When visiting Tel Aviv, you will not only be in a vibrant city with a long and established history, but you will also experience, explore, and discover the many aspects the city has to offer. From its diverse art scene, creative cuisine, serene beaches, and cultural sites and events, each day of your stay, you can indulge your sense of adventure, please your palate, satisfy your desire for relaxation or partake of the city’s reputation for nighttime entertainment from food to nightclubs.
The Vibrant Culture of Tel Aviv
A blending of cultures and ideas is what you will encounter when visiting Tel Aviv. The city is modern and young at heart, which means there is a good time to be enjoyed by all whenever and wherever you plan to spend the day or evening.
Tel Aviv has earned the reputation as “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool.” It is also referred to as “the city that never sleeps” and “party capital.” These nicknames describe the city’s upbeat and savvy attitude. Cultural influences, creative cuisine, beautiful beaches, and a nightlife scene that never stops are all on the menu of items that Tel Aviv serves every day.
While food and nightlife are high on the list of things to do in Tel Aviv, culture also plays a significant role. Whether attending a performing arts event, perusing creative works or art, or visiting the museums to enjoy the exhibits, there are plenty of cultural influences to provide an interesting and entertaining day or evening.
Exploring the Art Scene
Along with its other nicknames, Tel Aviv has earned the designation as the country’s “cultural capital.” The city has earned this title due to its creative community of artists, dancers, filmmakers, architects, and poets. There are a variety of places to visit where you can explore and embrace the art scene.
Whilst not in Tel Aviv, we felt that Ein Hod deserved an honorary mention. Situated at the base of Mount Carmel in the Carmel Forest, Ein Hod is an artists’ village overlooking the Mediterranean coastline. The small community is home to creative artists, their workshops, and their studios.
Founded in 1953, the quaint village offers visual arts, such as unusual sculptures, detailed glasswork and artwork, custom jewelry, and photography, along with music, literature, and dance. The village itself is a work of art with its picturesque setting set amid ancient stonework from the Ottoman Empire and the Christian Crusades.
While in the village, plan an overnight stay at the Inn, dine at one of the restaurants or cafes, visit one of the many galleries and studios and peruse artwork and exhibits. Visitors can take part in workshops and tours.
Tel Aviv isn’t lacking in providing visitors with more than twenty art museums featuring everything from eccentric to eclectic to impressionist to modern. Several of the museums to add to your list of places to visit include the Joseph Bau House Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Nachum Gutman Museum of Art, Zygo Art Gallery, and the Uri Geller Museum.
Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center
The art scene also includes the performing arts and talented performers bring the stage to life with a variety of scheduled entertainment. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center offers three choices to show off the talent of performing artists.
For an evening of music, the center houses the Israeli Opera. If you prefer graceful movement, plan to watch the Israel Ballet, or be mesmerized by performances at the Cameri Theatre. Get in the mood before any of the performances with a 75-minute behind-the-scenes tour.
Culinary Delights of Tel Aviv
When it’s time to wine and dine, Tel Aviv has more than enough choices in restaurants and cafes and diverse menus to satisfy the need for good food and to replenish energy levels. Along with its other designations, Tel Aviv was noted in an article as, “Why Israel Might Have the World’s Best Restaurant Scene.” That says a lot about what you can expect when finding culinary delights is on the agenda.
Consider these dining destinations for tasty, creative, and satisfying cuisine.
For a lively atmosphere combined with excellent service and a delectable Turkish menu, Onza rates high on the list with travelers who appreciate good food and friendly staff who are more than willing to describe the dishes and help you make the perfect selection. Located in Jaffa, Onza is open for lunch Friday and Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 6:30 pm to 11:30 p.m.
Experience traditional Yemeni dishes made from scratch. The menu features a variety of homemade items, such as flavorful soups and stews. Relax in the inviting atmosphere and enjoy something good to eat or your favorite cocktail or wine from the bar. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
When your taste buds are wanting food with flair, visit Taizu, where perfectly prepared Asian fare is on the menu. The atmosphere is upbeat and upscale, which blends perfectly with the gourmet dishes. The restaurant offers meat and vegan dishes, both rich in flavor and the perfect level of spiciness. Every Sunday, starting at 7:00 p.m., diners can enjoy the restaurant’s Indian Evening festival, where the menu is all about the taste of India. Open for lunch Saturday through Thursday, brunch on Friday, and dinner Monday through Sunday.
Relaxing on the Beautiful Beaches
Bring your sunscreen, beach towel, and sunglasses and enjoy the pristine beaches and refreshing waters of Tel Aviv’s beaches.
Ideal for families, Frishman Beach provides plenty of places for kids to play, plus swimming areas with nets for protection when kids are playing in the ocean. There is also workout equipment and volleyball courts for added entertainment. For travelers staying in the city, the beach is close by and easily accessible. Before or after spending time at the beach, enjoy one of the many restaurants and cafes located beachside for great food, beer, and cocktails.
Mezizim Beach is a popular destination not only for its calm waters and fewer crowds in the winter, but also for its beachside bars. Whether you are visiting when the temperatures are warm or you’re looking for a fun place to wine and dine when the weather cools down, this beach is one of the best year-round destinations.
Pick your swimming pleasure at Gordon Beach, where you can float in the ocean waters or swim in the saltwater swimming pool. Both are readily accessible depending on your preference. Play a game of volleyball on the beach, or set up a lounge chair, soak up some sun, and work on your tan. In the evening, the atmosphere turns lively, with beach bars and trendy nightspots lighting up the night.
Jerusalem Beach is a beautiful and scenic spot with its long stretches of sugar-white sand and turquoise-green waves pounding the coastline. Take a refreshing swim in the cool waters, and on some days, the waves make the beach a surfer’s paradise. If you prefer to watch the waves, enjoy the cool breezes, and stay dry, you will see cabanas set up along the ocean providing plenty of shade.
Charles Clore Beach
At Charles Clore Beach, you can spend the entire day enjoying the sun, sea, sand, and park. Bring along a picnic lunch or pick up some items to barbeque in the grassy park area. There is also a skate park and workout equipment. From the beautiful sandy beach to the green areas of the park, you can spend time relaxing the way you want to. During the “in season,” the beach is lifeguard-monitored. Nearby, the beachfront Manta Ray restaurant provides delectable Middle Eastern seafood cuisine plus an extensive drink menu.
Discovering the Historic Jaffa
In Israel, Jaffa is known to be the country’s oldest port. The ancient city stands majestically on a hill, looking out at the broad horizon of the sea. Its long history includes Roman and Egyptian influences, followed by periods that involved the Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans, and on into the British mandate period. Legends and myths abound surrounding the ancient city from the Greeks and Poseidon and Andromeda, Jonah and the Whale, Saint Peter, and King Solomon.
Things to See and Do Plus Jaffa’s Hidden Gems
St. Peter’s Church
For travelers with an interest in architecture, St. Peter’s Church in Old Jaffa is a beautifully detailed church with an exterior that has a contemporary Spanish flare and an exquisite Baroque-style interior. It was built over the city’s medieval citadel in the 19th century CE and completed in 1894. It is the largest building residing in Old Jaffa. The church is open daily and well worth a visit.
Suspended Orange Tree
Oranges are grown in Jaffa. Known as the Jaffa orange or Shamouti orange, it is an especially sweet-tasting citrus fruit. The Suspended Orange is an unusual but interesting attraction located in the Old City. The orange tree is planted in an earthenware pot and suspended by wires attached to nearby homes. A cobblestone pathway leads visitors to art galleries and studios. The landmark was created by artist Ran Morin and put on display in 1993.
Jaffa Clock Tower
Located in the heart of Jaffa, the clock tower is one of seven. It was built in 1901 and features four clocks; two show the time in Israel, and the other two show European time. Legend has it that the inspiration for the tower came from Yossef Moial, a wealthy shop owner, who wanted clocks available to display the time of day for pedestrians on their way to the train station instead of stopping by his shop to ask the time.