When people hear “Middle East” certain words are brought to the forefront of one’s mind – desert, camels, third world and even terrorism. However, although located in the Middle East, Tel Aviv, Israel is just the opposite. Yes it is still very hot, but it is a vibrant cosmopolitan city bordered by beautiful beaches. From peaceful parks, to gourmet cuisine to a lively nightlife, Tel Aviv is the perfect melting pot of culture, art, and fun.
The first stop for any first time visitor to Tel Aviv should be to the outdoor food market, Shuk HaCarmel. Located in the city center, the ‘Shuk’ is open Sunday – Friday. The market has one main drag that is bustling with vendors, along with several smaller roads that are filled with open air hummus joints, bars, and more vendors. The smells and colors alone will blow you away, but tasting the food (whether it’s Middle Eastern, South American, or African) will truly send you into a sensory overload.
There are various neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. Besides the city center, one should definitely visit Neve Tzedek and Florentine. Neve Tzedek is considered the “SoHo” of Tel Aviv. The neighborhood is exploding with artisan boutiques and gourmet restaurants. Florentine, on the other hand is more like”Brooklyn”. The up and coming section of the city has a boho vibe that is encapsulated by all the street art. Various tours can explain the street art to you in more detail (and it is suggested).
Yafo is the oldest part of Tel Aviv. As it was once an ancient port city, it is fittingly home to amazing architecture, seafood, and a marina. Get lost in the winding alleyways to find some of the best Arabic restaurants in the area. However, must sees in Yafo include Mahmoudia Mosque, the wishing bridge, the watchtower, Kedumim Square, and Gan HaPisga (where you can get the best view of the city of Tel Aviv).
Finally, no trip to Tel Aviv is complete without a stop at the beaches. Tel Aviv boasts miles of beaches. Each one is full of both tourists and Israelis alike. However, one thing each has in common is matkot. Matkot is a racquet game where two players try to pass a ball back and forth. Always keep and eye for rouge matkot balls.
If you have time, you must stick around to enjoy the Tel Aviv nightlife. Whether you just want to enjoy a nice cocktail or dance the night away, Tel Aviv nightlife has something for everyone.