Israel’s coastal city is a spectacular mix of stylish hotels and high-design landmarks, all along miles of beautiful beaches. If you plan on visiting the design and technology hub of Israel, make sure to read our guide on all the information you will need during your time in Tel Aviv!
Lay of the Land
Jaffa: This mixed Arab-Jewish area is known for its Flea Market, historic city of Old Jaffa, and the restored port lined with open-air restaurants.
Neve Tzedek: Tel Aviv’s first neighborhood was established in 1887 and is filled with Eclectic-Era and Bauhaus buildings. Along their main Shabazi Street, you’ll find independent fashion boutiques and local cafés for all your shopping and food endeavors.
Noga: Design studios, art galleries, and loft-like apartments now occupy the renovated warehouses and Arabesque tenements here.
White City: Named in honor of its whitewashed Bauhaus architecture, the White City is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Getting Around: The best way to navigate Tel Aviv is by taxi or bus. Sherut (shared taxis) are popular; they follow set routes but can drop you off wherever you’d like. However, if you prefer a more environmentally friendly way of traveling, the city recently added over 100 km of cycling paths.
Delicatessen: Entrepreneurs Mati and Ruti Broudo, from the city’s popular Brasserie M&R, have expanded into the gourmet takeout field. The two-story building, west of Rothschild Boulevard, bundles a trio of culinary concepts: a proper “deli” stocked with meats and daily-made breads, a takeaway option offering dishes ranging from poached salmon to chopped liver, and a restaurant with updated bistro classics, such as the chicken schnitzel, ideally enjoyed from the sun-drenched patio. This is a fairly priced place to eat, ranging from $25-50.
Raphael: At this legendary waterfront spot, young chef Raphael Cohen serves contemporary interpretations of the Middle Eastern recipes he learned both from his grandmother and his training at Jerusalem’s iconic King David Hotel. The restaurant lures celebs and politicians alike, thanks to standouts such as grouper-and-fatty-tuna kebab and the calamari with sweet peppers and tomato cream. Make sure you’re willing to spend a pretty penny if you want to dine here!
Mizlala: In a beautifully renovated building, Mizlala, meaning “stuff your face,” in Hebrew, pairs comfort food such as tahini-doused beef tartare, milk-fed lamb souvlaki, chicken confit with a warm wheat salad, and caramelized carrots—with signature cocktails like a martini with halvah and date honey. Dishes are served family-style along the curved marble bar or on wooden tables. Come only if you’re prepared to pull out your wallet!
Ali Karawan: This hummusiyah near the Jaffa Flea Market has been a local favorite for decades. The highlight? Hummus, of course—made daily and served either as mosabaha (warm, crushed chickpeas and tahini) or with ful (stewed fava beans). Both versions are spiked with house-made lemon-and-garlic sauce and flecked with slices of fresh onion before being slathered onto fluffy pita. Make sure to arrive early because the kitchen closes once the day’s hummus has disappeared.
Cassis: There are plenty of places here to enjoy a snack along the sand, but for a proper beachfront meal, the city offered surprisingly few options until the arrival of Cassis. Small plates such as whitefish ceviche and grilled peppers with goat cheese are two of the popular appetizers prior to ordering the more famed seafood mains, such as sea bream with crisp polenta. Be sure to ask for the flatbreads that are baked to order on a stone hearth in just seven minutes.
Tel Aviv is full of independent boutiques celebrating the city’s unique style.
Olia: The extra-virgin olive oils at this shop close to City Hall are sourced from around Israel by owner Hilla Wenkert. Since the store’s debut, Wenkert has expanded its offerings to include prepared foods—spice blends, fruit and vegetable chutneys, and flavored vinaigrette’s.
Elemento: In the heart of Old Jaffa, Elemento carries colorful furniture (couches, lamps, and tables) made by Israeli designer Yossy Goldberg. There is also an impressive collection of affordable contemporary photography and paintings by local artists.
Hatachana: Set between Neve Tzedek and Noga, Hatachana houses a series of clothing and house-ware boutiques showcasing Israeli designers. Don’t miss “Naama Bezalel’s” flirty feminine dresses or “Made in TLV” for all your quirky necessities and gifts.
Sketch: Yossi Katzav founded Sketch, one of the country’s first upscale men’s labels, after leading the design team at DKNY in New York. His impeccably crafted pieces range from simple slacks and finely woven shirts to slim-cut leather jackets.
Talents Design Gallery: A three-year-old incubator of Israeli talent, this shop manufactures and promotes the work of regional furniture makers. The pieces, stainless-steel origami wall art and earthy stone tables, are increasingly found in top restaurants and hotels across the globe.
What To See and Do
Design Museum Holon: Created by the Israeli-born, London-based Ron Arad, this instant architectural icon in the suburb of Holon was built using five curvaceous ruby-red steel bands. Inside, there are rotating exhibitions by international and Israeli stars such as Ayela Serfaty and Dror Benshetrit.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art: The museum’s new 200,000-square- foot Herta & Paul Amir building, designed by Preston Scott Cohen, is made up of concrete geometric surfaces that form a gleaming white triangle. A 90-foot-high internal atrium links galleries devoted to contemporary art.
Tel Aviv Port: Tel Aviv’s restored historic port originally served as a welcoming station for Jewish immigrants in the 1930’s and is now home to top restaurants, a weekly antiques market, a bike-friendly promenade, and Shuk HaNamal—a complex with two dozen organic and artisan purveyors.
Peres Center for Peace: In Jaffa’s beachfront district of Ajami, Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas has built the Peres Center to promote tolerance in the Middle East. The four-story building, donned in alternating layers of concrete and translucent glass, offers hour-long guided tours and lectures.
Where To Stay
New and Noteworthy
Alma Hotel & Lounge: This tiny newcomer close to Rothschild Boulevard has 15 airy rooms inspired by the 1920’s with stained-glass windows, handwoven carpets, and dark tiled floors. Yonatan Roshfeld, the chef behind the nearby restaurant Ahad HaAm, oversees the hotel’s Alma Lounge, where the city’s style crowd gathers.
Brown TLV Urban Hotel: Hidden between the White City and Neve Tzedek, the Brown is housed in a restored 70’s-era bank building that pays homage to mid-century modern designs. The cozy lobby is done up with club-like leather sofas and a vintage magazine cover on the wall. Upstairs, rooms are filled with canopied beds and black marble baths, but tend to be on the small side. Still, the rooftop lounge and complimentary bikes more than make up for it.
Hotel Montefiore: With its original Bauhaus-era furnishings, Juliet balconies, and Arabesque dome, this revamped 1920’s mansion in the White City lures taste-makers and designers alike. A small, but capable staff is at the ready to handle everything from picnic lunches to reservations at Tel Aviv’s legendary dining endeavors.
Intercontinental David Tel Aviv: In Neve Tzedek, the spectacular Intercontinental David Tel Aviv is where political power-houses like Condoleezza Rice, as well as A-listers such as Madonna and Sacha Baron Cohen stay when they visit the city. With 594 earth-toned rooms and suites, the hotel is far from intimate, but it has arguably one of the best beachfront locations, not to mention the standout Aubergine restaurant.
Dan Tel Aviv: Contemporary Israeli artist Yaacov Agam’s multicolored, modernist facade sets the tone for the Dan Tel Aviv, a 280-room grande dame that opened in the 1950’s. The property is spread out among a group of additions that now occupy nearly an entire seafront block.
Hilton Tel Aviv: Just north of the city center, the 48-year-old Hilton sits high on a bluff facing the water. Its boxy, 60’s-era exterior may feel dated, but the property remains a favorite of business travelers, who come for the spacious rooms and large fitness center.
Now that you are aware of where you are going to stay, where you’re going to visit, what you’re going to do, and where you’re going to be eating, all that’s left is for you to book that trip of yours and start enjoying your time in Tel Aviv. We hope this list was helpful for you and gave you some great insights on all that there is to do in Tel Aviv, let alone Israel!
Originally posted at Travel And Leisure.