves, why not show your loved ones how the Tel Avivians truly live. Skip the cheesy tourist traps and use our guide to some of the best galleries, restaurants, and hangout spots in town to impress your visitors with how much of an in-the-know Israeli you’ve become.

Cool activities & places to take out-of-towners

1

Sip funky cocktails at Bicicletta

Bicicleta is not a bike shop, but indeed a hidden gem of the area. Their star-quality eggplant fries, funky cocktails, all topped with an adorable backyard garden atmosphere, make for a perfect night out with the girls or that special someone. If you’re feeling the indoor vibes, the quaint upstairs bar area often plays lovely jazz music to relax to after a long day at work. Save room for dessert, because after their amazing happy hour deals, you’ll want to try their halva Toblerone or date cake.  

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White City
2

Sample spices at Levinsky Market

Running the length of Levinsky Street in South Tel Aviv, Shuk Levinsky has a massive range of products, from dried fruit to soaps, spices and nuts. The Levinsky Market is filled with cuisine from cultures all around the world and has ingredients that provide the perfect addition to just about any meal. Among the stores to visit are bakeries, delicatessens and restaurants. Certain shops and restaurants are unique to the shuk, and cannot be found anywhere else in Tel Aviv. The magic Shuk Levinsky lies in the deep history of culinary growth and discovery, stories that continue to appeal to local residents and foreign visitors alike.  

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Shuk Levinsky
3

Gallery hop in Jaffa

Being the Israeli culture hub that it is, Tel Aviv’s gallery scene has truly thrived in recent years. Well, Jaffa took on the challenge to prove that there’s nothing a young sister can do that her older sister can’t (already suggested by the impressive list of Jaffa restaurants). From galleries like Zadik aiming to enhance the viewer’s sensory experience, to newer extensions of of the Israeli art scene, like the new Gordon Gallery, drawing from an international artist-pool, the Old City is claiming its cultural merit. Spend your weekend gallery-hopping around Jaffa – and don’t forget to refuel on Jaffa street food offering some of the tastiest shawarma and shakshuka you’ll ever have.

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By: Jennifer Greenberg
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4

Grab coffee at a local kiosk

In the intersection where Rothschild meets Ben Zion, you'll find one of the best cafés in town. Just across from Habima theater lies this café meets kiosk that produces heavenly coffee drinks and sandwiches that will have you...well, just eat them and you'll find out. Named after its location, Café Habima with its signature graffiti, "We Love You Too", is the place to be if you are looking to capture the Tel Avivian vibe. The location is right on, the people are beautiful, the window displaying the freshly prepared sandwiches is mouthwatering and the general atmosphere suggests that no one really has a job in Tel Aviv. If the weather is nice, and it usually is in Tel Aviv, grab a blanket (you can ask for one) and sip your coffee right on the grass, soaking in the sun. Beware: the lines at the register are sometimes really long. But, once you order, you will get a colorful heart statue signaling to the waiter where you are seated and you will find it was worth the wait. Did we mention service here is everything?

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Tel Aviv City Center
5

Watch a local theater show

Tzavta theatre was founded in 1958 by poet Avraham Shlonsky as a centre for progressive culture and has stood the test of time. It still thrives today as a central showcase space for cultural and artistic expression in Israel. Inviting lecturers to the theatre for political debates adds an extra layer to the alternative cultural centre, bridging the gap between intellectual and artistic creativity.

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Tel Aviv - Jaffa
6

Happy hour like a local

There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down at a cocktail bar on Dizengoff or grabbing a beer near the Carmel Market after a long day at the office. After all, you've earned it. While the Tel Aviv nightlife scene can do major damage to your wallet, not to mention the cost of post-clubbing drunchies that creep up late at night, food and drank doesn’t have to drain your entire day’s earnings. That’s where these five White City happy hour deals come in – from discounted cocktails to half-off food, these Tel Aviv bars have just the thing to tie you over before a big night out, or give you a reason to head home for a nap or hunker down early.

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By: Jennifer Greenberg
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7

Wander through the Yemenite quarter

By day, the Carmel Market, one of the best markets in Israel, is a carnival scene: a clash of curious tourists taking their sweet time and impatient locals just trying to buy dinner. As fish guts and fruit peels are thrown into the main street and water washes away a long day’s work, the shuk becomes void of all shoppers and signs of human existence. Nightfall is when the magic happens. Nestled down the alleyways off the market are some of the best restaurants and hidden bars in Tel Aviv. We’re sharing our city’s well-kept secrets and recently discovered hipster hotspots (that are not in Florentine!) because they’re too cool to pass up, espacially The Space on a Tuesday, when the bar is transformed into an Israel jazz lover's dream. Bring some friends to Carmel Street, but just remember, the more on the down-low you keep these establishments, the less crowded they’ll stay.

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By: Time Out Israel writers
8

Graffiti gander in Florentin

Tel Aviv is the ultimate hipster destination. The hip secular city is at the center of Israeli art and culture, making it the perfect place for Urbanites to cultivate their creativity. Whether in the form of street art, vegan eating, or booming underground nightlife, Tel Aviv is rife with young hipsters looking to chill outside the mainstream. While Neve Tzedek has the vintage clothing and boutique stores part down, if you want in on the true “too-cool-for-school” experience, head to Florentin in south Tel Aviv. With our hipster’s guide to Florentin, you’ll be able to oggle at Israel’s first street art gallery, eat surprisingly authentic mexican food, check out Levinsky street and market, and stay at some funky hostels.

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By: Jennifer Greenberg
9

Sip bubbly at Brut

With an ever-changing menu, numerous specials and unique dishes, Brut is guaranteed to provide satisfying sustenance. The wine bar is run by professionals, so there is no need to hesitate to ask  any questions or seek tips and advice if you are not a wine expert. The environment is calm and charming while also feeling sophisticated and sexy, creating the perfect setting for a romantic night out or a casual evening with friends after work. The food menu is simple and tasty, offering warm pastas and crisp salads. When it comes to wining and dining, Brut is a no-brainer.

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White City
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10

Experience local cuisine at Hahalutzim 3

Situated on HaHalutzim Street in Florentin, adjacent to the authentically Israeli Levinsky Market, HaHalutzim 3 creates simple and tasty dishes prepared with the freshest raw ingredients. The vibe and energy is unpretentious while the food is created with simple and quality methods, ultimately delivering a simply marvelous dish. The menu features an insanely awesome corned beef sandwich, homemade pasta, fine Italian wines, and the most delicious charcuterie plate in Tel Aviv. The atmosphere in this small one-room restaurant is laidback and unassuming, and the service is professional and simple, allowing you to focus only on the important thing: the food.

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Shuk Levinsky
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