Lately, I'm being asked a lot about Tel Aviv.
Actually, since the 60 Minutes story on BBC, From Fear to Fortune, was broadcasted on May 20th and featured Tel Aviv as a lively and hedonistic city, there has been an increased interest in Tel Aviv. The city has developed tremendously in recent years; New high rise buildings were built alongside old ones that are being restored. Chic and trendy outdoors cafes, boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants, fashionable boutiques, bakeries, bars, dance bars, an exciting night life scene, new museums, parks, beaches and simply lively people, make the city into an attractive one not only among Israelis but among tourists as well.
As someone who has been living in New York for the last 10 years, every time I come to Tel Aviv for a visit, I am amazed by the endless stream of energy the city has to offer and how fast it changes. Yes, it is true, as Israelis we live in a constant fear of any terror attack or any imbalance in our daily life, but maybe because of that, we have adopted an hedonistic way of living, a way of 'Here and Now' because we don't know what tomorrow will bring.
If you are heading to Tel Aviv this summer (mind you, it is very humid and hot) or if you are planning any getaway sometimes soon, here is some basic information you should know.
The city oldest neighbourhood is a colorful oasis with an atmosphere that evokes an artists' colony or a small village. Spotted with colored old houses next to remodeled ones. Lots of great restaurants, wine bars and the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance is there as well. Beautiful both day and night.
Is a renovated area next to Neve Tzedek, where the old train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem used to pass. Now the area is a home for outdoors restaurants and wine bars, designers' boutiques and gallery space for exhibitions and fashion shows
Is a real gem of Bauhaus architecture. A tree-lined boulevard with old trees, lined with benches and dotted with outdoor coffee kiosks and some chess tables. This is one of the most charming places to stroll, bicycle and hang out. Along the boulevard, there are numerous historical buildings, which have been renovated lately but still maintain the look and the feel of colonial buildings. The Blvd starts at the outskirts of Neve Tzedek and ends at Habima Theater, the national theater of Israel.
This area is where the retro and the Bauhaus Architecture meet. It is also known as "off Rothschild Blvd" and the side streets. There is a mix of old crumbling buildings being renovated with great boutique hotels and upscale restaurants. This is one of my favorite areas, mostly for its great photography potential and because I love the architecture and the colorful renovated buildings. Take a peek at one of the most interesting furniture store Rugine. Something to get some inspiration from.
The Carmel Market (Shuk Hacarmel) and Kerem Hateymanim:
The Carmel Market is the largest outdoors market in Tel Aviv which sells everything from toiletries, clothes, meat, fruit and vegetables and some delicatessen cheese. Kerem Hateymanim is a small neighbourhood named after the immigrants from Yamen. In recent years this small crumbling neighbourhood was discovered by bohemian Tel Avivians looking for some inexpensive housing. These days there are lots of boutique hotels and upscale restaurants even in the middle of the Market.
Jaffa ancient Port and the Flea Market:
Are both picturesque and colorful locations. The old part of Jaffa includes the ancient port, some historic sites, restored housing dating back to the Ottoman period and some upscale restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The flea market is buzzing especially during the weekdays and crowded with some interesting characters, deals and steals.
If you want to escape the craziness of the city and unwind for a bit or breath some fresh salty air, head West toward the Mediterranean Sea. There is no better way to clear your thoughts than staring at the ocean. Tel Aviv beaches are well equipped with plastic beach chairs, wide beach umbrellas, restaurants and of course lifeguards stations. More info about Tel Aviv beaches
A Bit of Culture:
Here are some of my favorite places I go and check out when I visit Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, (check out the new addition of the museum) The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, Diaspora Museum Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel Museum, Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance, The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, The Israel Opera Tel Aviv Yafo and The Felicja Blumental Music Center. I wouldn't skip some galleries spaces such as Baad Gallery, Gordon Gallery 2 (the new edition to Gordon Gallery) Tempo Rubato Gallery , ArtStation and the newest loft of Art, Feinberg Projects.
Eat, Sleep and Drink:
By the next time I be in Tel Aviv (September) there will be so many new places that has been recently opened; Bars and restaurants, bistro bars, bakeries and cafes to hang out, new galleries, urban spaces and boutique hotels. It is not easy to keep up with that rhythm of the city and yet, I hope this list will help you find your tempo and way in the city.
Tel Aviv, and especially the quiet neighborhood of Neve Tzedek are spotted with a lot of small boutique hotels that offer a great local experience. Please check online for availability and price range: Most of the following are boutique hotels; Hotel Montefiore, The Varsano, Nina Cafe Hotel, Neve Tzedek Hotel, Art Plus Hotel, Brown Tel Aviv, and the recent edition Townhouse Tel Aviv.
Recommended Restaurants: Tel Aviv and Jaffa are filled with great restaurants varies from all kinds of Mediterranean food, seafood, Italian and more. With these restaurants you can't go wrong; Coffee Bar Yad Haruzim , Manta Ray, Oh Yona, Dr. Shakshuka, Catit, Container, Messa, Kitchen Market and Delicatessen.