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The top 14 things to do in Tel Aviv

Discover Tel Aviv with our list of the very best things to do: whether you are looking for restaurants, landmarks, beaches, experiences or ancient sites – Tel Aviv has it all

Written by
Time Out Israel
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With all of Tel Aviv's opportunities for adventure – from finger lickin' culinary endeavors to Gallery hop in Jaffa – it's a legitimate challenge to pick and choose what to see and do first. That's why we've come to the rescue with a tried-and-true to DO list that'll have you chomping at the bit for the day's (and night's) itinerary of locally-loved sites, sounds, and signature Tel Aviv moments.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList.

You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.

The top things to do in Israel

  • Attractions

Wander down Tel Aviv’s most beautiful tree-lined boulevard and embrace the classic Bauhaus architecture. You’ll feel like the ultimate Tel Avivian. With everything from charming cafés, incredible ice cream parlours and lively late night clubs to historical museumsboutique hotels and endless charming places to sit and relax, Rothschild Boulevard is the perfect central Tel Aviv spot to explore. We’ve got the low-down on the must-see sights along the infamous street.

  • Restaurants

Few are the areas in Tel Aviv that can produce such a concentration of fine spots for entertainment and restaurants that provide excellent culinary delights with equally great vibes. The Levinsky Market is the perfect place to refuel your pantry, body, and soul. The style of entertainment is alternative and easy going, and the prices are always easy on wallet. A glass of arak and a sniff of all the spices that abound, and you are in the Levinsky State of Mind.

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  • Art

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.

  • Bars

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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  • Music
  • Jazz

Snap your fingers, tap your feet - because Tel Aviv is alive with beautiful be-bop and cross-rhythm from the jazz genre. As we see more and more special jazz nights popping up on the regular, we have rounded up our favorites, giving you the opportunity to take a hit of the stuff any night of the week. It’s time to add some scat and sax into your life, folks.

  • Restaurants

Amongst its many attributes, there is one quintessential, citycentric element of Tel Aviv - its kiosks ­­- that just may top even some of its European counterparts, given that ours are open and active year-round. When we say kiosks, we're referring to the small wooden structures that passerby will undoubtedly notice going to and from – the pit stops are conveniently peppered across the grassy swaths of the city's wide boulevards, wafting intoxicating whiffs of freshly-brewed coffee and artisanal pastries. Some of these kiosks have progressively become landmarks in the city and are not-to-be-missed when strolling on a lazy weekday morning or afternoon, where you can grab a quick bite and take a breather all in one blissful swoop.

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  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Tel Aviv City Center

There is something so whimsical about looking at old photographs; the colors, (or lack thereof), the fashions and trends, the expressions of people you will never meet, but who may be connected to your ancestry somehow. Thankfully, Israel's impressive progression has been well documented - and The Photohouse's archives are here to prove it. First opened on Allenby Street in 1936, the Photohouse has a massive collection of negatives numbering close to a million images, and today, the shop houses one of the country’s most monumental private archives of historical photographs, recounting the story of Israel's past, and bursting with nostalgia. For those searching for a unique gift, any of the images can be blown up into huge posters, magnets, coasters, and more. Plus, framing is also available on-site. This store is a must-visit for anyone who loves photography and history. 

  • Restaurants

The celebrity Israel chef that made cauliflower ‘cool again’ has developed a monopoly over the local Tel Aviv street food industry. Eyal Shani has mastered the art of taking simple Israeli ingredients and transforming them into little bites of heaven. His Miznon on King George Street has redefined the pita, and his contemporary take at HaSalon brings the best vegetables and raw materials together in a slick, but hip manner. But the food alone isn’t what keeps Shani’s Tel Aviv restaurants booming, years after opening – it’s the loud and lively atmosphere, prime locations (like Port Said’s quaint spot beside the Great Synagogue on Allenby), and unique personality. Plus, with restaurants in Vienna, Paris, and even New York, the Cauliflower King is paving the way for accessible Israeli cuisine worldwide. Here’s a list of Shani establishments in Tel Aviv to check off your list.

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  • Bars

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.

  • Restaurants

After just one flavourful bite of vegan-friendly greasy grub from these sabich establishments, you’ll be singing, “I got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine” from the rooftops. Wondering what Sabich is? The Iraqi inspired vegetarian street snack (less internationally known than its falafel counterpart) consists of a warm pita filled with roasted eggplant, a little bit of potato, some hard boiled egg, creamy tahini, and unique herbs and spices. Walk down the busy streets of Tel Aviv any time of day and you’re bound to pass at least ten shops serving up Israeli street food squeezed between chic designer boutiques and vibrant juice stands. The lines may be long at famous Tel Aviv restaurants like Frishman Sabich and Falafel Gabay, but with good reason. Grab some free pickled vegetables and some patience because we promise you, these spots are well worth the wait.

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  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Tel Aviv - Jaffa

The artfully architected museum houses the best of Israeli art as well as new and old masters. Gracing the walls of this museum are Israel’s most comprehensive collections of modern, contemporary, and Israeli art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of the old masters, diverse temporary exhibitions, displays of photography, design & architecture, a performance hall, and a beautiful, calming sculpture garden to wander around or relax in. When visiting, don’t miss the newest addition to the museum, the Herta and Paul Amir Building, which was designed by professor Preston Scott Cohen. Built around a spiraling, 90-foot high atrium, the Herta and Paul Amir Building is an architectural wonder. The interior space provides a unique setting for the display of contemporary art, a center for architecture, and a gallery.

  • Nightlife

Only in Tel Aviv – the cultural capital of Israel – could the grandest synagogue in town also be the most happening area to grab a drink or a quick bite. With funky chef restaurants like Port Said owned by Tel Aviv street food icon Eyal Shani, the tastiest Thai food in the city, and the juiciest burger in Tel Aviv just nextdoor on Allenby, the Great Synagogue is the focal point for a foolproof evening out. Not to mention, the area is home to a stellar Tel Aviv nightlife scene, spinning cool beats that draw the hipsters over from their Florentin cave. So come one, come all, come early because these popular bars and restaurants around the Great Synagogue fill up fast.

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  • Restaurants

The tests are complete, the results have returned and unfortunately, your condition is quite serious. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news – especially after such an exhausting night of drinking down Dizengoff, barhopping along Allenby, and getting thrown out of that club on Rothschild – but, it seems you are suffering from a bad case of the ‘drunchies’. Yes, we know, it’s dreadful. You’re tired, you say? Don’t sleep now. That hangover that creeps up before a boozy morning of Israeli breakfast at one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv will only be worse if you don’t eat something now. It’s four a.m. and you’re hangry. Our prescription: a heavy dose of greasy pizza, hot hamburgers and anything you can fit in a pita pocket before crashing in bed or on a bench on Allenby…depending how far you can make it (we won’t judge). These ‘drunk munch’ Tel Aviv restaurants have been taste-tested by your very own Time Out team who guarantee that they’re foolproof. Enjoy!

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Tel Aviv Beach 

The vibrant stretch of coastline from Jaffa in the south to Tel Aviv's port in the north awakens all of the senses with a feast of colors, sights, songs, and smells. Nothing beats walking – or cycling – along the seaside promenade, breathing in the fresh, salty air of the Mediterranean. With Old Jaffa stamping the horizon to the south and the city’s skyscrapers to the north, this is the all-time best spot for people-watching and whizzing by. Sitting on a bench to watch local life unfold before your eyes with beach-goers, paddle players, sunset buskers, magicians and more doing their thing as the waves gently crash on the shore.

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